The Ballroom Dances
Ballroom dances consist of two major
types: Standard (smooth) and Latin
(rhythm) dances. Examples of these two
dances styles follow.
A slow Latin dance which originated as a form of Rumba, and still shares
many of the same
figures. Bolero differs from Rumba in its style of
An exciting, syncopated Latin dance which originated in the 1950's, the
Cha Cha is
probably the most popular social Latin dance in America. The
rhythm of the cha-cha-cha makes the dance a hit
with young and old alike.
The foxtrot is the nation’s most popular dance, and a standard ballroom
dance the world
over. It is truly American in origin, invented in 1913 by
Harry Fox, a star in the Ziegfield
Follies. The foxtrot is characterized
by smooth, gliding steps that progress around the
ballroom floor. Foxtrot
music can be smooth or swingy, Big Band style or contemporary.
the classic dance for wedding receptions and social events.
Hustle is a fast, smooth, slotted dance noted for its elaborate spins and
for the lady. In Hustle, the lady spins almost
constantly, while her partner catches her
and redirects her movement. It
is a rhythmically challenging dance, with an unusual timing
Hustle is a club style dance that can be adapted to crowded nightclub
The Mambo was born in Cuba, and is characterized by exciting rhythms,
interactions and Latin-style hip motion. A unique feature of the
Mambo is that the dancer
holds the first beat in every measure. Most of
the movements emphasize the second beat
in the measure, suggestive of the
Clave rhythm, which is fundamental to Mambo music.
Merengue is a simple, fun dance that originated in the Dominican Republic.
is characterized by a marching style using a strong
eight-count rhythm with a step on
every beat, and lively leg, knee and hip
actions characteristic of Latin dances. The simple
march tempo is easy to
hear and feel, and the music is charming and happy.
Night Club 2-Step
It is frequently danced to mid-tempo ballads in 4/4 time that have
Quick-Quick-Slow beat, like
Lady In Red. Some
think NC2s has evolved to include elements
from other dances such as Rumba
Paso Doble is a dramatic French-Spanish, Flamenco-style march danced in
time. The dance of the bullfight, the Paso Doble is an
exhibition-style dance where
the man represents the matador and the lady
The name quickstep was adopted for the quick foxtrot, as the foxtrot music
and slower. Quickstep music is up-tempo and lively, and the
dance is characterized by a
variety of hops, skips, lock steps and chassés,
requiring significant skill on the part of
the dancer. The quickstep was
also influenced by the Charleston, and contains some of
bounce and fancy foot patterns.
The Rumba is a slow and romantic Latin dance inspired by African rhythms
melodies, and characterized by sensual hip and leg movements. Danced in one place, the
Rumba shows off the couple's skill through flirtatious interplay between man and lady.
The Salsa is a popular Latin nightclub dance that evolved as a modified
form of Mambo.
Salsa works on the basis of Mambo - a pattern of six steps danced over eight counts of
music--and came about when dancers started mixing up Mambo with Hustle steps. Young
people worldwide jam Latin clubs pulsating to today's hot Salsa rhythms. Salsa dancing is
characterized by fancy footwork, intricate arm styling, and exciting turns and spins.
Samba is a Latin dance with origins in Brazil, popularized in the movies
Miranda. Samba has very distinctive and varied rhythms occurring
the song, which add richness as well listening
excitement. The characteristic Samba
movement is a bouncing action,
achieved by the continuous flexing and straightening of
Foxy Slow Dance
Foxy dance songs are ballads based on a four beat rhythm danced at 15-23
minute. Because the mood of these songs is usually dreamy and
romantic, slow dances
are very popular nightclub and wedding dance
selections. Examples of popular slow
The swing is full of pep and turning actions danced in a carefree, relaxed
style. The dance
was born when, in the 1930's, bandleaders discovered that
by shifting the accent of the
foxtrot rhythms from counts 1 and 3 to
counts 2 and 4, they created a Swinging rhythm.
Before long the dance
swept across the US and became known as the Swing. Swing music
generally up-tempo and bouncy. In contrast to the waltz and foxtrot, swing
is danced in
a small area and does not progress around the dance floor.
The international version of
the swing is the Jive, a fast dance executed
in syncopated rhythm.
Born in the West Indies, stylized by the gauchos of Argentina, simmered in
of Buenos Aires and transported to the elegant salons of
Paris, the Tango is a highly
stylized dance characterized by dramatic
stalking actions, staccato head movements, and
its contrast of stillness
Argentine Tango is a more intensely intimate form of Tango where the
cheek to cheek, using intricate, intertwining leg actions
and fast foot flicks, giving the
Argentine Tango a very sensual look and
feel. Argentine Tango has become very popular
in Latin nightclubs.
Developed in Southern Germany in the 17th century, the Viennese Waltz
the music of Johann Strauss. Viennese Waltz is a fast paced
version of the slow Waltz,
characterized by rotational, progressive and
dynamic movement accompanied by leg and
Waltz might be the most popular dance of all time, since it is considered
of popular social dancing. The Waltz is a very common dance
all around the world. Waltz
music is romantic and lilting, distinguished
by its one-two-three tempo (three beats of
music per measure). Waltz is
characterized by a rise and fall action, and is very
commonly danced at
weddings and other social events.
West Coast Swing
Characterized by a laid-back and slotted style of movement, West Coast
Swing is a
smoother version of Swing. The dance utilizes steps and actions
of the Swing adapted to
fit rhythm-and-blues type music.
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