Merengue is a style of Latin American music and dance with a two-step beat. Partners hold each other in a closed position. The leader holds the follower’s waist with his right hand, while holding her right hand with his left hand at the follower’s eye level. 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 a open position and do separate turns without letting go each other’s hands or momentarily releasing one hand. During these turns they may twist and tie their handhold into intricate pretzels. Other choreography is possible.
Although the tempo of the music may be frantic, the upper body is kept majestic and turns are slow, typically four beats/steps per complete turn.
In the social dancing of the United States the “empalizada” style is replaced by exaggerated Cuban motion, taught in chain ballroom studios for dances of Latin American origin (Cha-cha-cha, Rumba, Mambo, Salsa).
Night Club Disco Two Step
Nightclub Two Step (Nightclub Two-step, NC2S) was 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. A classic example is the song Lady In Red.
Rumba, as understood in Cuba, is a family of percussive rhythms, song and dance which is entirely African in style, but Cuban in detail. It is secular, with no religious connections. The details of its performance were worked out in Cuba, but details of how this happened are not known.
The term spread in the 1930s and 1940s to the faster popular music of Cuba (the Peanut Vendor was a classic), where it was used as a catch-all term, rather as salsa today. Also, the term is used in the international Latin-American dance syllabus, where it is a misnomer: the music used for this slower dance is the bolero-son.
The term is also used today for some kinds of Spanish popular music, which have no known connection with the Cuban use.
Salsa refers to a fusion of informal dance styles having roots in the Caribbean (especially in Cuba and North America). The dance originated through the mixture of Mambo, Danzón, Guaguancó, Cuban Son, and other typical Cuban dance forms. Salsa is danced to Salsa music. There is a strong African influence in the music as well as the dance.
Salsa is a partner dance, although there are recognized solo steps and some forms are danced in groups of couples, with frequent exchanges of partner (Rueda de Casino). Improvisation and social dancing are important elements of Salsa but it appears as a performance dance too.
Samba is a lively, rhythmical dance of Brazilian origin in 2/4 time danced under the Samba music. However, there are three steps to every bar, making the Samba feel like a 3/4 timed dance. Its origins include the Maxixe.
The Samba music rhythm has been danced in Brazil since its inception in the late 19th century. There is actually a set of dances, rather than a single dance, that define the Samba dancing scene in Brazil; thus, no one dance can be claimed with certainty as the “original” Samba style. Another major stream of the Samba dance besides the Brazilian Samba dancing styles is Ballroom Samba which differs significantly.
The term “swing dance” commonly refers to a group of dances that developed concurrently with the swing style of jazz music in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s, although the earliest of these dance forms predate swing jazz music. The best known of these dances is the Lindy Hop, a popular partner dance that originated in Harlem and is still danced today.
Tango is a musical genre and its associated dance forms that originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay and spread to the rest of the world soon after that.
Early tango was known as tango criollo, or simply tango. Today, there are many tango dance styles, including Argentine Tango, Uruguayan Tango, Ballroom tango (American and International styles), Finnish tango and vintage tangos. What many consider to be the authentic tango is that closest to that originally danced in Argentina and Uruguay, though other types of tango have developed into mature dances in their own right.
Country/western dance, also called Country and Western dance, encompasses many dance forms or styles, which are typically danced to country-western music, and which are stylistically associated with American country and/or western traditions. Many of these dances were “tried and true” dance steps that had been “put aside” for many years, and became popular under the name(s) “country-western”, “cowboy”, or “country”. The Ten Step is a country line dance specifically for couples.
The two-step is a step found in many folk dances, and in various other dances. It seems to take its name from the 19th-century dance related to the Polka.
A two-step consists of two steps in approximately the same direction onto the same foot, separated by a closing step with the other foot. For example, a right two-step forward is a forward step onto the right foot, a closing step with the left foot, and a forward step onto the right foot. The closing step may be done directly beside the other foot, or obliquely beside, or even crossed, as long as the closing foot does not go past the other fo0t.
Viennese Waltz (German: Wiener Walzer) is the genre of a ballroom dance. At least three different meanings are recognized. In the historically first sense, the name may refer to several versions of the waltz, including the earliest waltzes did in ballroom dancing, danced to the music of Viennese Waltz.
What is now called the Viennese waltz is the original form of the waltz and the first ballroom dance in the closed hold or “waltz” position. The dance that is popularly known as the Waltz is actually the English or slow waltz, danced approximately at 90 beats per minute with 3 beats to the bar (the international standard of 30 measures per minute) while the Viennese Waltz is danced at about 180 beats (58-60 measures) a minute. To this day, however, in Germany, Austria, and France, the words “Walzer” (German for “waltz”) and “valse” (French for “waltz”) still implicitly refers to the original dance and not the slow waltz.
Shocking many when it was first introduced, the waltz became fashionable in Vienna around the 1780s, spreading to many other countries in the years to follow. It became fashionable in England during the Regency period. The waltz, and especially its closed position, became the example for the creation of many other ballroom dances. Subsequently, new types of waltz have developed, including many folks and several ballroom dances.
West Coast Swing
West Coast Swing (WCS) is a partner dance derived from Lindy Hop. It is characterized by a distinctive elastic look that results from its basic 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.
Typically the follower walks into new patterns traveling forward on counts “1” and “2” of each basic pattern, rather than rocking back. The Anchor Step is a common ending pattern of many West Coast Swing figures.
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