Dances We Teach
Dances We Teach
KEEP DANCING, FOR EVERY OCCASION
We teach several forms of Ballroom and Social dances. Whether it’s for your first dance at your wedding, feeling comfortable at the club, or simply because you’ve always wanted to learn how… we have an arsenal of dances that will keep you moving, no matter what the occasion.
*Click on any dance below for more information:
Argentine Tango consists of a variety of styles that developed in different regions and eras, and in response to the crowding of the venue and even the fashions in clothing. Even though they all developed in Argentina and Uruguay, they were also exposed to influences reimported from Europe and North America. Consequently there is a good deal of confusion and overlap between the styles as they are now danced – and fusions continue to evolve.
Argentine Tango 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. Close embrace is often associated with the more traditional styles, while open embrace leaves room for many of the embellishments and figures that are associated with Tango Nuevo.
Often called the dance of love, Bolero is a very slow, sensual dance with slow flirtatious movements. It is a spot dance, not moving along the line of dance. While it may be danced using Latin hip motion, it is more commonly characterized by a dance hold similar to the Smooth dances, using body contact, and should include some rise and fall. The tempo of Bolero music is 24-26 BPM.
Bachata was created by the Dominican people over many years since the ’50s mainly for social dancing but has continued to evolve over time. The original style is spreading rapidly in the western world today. It comes from the Dominican Republic where the music also was born. The slow style is danced close, moving within a small square (side, side, forward and side, side, back) but also danced with syncopations (steps in between the beats) depending on the dancer’s mood and the character of the music. Bachata Dominican Style is today danced all over the Caribbean, now also faster in accordance to faster music, adding more footwork, turns and rhythmic free style moves and with alternate between close (romantic) and open position (more playful adding footwork, turns, rhythmic torso etc.). This style is danced with soft hip movements and a tap with a small “pop” with the hip on the 4th beat (1, 2, 3, Tab/Hip). Can be danced with or without bounce (moving the body down on the beats and up again in between the beats by springing the legs a little).
Cumbia is a Latin American musical style that originated in Colombia. The dance associated with the music began as a courtship dance practiced among the African population on the Caribbean coasts of Colombia. It later mixed with American Indian and European instruments, steps and musical characteristics.
By the 1940s, Cumbia began spreading from the coast to other parts of Colombia alongside other coastal forms of music. Originally working-class, populist music, Cumbia was frowned upon by the elites, but as it grew in popularity, Cumbia became a shared music in every sector of Colombian society.
Over time, the step sequence changed and became more formalized. Instead of short, sliding steps, they became a simple 4-count, “two-step” forward and backward motion.
Cumbia began as a courtship dance practiced among the slave population that was later mixed with the European instruments and influence. It was also used during Colombia’s struggle for independence as an expression of resistance against Spain.
The Cha-Cha-Chá, or simply cha-cha in the U.S., is a dance that originated in Cuba. It is danced to the music of the same name, introduced in the 1950s. This rhythm was developed from the musical transition between classical Cuban forms music to the Mambo styling. The name is derived from the shuffling sound of the dancers’ feet.
Country/western cha-cha-cha and Latin street cha-cha-cha in some places other than Cuba count “one-two-chachacha” or “chachacha-three-four”.
Cowboy cha-cha-cha is danced basically to any “four to the floor” music; in addition there are a number of Country/Western novelty dances with the names that include “cha-cha-cha”.
East Coast Swing (ECS) is a form of social partner dance that evolved from the Lindy Hop with the work of the Arthur Murray dance studios in the 1940s. East Coast Swing can be referred to by many different names in different regions of the United States and the world. It has alternatively been called Eastern Swing, Jitterbug, American Swing, Lindy (not to be confused with Lindy Hop) and Triple Swing. Other variants of East Coast Swing that use altered footwork forms are known as Single Swing or “Single-step Swing” (where the triple step is replaced by a single step forming a slow, slow, quick, quick rhythm common to Foxtrot), and Double Swing (using a tap-step footwork pattern).
The Foxtrot is a ballroom dance which takes its name from its inventor, the vaudeville actor Harry Fox.
According to legend, he was unable to find single female dancers capable of performing the more difficult two-step. As a result, he added stagger steps (two trots), creating the basic Foxtrot rhythm of slow-slow-quick-quick. The dance was premiered in 1914, quickly catching the eye of the talented husband and wife duo Vernon and Irene Castle, who lent the dance its signature grace and style.
The Hustle is a catchall name for several 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 swing dance. Its basic steps are somewhat similar to the Discofox, which emerged at about the same time and is more familiar in various European countries. In the 1970s there was also a line dance called the Hustle—which is regaining popularity as people throw 1970s theme parties or schools have 1970s dance performances. Modern partner hustle is sometimes referred to as New York Hustle.
Lindy Hop is a dance that evolved in New York City in 1927. It is a fusion of many dances that preceded it or were popular during its development but is mainly based on jazz, tap, breakaway and Charleston. Lindy Hop co-evolved with jazz music and is a member of the swing dance family.
In its development, Lindy Hop combined elements of both solo and partner dancing by using the movements and improvisation of black dances along with the formal eight-count structure of European partner dances. This is most clearly illustrated in Lindy’s basic step, the swingout. In this step’s open position, each dancer is generally connected hand-to-hand; in its closed position, men and women are connected as though in an embrace.
Revived in the 1980s by American, Swedish, and British dancers, Lindy Hop dancers and organizations can now be found in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania.
A line dance is choreographed dance with a repeated sequence of steps in which a group of people dance in one or more lines or rows without regard for the gender of the individuals, all facing the same direction, and executing the steps at the same time. Line dancers are not in physical contact with each other. Older “line dances” have lines in which the dancers face each other, or the “line” is a circle, or all dancers in the “line” follow a leader around the dance floor; while holding the hand of the dancers beside them.
Mambo is a Latin dance of Cuban origin that corresponds to mambo music. Mambo music was invented in 1930s Havana by Cachao and his contemporaries and made popular around the world by Perez Prado and Beny Moré. Mambo music developed from Danzon and was heavily influenced by the Jazz musicians that the Italian-American gangsters, who controlled Havana’s casinos, brought to entertain their American customers.
In the late 1940s, Perez Prado came up with the dance for the mambo music and became the first person to market his music as “mambo”. After Havana, Prado moved his music to Mexico when the reactionary dictatorship at the time did not like his non-traditional style of music and expelled him. From there he moved to New York City. Along the way, his style became increasingly homogenized in order to appeal to mainstream American listeners.
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).
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 foot.
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 done 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 folk and several ballroom dances.
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.
Ballroom dancing for everyone! come and enjoy