Dances We Teach
“Ballroom dance” refers collectively to a set of partner dances, which originated in the western world and are now enjoyed both socially and competitively around the world. In the United States, there are two variations. American Smooth & American Rhythm. They have been popularized as styles of “Ballroom Dance”.
Salsa is a slot or spot dance, i.e. unlike Foxtrot, in a Salsa, a couple does not travel over the dance floor much (although they could, if there was space and the lead decided to do so), but rather occupies a fixed area on the dance floor. In some cases people do Salsa alone. Salsa music needs tools such as maracas, conga drums, guiros, and many more. Salsa is danced on music with two bars of four beats, one beat being skipped. However, this skipped beat is often marked by a shifting of weight from one foot to the other or a flick of the foot. Salsa is an energetic, flashy dance that originated in Cuba and Puerto Rico in 1898
Tango is a Social Dance that originated in the lower class district of Buenos Aries Argentina. There are two styles of Tango. American Tango & Argentine Tango. American Tango steps are staccato & generally follow a specific slow, slow, quick, quick, slow rhythm, which matches the music. Argentine Tango steps are typically more gliding, and can vary widely in timing & speed and follow no single specific rhythm. The dancers feel the music and the music moves them accordingly. There are also two different frame styles as well. The frames are mostly danced in either open embrace, where lead and follow connect at arms length, or close embrace, where the lead and follow connect chest-to-chest.
As you will see in this video clip below, the main male dancer in this scene, annoucesWe have a dance, in the brothels of Buenos Aries. Using the definition of Tango above, you will discover, they are dancing an Argentine Tango. There is no specific rhythm the dancers are using, they are allowing the music to move them. They are dancing so close, that they are breathing each others breath.
Roxanne’s Tango from the movie Moulin Rouge!
Samba is one of the most popular forms of music in Brazil. Ballroom Samba is a very sexy dance, using the repetitive rhythm counts of 1&2, 1&2. It is one of the few Latin dances that is danced in a vertical movement. Many top 40 artists, like Shakira, Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez use a samba rhythm in some of their songs.
Cha Cha is either danced to authentic Latin music, or more contemporary Latin pop or Latin rock. The music for the ballroom cha cha is energetic and with a steady beat. It is a fun dance that can burn many calories once the basic steps are learned. The steps are danced in all directions and should be taken first with the ball of the foot in contact with the floor, and then with the heel lowering when the weight is fully transferred.
Rumba is the spirit and soul of Latin American music and dance. The fascinating rhythms and bodily expressions make the Rumba one of the most popular ballroom dances. The basic step is danced as a box step. Rumba is always, by journalists and teachers alike, referred to as a “woman’s dance” because it absolutely presents the woman’s body shape, arms, foot and leg lines beautifully. The man should not look uninteresting enough, though, to give the woman a reason to try to impress him. The interactions between dancers are a demonstrative of emotions, using both soft rhythms and quick movements, and because of these interactions the dance is known as the “Love Dance or the “Dance of Seduction” The “love” is however, not necessaryily presented in the beginning of the dance; rather, it is something to be achieved.
Bachata is a style of social dance that originated in the Dominican Republic, which is now danced all
over the world. It is associated with Bachata music. Its subjects are usually romantic; especially
prevalent are tales of heartbreak.
In partnering, the lead can decide whether to perform in open, semi-closed or closed position. Dance
moves or step variety strongly depends on the musicality, setting, mood, and interpretation. Unlike
Salsa, Bachata dance does not usually include many turn patterns; it is a traveling dance.
Brazilian zouk is a couple dance descended from lambada in Brazil. The name Brazilian zouk is used to
distinguish the dance from the Caribbean zouk dance, which is historically related to, but very
different from the lambada. The three dominant lines of Brazilian zouk are traditional zouk,
lambazouk, and zouk with different styles. The Brazilian zouk dances are among the most popular couple
dances in Brazil, others being forró, lambada, samba de gafieira and salsa.
The most common basic figure of a Waltz is a full turn in two measures using three steps per measure. The basic step, is your common box step, flowing with counts of 123,123. This dance uses legato movements, and is beautiful, elegant, graceful and romantic. Waltz is danced in a “Closed Position” (Partners hold each other in a dance position while facing one another). If the Partners are comfortable with each other and have learned the basic steps, body contact increases and elements like rise and fall and sway are added to give the dance better feel and more characteristics.
Everyone has heard of Frank Sinatra. Many of his songs are Foxtrot’s. If you have ever heard a song that makes you want to snap your fingers or can picture the singer as a “lounge Lizard” most likely, you are listening to a Foxtrot. This dance travels around the floor in a counter-clockwise motion. It has a standard “slow, slow, quick, quick” rhythm for the basic step. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxtrot
There are three kinds of Swing. The basic of the Single Swing dance is “Step, Step, Rock Step” The rock step is always taken on a major beat of the music. An evolution to the basic step, often seen on the dance floors during slower swing songs, is the triple Swing A.K.A. East Coast Swing. The basic of this dance is a triple step rather than a single step resulting of “Triple step, Triple step rock step”.
The Hustle is a catchall name for several Disco dances which were extremely popular in the 1970’s. Today, it most refers to a type of swing dance based on various earlier forms of Hustle & similar in style to the Single Swing. The basic step is similar to the basic from Single Swing, except the rock step is at the beginning.
The Merengue was basically made so that people could go out and grind their hips up against other peoples hips. This is called Cuban Motion. Partners hold each other in a “closed position” and do walks sideways or circle each other, in small steps. They can further switch to a double hand position and do seperate turns never letting go of each other’s hands. During these turns they may twist and tie their handhold into intricate pretzels. Although the tempo of the music may be frantic, the upper body is kept majestic and turns are slow.
The quickstep is a light-hearted member of the standard ballroom dances. The movement of the dance is
fast and powerfully flowing and sprinkled with syncopations. The upbeat melodies that quickstep is
danced to make it suitable for both formal and informal events. Quickstep was developed in the
twenties in New York and was first danced by Caribbean and African dancers. Its origins are in
combination of slow foxtrot combined with the Charleston, a dance which was one of the precursors to
what today is called swing dancing.
The Viennese Waltz is a rotary dance where the dancers are constantly turning either toward the
leader’s right (natural) or toward the leader’s left (reverse), interspersed with non-rotating change
steps to switch between the direction of rotation. A true Viennese waltz consists only of turns and
change steps. Other moves such as the fleckerls, American-style figures and side sway or underarm
turns are modern inventions and are not normally danced at the annual balls in Vienna. Furthermore, in
a properly danced Viennese Waltz, couples do not pass, but turn continuously left and right while
travelling counterclockwise around the floor following each other.