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The waltz (from German: “Walzer”) is a smooth, progressive ballroom and folk dance, normally in About this sound triple time, performed primarily in closed position.
The American Style Waltz, part of the American Smooth ballroom dance syllabus, in contrast to the International style StandardWaltz, involves breaking contact almost entirely in some figures. For example, the Syncopated Side-by-Side with Spin includes a free spin for both partners. Open rolls are another good example of an open dance figure, in which the follower alternates between the lead’s left and right sides, with the lead’s left or right arm (alone) providing the lead. Waltzes were the staple of many American musicals and films, including “Waltz in Swing Time” sung by Fred Astaire.
The Foxtrot is a smooth, progressive dance characterized by long, continuous flowing movements across the dance floor. It is danced to big band (usually vocal) music. The dance is similar in its look to Waltz, although the rhythm is in a 4/4 time signature instead of 3/4. Developed in the 1910’s, the Foxtrot reached its height of popularity in the 1930’s, and remains practiced today.
A beautiful, romantic dance, the Foxtrot is composed of fairly simple walking steps and side steps. The dance combines slow steps, which use two beats of music, and quick steps, which use one beat of music. The footwork timing is usually “slow, quick, quick” or “slow, slow, quick, quick.” The Foxtrot must be danced very smoothly, with no jerking of the body. Timing is also a very important component of the Foxtrot.
Tango is a Ballroom Dance that branched away from its original Argentine roots by allowing European, American, Hollywood, and competitive influences into the style and execution of the dance. It is earthy and dramatic. Although walking movements dominate, Tango walks, having a “stalking” or “sneaking” character, are unlike the walks of other Ballroom dances. Movements are sometimes slow and slithery, and other times sharp and staccato, such as a quick foot flick or a sharp head snap to promenade position. Tango has the same counter clockwise flow of movement around the dance floor, but with a lesser sense of urgency in comparison to the smoother and more continuous Ballroom dances.
The Viennese Waltz is a genre of Ballroom Dance. It is actually the original form of the Waltz. It’s the oldest of all Ballroom dances, emerging in the second half of the 18th century influenced by German and Austrian dance styles.
The Viennese Waltz was quite the scandalous dance style when it first emerged. Not only were ankles visible from the ladies, but both men and women were in dance hold for the very first time! However it later gained acceptance and even popularity amongst the upper class. This dance style differs from the Waltz mainly in its speed. The Viennese Waltz has about 180 beats to the minute whereas the Waltz has only about 90.
he Cha-Cha (originally known as the Cha-Cha-Cha) originated in Cuba in the early 1950’s and refers to a style of ballroom dancing included in DanceSport categories of competition. The Cha-Cha can be danced in either the International Latin Style or the American Rhythm Style. This dance was derived from the Rumba and the Mambo.
The Cha-Cha is danced to the music introduced by Cuban composer and violinist Enrique Jorrín in the early 1950’s. This rhythm was developed from the danzón-mambo. The name of the dance is an onomatopoeia derived from the shuffling sound of the dancers’ feet.
The Cha-Cha is danced to authentic Cuban music, although in ballroom competitions it is often danced to Latin Pop or Latin Rock. The music for the International Style Cha-Cha is energetic and has a steady beat. The Cuban Cha-Cha-Cha is more sensual and may involve complex poly-rhythms.
The Rumba originates back to Cuba in the late 19th century. It refers to a style of Ballroom dancing included in DanceSport categories of competition. Originally, the term Rumba was used as a synonym for the word “party” in northern Cuba.
The dance known in the United States as the Rumba is a composite of several dances popular in Cuba, including the Guaracha, the Cuban Bolero, the Cuban Son, and the Rural Rumba. All have similar rhythms that can be traced to religious and ceremonial dances of Africa. These rhythms were remembered by the earliest black people transported unwillingly to Cuba and subjected to forced labor by the Spanish colonists.
The American version (American Style) Rumba is danced in a box pattern with “Cuban motion” as it’s chief characteristic. “Cuban motion” is a discreet, expressive hip motion achieved by bending and straightening the legs along with carefully timed weight changes. It’s also often called “the dance of love”.
EAST COAST SWING
East Coast Swing (ECS) is a form of social partner dance. It belongs to the group of swing dances. It is danced under fast swing music, including rock and roll and boogie-woogie.
The dance was created by dance studios including the Arthur Murray dance studios in the 1940s, based on the Lindy Hop. Lindy Hop was felt by dance studios to be both too difficult and too unstructured to teach to beginning dancers, but there was market demand for training in Swing Dance.
In practice on the social dance floor, the six count steps of the East Coast Swing are often mixed with the eight count steps of Lindy Hop, Charleston, and less frequently, Balboa.
The Bolero is a genre of slow-tempo Latin music and its associated dance. There are Spanish and Cuban forms which are both significant and which have separate origins.
Bolero is a slow dance characterized by smooth, gliding movement, dramatic arm styling and a romantic feel. Bolero is a mixture of 3 dances: Tango (contra-body movement), Waltz (body rise and fall) and Rumba (Cuban motion and slow Latin music).
There is also the concept of ‘drop and drift’ used on forward and back breaks, left-turning slip pivots and extended movements such as larger side steps. The Bolero frame is wider than a typical Rhythm frames and is a blend between the Smooth and Rhythm frame with the distance between the partners only a few inches apart or light body contact. Bolero is often called the “Cuban Dance of Love” and is believed to have evolved from Afro-Cuban and Spanish folk dances such as the Danzon, Beguine and Fandango.
Mambo is a Latin dance of Cuba. The Mambo dance that was invented by Perez Prado and was popular in the 1940s and 50s in Cuba, Mexico City, and New York is completely different from the modern dance that New Yorkers now call Mambo and which is also known as Salsa “on 2”. The original mambo dance contains no breaking steps or basic steps at all. The Cuban dance wasn’t accepted by many professional dance teachers. Cuban dancers would describe mambo as “feeling the music” in which sound and movement were merged through the body. Professional dance teachers in the US saw this approach to dancing as “extreme,” “undisciplined,” and thus, deemed it necessary to standardize the dance to present it as a sell-able commodity for the social or ballroom market
Social Club Dances
Argentine Tango is a partner dance that developed over the last century in Argentina’s capital city, Buenos Aires. It is danced in an embrace that can vary from very open, in which leader and follower connect at arms length, to very closed, in which the connection is chest-to-chest, or anywhere in between.
Dancing appropriately to the emotion and speed of a tango is extremely important to dancing tango. A good dancer is one who transmits a feeling of the music to the partner, leading them effectively throughout the dance. Also, dancers generally keep their feet close to the floor as they walk, the ankles and knees brushing as one leg passes the other. Argentine Tango dancing relies heavily on improvisation.
The hustle is a catchall name for some disco dances which were extremely popular in the 1970s. Today it mostly refers to the unique partner dance done in ballrooms and nightclubs to disco music. It has some features in common with mambo, salsa and swing dance, In the 1970s there was also a line dance called the hustle. Modern partner hustle is sometimes referred to as New York hustle, however, its original name is the Latin hustle. People still do this dance around the world today. It has some resemblance to, and steps in common with, swing and salsa dancing.
The dance is somewhat unusual rhythmically because of the syncopation it is associated with.
The Lindy Hop (or Lindy) is a partner dance that originated in 1920’s and 30’s Harlem, New York. The Dance itself consists of both 8 and 6 count steps and it includes footwork borrowed from the Charleston and Tap.
“Lindy Hop” refers to this particular dance done and Swing was the music they would dance to. Many may say that Lindy Hop was the granddaddy of them all, but that should not imply that no one was dancing any form of Swing before Lindy swept the country.The dance can be wild and spontaneous, with frenzied kicks and body movements, or it can be cool and sophisticated.
WEST COAST SWING
West Coast Swing is a partner dance with roots in the Lindy Hop. It is characterized by an elastic look that results from its extension-compression technique of partner connection and is danced primarily in a slotted area on the dance floor. The dance allows for both partners to improvise steps while dancing together, putting West Coast Swing in a short list of dances that emphasize improvisation. Dean Collins, who arrived in the Los Angeles area around 1937, was influential in developing the style of swing dance on the West Coast of the United States as both a performer and teacher.
West Coast Swing is a slotted dance. The slot is an imaginary area, long and thin, eight or nine feet long if danced at a very slow tempo, but shorter if the music is at a faster tempo. The follower travels back and forth in the slot dancing straight through the lead. The leader consistently moves a minimum amount (at mid-way point) to his sides, barely out of her way. She lightly brushes against him each time she passes him.
Merengue is a style of Dominican music and dance. Partners bend their knees slightly left and right, thus making the hips move left and right. The hips of the leader and follower move in the same direction throughout the song. Partners may walk sideways or circle each other, in small steps. They can switch to an open position and do separate turns without letting go each other’s hands or releasing one hand. During these turns they may twist and tie their handhold into intricate pretzels.
NIGHTCLUB TWO STEP
Nightclub two step (NC2S, sometimes disco two step or california two step) is a partner dance initially developed by Buddy Schwimmer in the mid-1960s. The dance is also known as “Two Step” and was “one of the most popular forms of contemporary social dance” as a Disco Couples Dance in 1978. It is frequently danced to mid-tempo ballads in 4/4 time that have a characteristic quick-quick-slow beat.