The Different Dances
- Salsa is the hottest dance on the club scene today, emphasizing undulating body movements, sassy turns and compelling rhythms. Originally, a fast Mambo was called “Mambo con salsa” (Mambo with hot sauce). Now the world just calls it “Salsa.”
- A popular Latin dance that originated in the Dominican Republic in the early 20th century. It is danced to a type of music that is characterized by its slower, sensual rhythm and its romantic lyrics. Bachata is typically danced in a close embrace, with the man holding the woman around the waist and the woman resting her hand on the man’s shoulder. The basic step of the bachata consists of three steps and a tap or a pause. Bachata is known for its smooth, fluid movements and its sensual, expressive style.
- Argentine Tango
- A smaller, more intimate dance than the American Tango, it is characterized by the passionate music and intricate footwork. It is a true dance of leading and following.
- Today’s favored form of the Hustle is a 3-count Latin “street” Hustle. Easily danced to disco music and most upbeat pop music, the Hustle incorporates fun, syncopated patterns and many exciting turns. Hustle is a fast, smooth dance with the lady spinning almost constantly, while her partner draws her close and sends her away.
- Country Two Step
- ’cause you never know when you might get stuck in a country bar. This is the dance to know if you are going to a country bar or event. This dance travels around the room like American Smooth and International Standard dances do. County is a less formalized, less structured dance, but continues to grow in popularity and is largely influenced by American Style dances.
- Night Club Two Step
- This is one of the most practical and versatile social dances ever conceived. It is designed to be used with contemporary soft rock music. The type of music used is common just about everywhere, nightclubs, radio, etc. This simple romantic dance fills a gap where no other ballroom dance fits.
Rhythm / Latin
- Cha Cha
- A spicy, upbeat Latin dance, Cha Cha is related to the Mambo. The Cha Cha is a versatile dance that can be easily done to many different styles of music such as Tito Puente, Santana and Ricky Martin.
- The Latin Dance of Love. This is a slow, sensual dance. The Rumba is a wonderful introduction the tradition of Latin dances, Latin music and Latin body movements.
- East Coast Swing
- This dance is frequently referred to as Triple Step swing, due to the rhythm of the basic triple step. East Coast Swing is the dance that is done to music by bands such as Big Bad Voodoo Daddies and Cherry Poppin’ Daddies.
- West Coast Swing
- The ultimate in cool, West Coast Swing music is slower and “bluesier” than East Coast Swing, allowing for more involved steps. It has an enormous capacity for variation and individuality.
- A powerfully sensual dance to slow music, Bolero is a beautiful dance. A slower version of the Rumba, also sexy and intriguing, the Bolero emphasizes the drama of love in a relationship.
- The spicy Mambo is a spot dance and the steps are quite compact. Fast Swing-Jazz and upbeat Latin music joined in to form the uninhibited Mambo.
- Paso Doble
- This dance originated in Spain and retells the bullfight with the leader as the torero/matador, who leads “his cape,” the follower, to attract the bull’s attention. The Paso Doble had a revival in the U.S. and Europe in the late 1950’s and has now evolved into a mostly competitive dance that incorporates Flamenco movements. You will feel the powerful energy it inspires of a Spanish bullfight!
- This dance is the European version of the East Coast Swing. It is a high energy dance, somewhat similar to the American style East Coast Swing, but characterized by faster music and very sharp kicks. Jive is meant for competitive style dancing.
- The Samba is a lively Brazilian dance which was first introduced in 1917 and was finally adopted as a ballroom dance by Brazilian society in the 1930’s. The style is to bounce steadily and smoothly in 2/4 meter.
- The rhythm is the simplest of the dances making the footwork easy and the arms and turns more complex. Merengue is the perfect compliment to the Salsa and a must learn if you plan on going out to a Latin club.
Smooth / Standard
- Foxtrot is usually danced to big band music in 4/4 time (think Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, etc.). It is characterized by big cushioned strides. Like Waltz, Foxtrot has both rise and fall action and turning action. However, the rise and fall is less pronounced and the turning action is more linear.
- Waltz is a smooth, progressive dance, characterized by long, flowing movements, continuous turns and a rise and fall. Waltz dancers glide around the floor almost effortlessly. The American style is punctuated with lavish open moments, underarm turns and solo spins. Waltz music is slow, sweet, melodic and fluid and is a form of music in 3/4 meter.
- Tango is earthy and dramatic. Tango walks, have a “stalking” or “sneaking” character and 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. At the heart of the Argentinean style, Tango music uses bandoneon, which is often accompanied by a small band, including a piano, guitar, one or two violins and sometimes a singer.
- Viennese Waltz
- In some sense the Viennese Waltz is identical to the Waltz, only danced to a faster tempo. However, because of the speed of the music the dance has a bright, light quality.
- A ballroom dance that is characterized by fast, energetic movements and quick turns. It is danced to uptempo swing or foxtrot music, and is known for its quick footwork and fancy footwork patterns. The quickstep is a combination of both smooth and rhythmic steps, and includes a variety of hops, skips, and chasses (side steps).
In the quickstep, dancers take long, quick strides and perform syncopated rhythms and footwork patterns. The dance is danced in a closed dance position. The quickstep is a popular dance in competitive ballroom dancing and it requires a decent level of skill and athleticism, and dancers must have excellent balance and coordination to execute the fast and intricate footwork patterns.