Tango is a ballroom dance that originated from the more authentic Argentine Tango. Unlike the Argentine Tango which remains in a small area, the ballroom versions of Tango travel around the dance floor much like the Waltz and Foxtrot. Tango is dramatic, yet beautiful! The International Tango is danced in closed dance position, while the American Tango changes between closed dance position and open hand holds.
Foxtrot is a slow ballroom dance that is characterized by long, smooth, continuous movements. It’s commonly danced to slow big band or jazz music. Its basic dance steps are easy to learn and provide the foundation for social dancing. In the American style of dance, Foxtrot is danced both in closed dance position as well as in open hand holds. In the International style of dance, Foxtrot remains in closed dance position.
The Quickstep is a fun and energetic Ballroom dance that is often described as a fast version of the Foxtrot. It is danced to fast Big Band music and contains a variety of trots, flicks, jumps and locks that the couple performs while in a formal dance position! Quickstep is at home on large competitive dance floors, but can be scaled down to fit in some social settings.
The elegant and graceful Viennese Waltz is the faster version of the Waltz and was popularized by the music of Johann Strauss and the famous ballrooms of Vienna. In the International version, the Viennese Waltz only contains a few simple figures that demand a very high degree of technical skill. The American version of the dance includes a much greater range of variety and movement.
The Waltz is one of the earliest dances, originating in the 1700’s. It is danced to any music written in ¾ timing from slow classical to modern ballads to country music. Waltz dancers develop poise and control by learning rise and fall, the dance technique that create an elegant and graceful look on the dance floor. Similar to the Foxtrot, this dance remains in closed dance position in International style and can vary between closed dance position and open hand holds in American style.
The Bolero is a very romantic slow dance that borrows elements from the Rumba, Waltz and Tango. It's traditionally danced to romantic Spanish loves songs and can be a fantastic replacement for the simple slow dancing that most America's already know how to do. At the competitive level, the Bolero is characterized by long romantic movements and theatrical lifts and wraps.
Originally called the Triple Mambo, the Cha Cha is a fun and flirty Latin dance that is characterized by its quick chasse steps dancers often count as “cha cha cha”. Cha Cha is danced to medium tempo Latin music, but can also be danced to many pop or rock songs. The International and American versions are very similar, varying slightly in tempo and step configurations.
The spicy Mambo first appeared in the 1940s as a fast version of the Rumba. It moves like a Latin dance, but also has elements of the Swing, including turns and swiveling figures. Mambo is also the predecessor of the Cha Cha and the Salsa. Its unique blend of Swing, Jazz and Latin music combined with rhythmical body movements makes the Mambo and irresistible dance for beginner and advanced dancers alike!
The Paso Doble is a Latin partner dance where the dancers reenact the Spanish bull fight. During the dance, the man demonstrates his strength and confidence by resembling the matador, while the lady’s fluid yet quick movements mimic those of his cape. Fortunately for dancers, the bull is left out of the dance! The Paso Doble is not considered a social dance and is generally only danced on the competition dance floor in the International Latin division.
Originating in the 1940s, Rumba was one of the earliest Latin dances. Rumba is a sophisticated slow Latin dance that uses strong lines and dramatic hip movements to tell a story of romance. The International and American versions are similar; the latter being danced to faster Rumba tempos. The Rumba is the parent dance of the Mambo, Cha Cha, Bolero and Salsa.
The Samba originated in Rio de Janeiro, South America as a solo celebration dance. In the 1950s, the Samba came to the United States and was formed into a partner Latin dance. The Samba, along with the Paso Doble, are the only Latin dances that travel around the dance floor like the ballroom dances. Samba is characterized by fast pulses and bounce type movements danced to very energetic and lively music!
The Shag, as it’s referred to in the South, is a laid back version of East Coast Swing that originated in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in the 1950s. The dance evolved its relaxed style from beach goers dancing barefoot in the sand. The Shag’s basic figures are identical to that of the East Coast Swing. More advanced movements, called “mirror steps,” are actually short amalgamations of patterns that partners learn together while practicing.
Originating in the USA, the Swing evolved from the Lindy Hop and the Charleston in the 1920s. The East Coast Swing is the version of Swing that is danced to medium tempo Rock or Pop music. It consists of a variety of triple steps, spins, turns and kicks! East Coast Swing is one of the most popular dances in the United States and is the foundation for all Swing dances.
The Hustle is a partner dance that is characterized by its fast turns, spins and wraps! It was derived from Swing in the 1970s during the Disco Era and made popular by movie star John Travolta. The Hustle has since evolved into a fun and energetic modern social dance that’s perfect in nearly any nightclub setting.
The Jive is the fastest version of Swing that became popular during World War II. Like the East Coast Swing, Jive is characterized by a variety of triple steps, spins, turns and kicks! Jive’s speed demands dancers develop strong footwork, control and stamina!
The suave and swanky West Coast Swing is the slowest version of Swing. Danced to Blues, Jazz or R&B music, the West Coast Swing consists of slow turns, wraps and playful footwork. The West Coast Swing is a must for social dancers who frequent blues clubs!
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