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and Standard Dances
For competitive dancing, the Latin dance styles are
grouped into two main categories: American Rhythm and International Latin. The
American style consists of five dances: Cha Cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing, Bolero
and Mambo. The International Latin style also consists of five dances: Cha Cha,
Rumba, Jive, Paso Doble and Samba. When comparing the two styles, the most
obvious difference is that they each have some unique dances. However, all the
dances in each style do differ from their counterparts, in subtle ways, mostly
having to do with technique. You will find competitive events in each style. The following
are dances that fall under the category of Latin and/or rhythm:
- Learning the Rumba is a prerequisite for good Latin dancing. The Cuban
Motion is essential in most Latin dances. The Rumba is used by good dancers
everywhere and provides interesting variety suited to a limited space. Neat,
attractive, precise footwork gives you confidence in your dancing. The Rumba
will sharpen your sense of rhythm, timing and muscular control.
Cha - The Cha - Cha adds fun to your dancing through it's syncopated steps
and many open movements. When you can dance many interesting combinations with
ease, you and your partner will be able to feel the pulsating Latin rhythm which
make this dance so fascinating. The energetic rhythm of Cha Cha encourages you
to cut loose and let your personality show.
Coast Swing - The Swing is a spot dance with a carefree relaxed style and is
a dance easily mastered by most people. The various speeds are excellent
training for quick footwork and good leading & following which will add comfort
and ease in other rhythm dances. After mastering the patterns, both men and
women will find Swing fun and exciting dance to learn and practice. Perhaps the
most uniquely American of all dances, the Swing brings forth a buoyant carefree
movement. It's one of the dances that becomes contagious.
Merenque - Merenque develops Cuban Motion and the ability to swing your hips
freely. It is also the simplest dance to learn. It's uncomplicated timing makes
it easy to feel the music. It is the only Latin dance that combines one-step
timing with Cuban Motion and therefore is a help to all Latin dances. The march
type beat sharpens timing & coordination and the proper use of the accent will
develop a clear interpretation of musical rhythm.
Jive - Jive is an international competitive Swing dance with elements of the Lindy
Hop and Jitterbug. Characterized by up-tempo single-time music danced with
triple steps done primarily on the toes with very lively movements.
Hustle - Hustle originated in the 1970's Disco Era and was popularized by
John Travolta in the movie Saturday Night Fever. Both the music and the dance
swept the world like wildfire, and although the white suits and gold chains have
faded away, the dance has stayed, giving us the fusion of Swing and Disco. Disco
Hustle is still one of the most popular nightclub dances across the world today.
Coast Swing - WCS is a stylized Swing dance, popular west of the Mississippi
from Kansas to California. Danced to a slow or medium tempo swing or Disco music
and characterized by slot movements, taps and shuffles, coaster steps, and push
and pull action of the dancers.
Samba - Improves
the flexibility of the body and helps achieve easy movement and lightness. The
Samba rolling action teaches the body to be supple. To move lightly, quickly and
smoothly without effort takes study but only at the start. Although considered a
good exercise, Samba should be danced smoothly and in a relaxed manner giving
the appearance of effortless movement. Sometimes called the South American
Waltz, the Samba pulsates to a unique Latin rhythm.
Mambo - Mambo is
a fusion of Cuban American dancing. The music is characterized by a stirring
Afro-Cuban beat. Mambo is an exciting dance which allows you to develop your own
feeling and expression. Because Mambo is such a fun dance, good Mambo dancers
are always popular and in demand as partners. The wild exciting music and
rhythmical body movements, make the earthy Mambo irresistible.
Salsa - Salsa is
the Spanish word for "sauce" denoting a "spicy" and "hot" flavour to this
popular dance style and complex mix, of many different rhythms. There are
indications the term Salsa was coined by radio dick jockeys in Puerto Rico as
early as the 1960's. Later associated with a New York sound developed by Puerto
Rican musicians. Salsa is considered the national music and dance of Puerto
Rico. The fusion of an Afro-Cuban beat with enhanced jazz textures results in an
aggressive high energy pulse which has become popular everywhere. Many of the
patterns are closely related to those of the Mambo and Cha Cha.
Originally a Spanish dance, but also danced in Cuba. Firstly danced in 2/4 time
then eventually into 4/4 time. It is now present as a very slow type of Rumba
rhythm. The dance is often said to have the rise and fall of Waltz, the contra
body motion of Tango and the rhythm of Rumba. It is favourite to dancers, as it
incorporates many techniques similar to other dances. All that, creates a slow, sensual,
it's roots in the Spanish dance Flamenco. While the couple dance, the lady gives
the impression that she is the cape and other times she is the bull who finally
looses the battle. Paso is danced in 2/4 timing and is a very dynamic dance
giving the male partner a more visible role.
Smooth and standard dances
There are two main categories when talking about
Standard dancing - The International Standard and American Smooth. The
International Standard style includes five dances, Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz,
Foxtrot and Quickstep. This style is danced widely in competitions, both in the
United States and throughout the world. The most obvious trait of the
International Standard style is the dancer's constant closed position, where the
two dance partners never lose contact as (opposed to American smooth style,
where couples often open up and dance apart from each other). The standard
dances are also characterized by their very precise elements of technique:
footwork, rise & fall, amounts of turn, etc. From this emerges a unique elegance
and beauty. Four of the standard dances have their American Style counterparts.
The American Smooth dances consist of: Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot.
American Smooth is quite popular at social dances, and is danced at major
competition events across the United States and around the world. The ballroom
dance steps in this expressive style are creative and can be extremely fun to
dance and watch. The following are dances that fall under the category of
standard and/or smooth:
Foxtrot - is a
basic dance from which you can acquire a good dance foundation. Learning to
combine dance steps easily and teaches variety and manoeuvrability. The Foxtrot
posture is attractive in appearance and helpful to all other dances. Being able
to dance to slow, medium and fast tempos will add confidence to your dancing and
will assure fun and relaxation for your partner. The Foxtrot provides a good
foundation for all dances and is often called the "get - acquainted" or "first
Waltz - develops
balance and control. The basic Waltz steps are the foundation patterns used in
the most ballroom dances. Correct posture, rise and fall, and flowing movements
should be stressed to achieve good styling. The elegant sweeping movement of the
Waltz gives dancers a chance to practice balance and to move lightly with ease.
Tango - Is one
of the most beautiful of all the dances. It is characterized by earthy and
dramatic movements. In order to achieve the distinctive style of Tango, it is
important to develop controlled staccato footwork along with fluid graceful
movements. The unique rhythm of the music is great training for timing and
phrasing which develops as the dancer becomes more proficient. Tango practice is
essential towards becoming a good dancer.
Viennese Waltz -
With such wonderful composers as Johan Strauss and others, The Waltz became more
and more refined. The steps became smaller, with the turns smoother and more
compact. Adding to all that the graceful lilt of the flowing skirts, we have
today's Viennese Waltz.
Quickstep - is
the English version of the Fast Foxtrot, which has quick hoping steps set in
with the smoother gliding figures. It is very popular in Europe especially as a
Tap dancing - is
most generally associated with the films and musicals of Fred Astaire and Gene
Kelly. The percussive sounds produced by metal plates on the soles of shoes,
tapping out intricate rhythms distinguish this particular dance form. Anybody at
any age can have a go. It might fulfil your fantasies, and in a very short space
of time give you a real sense of accomplishment. This is a very fun way of
staying in shape.
Jazz - The kind
of energetic dancing often associated with musicals and television spectaculars.
As the requirements of technique and physique are not so exacting for jazz as
for classical dancing, it is accessible to almost anyone motivated to dance.
Popular open classes are accompanied by extremely lively music which can make
this dance style a lot of fun to learn. No less rigorous than any other
technique, it's strengthens the body, increases speed and coordination, and
greatly increases suppleness.
- Especially designed for prospective
brides and grooms who want to give a polished and graceful performance on their
big day. Couples increasingly opting to take dance lessons to help prepare for
what may be the performance of their life time. Wedding programs are designed to
help ease the pressure of that "first dance".
Tailor made dances created mainly by our professionals for studio shows, dance
competitions, theatres and television programs, to the music of ones choice.
- This dance originated in the West
Indies where it was danced only by the lowest classes. The dance found its way
into Argentina where it was re-created by the Gauchos in Buenos Aires. The tango
caused a sensation and was soon to be seen the world over.
Oriental - An
exotic dance form of ancient origin, it has been performed in Temples and Harem
alike. First introduced to the West in 1893, it has gained considerable
popularity as a sophisticated way to keep fit. "Shimmering" hip movements and
undulating tummy rolls, provide good exercise form, as well as relieving tension
- The dance and the music became popular
in the early 60's through the film "Zorba the Greek" with Anthony Quinn. The
dance itself is a combination of hasapiko - serviko and pentozali (of Cretan
origin), to this day a very popular dance indeed.
comes from Asia Minor mainly a dance for men, slow and heavy written in 9/8
rhythm. Zeibekiko is the dance that allows you to improvise and express your
inner feelings. Is one of the most popular dances in Greece.
- As it's called by the French, comes
from the region of Asia Minor. The dance and the music where projected through
the films " Never of Sunday" and "Zorba the Greek". Hasapiko is a group dance,
danced by men and ladies alike. Variety of steps makes this dance very popular.
Serviko - Of
Slavic origin, danced in a group form by men and women. The steps are fancy and
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