Dance Styles

Listed below are some of those enduring American and International dances that help make social dancing forever popular. Click on the dance style(s) of interest to learn more…

Argentine Tango

This dance originated in Argentina where it was danced in the barrios of Buenos Aires. It was eventually adopted by the Argentine public at large and ultimately developed into a sensual and passionate dance. It acheived world wide prominence after displays in Paris created a world wide sensation.

Bachata

The Bachata is a latin dance with simple footwork and strong hip movement. The music is romantic in nature and therefore the movement reflects the story of love and heartbreak. Bachata steps involve many optional turns for the lady.

Bolero

Bolero uses a very slow type of Rumba rhythm. This dance is often said to have the rise and fall of Waltz, the contra-body motion of Tango, and the rhythm of Rumba. It is a favorite of dancers, as it incorporates many techniques similar to other dances to create a slow, sensual, romantic dance.

Cha Cha

The Cha-Cha adds fun to your dancing through its syncopated steps and many open movements. When you can dance many interesting combinations with ease, you and your partner will be able to feel the pulsating latin rhythms which make this dance so fascinating. The energetic rhythm of the Cha-Cha encourages you to cut loose and let your personality show.

Foxtrot

Foxtrot can begin as a basic dance from which you can acquire a strong foundation of movement. Learning to combine steps easily and smoothly teaches variety and maneuverability. Being able to dance to slow, medium, and fast tempos will add confidence to your dancing and will assure fun and relaxation for your partner. The Fox Trot provides a good foundation for all dances and is sometimes called the “get-acquainted” or “first impression” dance. As this dance develops it ultimately becomes an extremely skilled dance that can be challenging at the highest levels of Smooth and Standard.

Hustle

Hustle originated in the 1970s Disco Era and although the white suits and gold chains have faded away, the dance has stayed, giving us the fusion of Swing and disco. In its simplest form it is a dance in which even a moderately skilled dancer can lead virtually anyone right away. Hustle is often danced with syncopated timing which is faster and highly exciting but requiring a higher degree of skill. Largely because of its tremendous adaptability to social dance music Hustle is still one of the most popular nightclub dances across North America today.

Lindy Hop

The Lindy Hop is a dance based on the popular Charleston and named for Charles Lindbergh’s Atlantic crossing in 1927. It evolved in Harlem, New York City in the 1920s and ’30s and originally evolved with the jazz music of that time. Lindy was a fusion of many dances that preceded it or were popular during its development but is mainly based on jazz, tap, breakaway and Charleston. It is frequently described as a jazz dance and is a member of the swing dance family.

Mambo

Mambo arose from a fusion of Cuban and jazz music characterized by a stirring Afro-Cuban beat. Mambo is an exciting earthy dance similar in structure to Salsa but with a more highly staccatto styling and more “grounding” into the floor. Good Mambo dancers are always popular and in demand as partners. The wild exciting music, and rhythmical body movements make the earthy Mambo irresistible.

Merengue

Merengue develops “cuban motion” and the ability to lead and follow material spontaneously. Merengue is the simplest dance to learn. Its uncomplicated timing makes it easy to feel the music and adapt to any partner. It is the only Rhythm dance that combines one-step timing with Cuban Motion and therefore is a help to all Rhythm and Latin dances. The marching type beat sharpens timing & coordination and the proper use of the accent develops a clearer interpretation of musical rhythm.

Milonga

Milonga refers to an Argentine, Uruguayan, and Southern Brazilian form of music which preceded the tango and the dance form which accompanies it. The Milonga originated in the Río de la Plata area of Argentina and Uruguay and has its roots from various European music. It was very popular in the 1870s. The Milonga was derived from an earlier style of singing known as the payada de contrapunto.

Quickstep

Quickstep is the English version of the fast Foxtrot and was originally called the “QuickTime Foxtrot and Charleston”. Today it is a dynamic fast dance with quick hopping steps set in with the smoother gliding figures. It is quite popular in Europe.

Rueda de Casino

Rueda de Casino (Rueda, Casino Rueda, Salsa Rueda) is a particular type of round dancing of Salsa. It was developed in Havana, Cuba in the late 1950s and early 1960s by the group Guaracheros de Regla and one of its main choreographers and creators was Jorge Alfaro from San Miguel del Padrón, a soloist of a comparsa.

Rumba

Learning the Rumba is a prerequisite for good rhythm or latin dancing. Body motion referred to as “cuban motion” is essential in most of these dances. The Rumba is used by good dancers everywhere and provides interesting variety suited to a limited space. Neat, attractive, precise footwork gives you confidence in your dancing. The Rumba will sharpen your sense of rhythm, timing, and muscular control.

Salsa

Salsa is the Spanish word for “sauce” denoting a “spicy” and “hot” flavor to this popular dance style to a complex mix of many different rhythms. The fusion of an Afro-Cuban beat with enhanced jazz textures results in an aggressive high energy pulse which has become popular everywhere. Many of the patterns are closely related to those of the Mambo and Cha-Cha but the feeling here is much looser and allows you to truly develop your own style.

Samba

Sometimes called the South American Waltz, the Samba dance pulsates to a unique Latin rhythm. The Samba is the national dance of Brazil. Today’s Samba music is influenced by Jazz and Latin rhythms.

Swing

Swing is actually not one dance but rather a family of dances that are often quite regional in nature. Often the term “Swing”, however, is used to refer to what is more formally known as the East Coast Swing. This is a spot dance with a carefree relaxed style and usually danced with a lot of circular rotation. The various speeds are excellent training for quick footwork and good leading & following, adding comfort and ease to other rhythm dances. After mastering the patterns, both men and women will find the East Coast Swing a fun and exciting dance to learn and practice. This dance brings forth a buoyant carefree movement and is one of the dances that becomes contagious.

Tango

The Tango is one of the most beautiful of all the dances. It is characterized by earthy and dramatic movements. In order to achieve the distinctive style of Tango, it is important to develop controlled staccato footwork along with fluid graceful movements. The unique rhythm of the music is great training for timing and phrasing which develops as the dancer becomes more proficient. Tango practice is essential towards becoming a good dancer.

Country Two Step

In the old Western days when women were not allowed to dance with men, men danced together and that is the reason for the hand on the shoulder holding a can of beer and the other hand to the side. The only women who eventually danced with these men were Indian Squaws and that is where all the turns came about, because Indian women loved to spin. Two-step is a Western dance whose popularity has spread all over the United States. Two-step can be danced to contemporary country music and is a very popular dance at many country western clubs and social events.

Viennese Waltz

This is the dance most people think of when conjuring up images of the classic formal “ballroom dancing”. It is the only main ballroom dance that predates the previous century and was refined by such wonderful composers as Johann Strauss whose music is largely associated with it. The steps became smaller as it developed, the turns smoother and more compact. Adding the tuxedo for the man and the graceful lilt of the flowing skirts for the lady gives us todays Viennese Waltz.

Waltz

Waltz develops good balance and control. The basic Waltz steps are the foundation patterns used in most ballroom dances. Correct posture, rise and fall, and flowing movements should be stressed to achieve good styling. The elegant sweeping movement of the Waltz gives dancers a chance to practice balance and to move lightly with ease.

West Coast Swing

WCS is a uniquely styled Swing dance popular all along the west coast of North America and slowly gaining a wider following throughout the rest of the continent and beyond. It is an extremely adaptable social dance for many styles of music. Although it can be danced at fast tempos it is usually danced to a slow or medium tempo and characterized by slot movements, anchoring, syncopations, rippling body actions and a push and pull connection of the dancers.

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