Dances We Teach

ARGENTINIAN TANGO
Originated in the West Indies where it was danced only by the lowest classes. The name is from the African Tanganya. The dance found it’s way into Argentina and then to France and finally into the United States in a modified form about 1914. Latin American ballroom Tango is danced in 4/4 time. NOTE: See also Continental Tango, English Tango, and Tango.

BOLERO
Originally a Spanish dance in 3/4 time, it was changed in Cuba initially into 2/4 time then eventually into 4/4. It is now present as a very slow type of Rumba rhythm. The music is frequently arranged with Spanish vocals and a subtle percussion effect, usually implemented with Conga or Bongos.

CHA CHA
From the less inhibited nightclubs and dance halls the Mambo underwent subtle changes. It was triple mambo, and then peculiar scraping and shuffling sounds during the ‘tripling’ produced the imitative sound of Cha Cha Cha. This then became a dance in itself. Mambo or triple Mambo or Cha Cha as it is now called, is but an advanced stage in interpretive social dancing born of the fusion of progressive American and Latin music.

COUNTRY WESTERN TWO-STEP
The Two-Step originated in the 1800’s by people who arrived here from Europe. It was an offspring of the minuet and they danced it as QQSS. In the old Western days when women were not allowed to dance with men, men danced together and that is the reason for the hard on the shoulder holding a can of beer and the other hand to the side. The only women who eventually danced with these men were Indian Squaws and that is where all the turns came about, because Indian women loved to spin. Two-step is a Western dance whose popularity has spread all over the United States.

DOMINICAN MERENGUE
The dance of the Dominican Republic is 2/4 time with syncopation of the first beat interpreted by the dancers as a slight limp. It became popular in 1957.

FOX TROT
Said by some to have been originated by Harry Fox (1913). It is now a standard ballroom dance the world over and serves as a good foundation for social dances in 2/4 or 4/4 time. NOTE: See also Two Step.

FREESTYLE
Ad lib dance movements with no fixed structure. Danced without touching partner to a variety of music styles including Rock ‘n Roll, and discotheque beats.

HUSTLE OR SWING HUSTLE
A number if similar style disco dances, which had it’s beginning in the mid-70’s and enjoys some continuing popularity as a swing style today. The record ‘Do The Hustle’ was followed by the movie ‘Saturday Night Fever.’ The movie portrayal of partner dancing by John Travolta to the popular beat of top selling music from the Bee Gees and the introduction to America of the Discotheque setting, popular for some years in Europe, took America by storm. Flashing lights, mirrors everywhere, loud throbbing beat, and high fashion were in. Large numbers of popular Discos sprang up in every city and everyone was waiting in line to dance.

JITTERBUG
A toned down version of a Lindy Hop which is faster and happier than the American Rock ‘n’ Roll or Swing.

JIVE 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 movement.

LAMBADA This latest dance crazy has its roots from the Northeast Coast of Brazil. The exciting look of this dance on European television took the Continent by storm in the late 80’s. Introduced to the U.S. by Arthur Murray personnel, its lighthearted Brazilian/Caribbean beat combines the flavor of the Samba with the sultry passion of the Rumba.

MAMBO The fusion of Swing and Cuban music produced this fascinating rhythm and in turn created a new sensational dance. The Mambo could not have been conceived earlier since up until that time Cuba and the American Jazz were still not wedded. The Victor records of Anselmo Sacasas entitled ‘Mambo’ in 1944 were probably the beginning and since then other Latin American bandleaders such as Tito Rodriguez, Pupi Campo, Tito Puente, Perez Prado, Machito and Xavier Cugat have achieved styling of their own and furthered the Mambo craze. The Mambo was originally played as any Rumba with a riff ending. It may be described as a riff or a Rumba with emphasis on the fourth beat 4/4′ time. Originally played by some musicians in 2/4 time with a break or emphasis on 2 and 4. Native Cubans or dancers, without any training would break on any beat. MARCHA: Latin American counterpart of our One-Step.

PASO DOBLE The Spanish March or One Step. It makes an especially good exhibition routine when the man styles his body movements to look like a bullfighter and leads his partner in and out of the patterns as if she were a cape. It is usually in 2/4 time.

PEABODY A fast Fox Trot during which dancers may use many quick steps set against the figure called ‘Open Box’. It was popular in the larger ballrooms where dance space was not a problem.

POLKA This dance was introduced to society in 1844. Every now and then it is revived because of its boisterous charm. It was supposed to have been originally created by a Bohemian girl. The basic step consists of a preparatory hop followed by a chasse done first to left then to the right. Curiously enough, it reappeared in the 1940’s in the Cha Cha as one of the more popular steps. Still danced quite often throughout the country.

QUICKSTEP The English version of the Fast Fox Trot, which has quick hopping steps, set in with the smoother gliding figures. It is very popular in Europe as a competition dance. It ranks among the ‘Big Five,’ the other three being the Slow Fox Trot, the Waltz, the Tango and the Viennese Waltz.

RUMBA The Rumba was originally a marriage dance. Many of its movements and actions that seem to have an erotic meaning are merely depictions of simple farm tasks, the shoeing of the mare, the climbing of a rope, the courtship of the rooster and the hen, etc. The black population of Cuba did it for amusement on the farms. However, it became a popular ballroom dance and was introduced in the United States about 1933. It was the Americanized version for the Cuban Son and Danzon. It is in 4/4 time. The characteristic feature is to take each step without initially placing the weight on that step. Steps are made with a slightly bent knee which, when straightened, causes the hips to sway from side to side in what has come to be known as ‘Cuban Motion.’

SALSA This is a favored name for a type of Latin music, which, for the most part, has its roots in Cuban culture and is enhanced by jazz textures. The word, Salsa, means sauce denoting a ‘hot’ flavor and is best distinguished from other Latin music styles by defining it as the New York sound developed by Puerto Rican musicians in New York. The dance structure is largely associated with mambo type patterns and has a particular feeling that is associated mainly with the Clave and the Montuno.

SAMBA This Brazilian dance was first introduced in 1917 but was finally adopted by Brazilian society in 1930 as a ballroom dance. It is sometimes referred to as a Samba, Carioca, a Baion or a Batucado. The difference is mostly in the tempo played since the steps in all three dances are very similar. The style is to bounce steadily and smoothly in 2/4 meter. They say that the late Carmen Miranda introduced the Samba in the United States in 1939.

SWING An ever-popular blend of several African American dances, which include Lindy and Ragtime Jazz and Blues, as well as all the other dance music to accompanying dances of the past ninety years. Today it generally refers to the ballroom and nightclub version, which is based on two slow, and two quick counts or the slow and two quick counts of rhythm dances.

TANGO Continental/English – See INTERNATIONAL TANGO There are essentially three types of Tango – Argentine, American and International Style. Argentine Tango: (arrabalero) A dance created by the Gauchos in Buenos Aires. It was actually an attempt on their part to imitate the Spanish dance except that they danced it in a closed ballroom position. The Tango caused a sensation and was soon to be seen the world over in a more subdued version. American Tango: Unlike the Argentine Tango, in which the dancer interprets the music spontaneously without any predetermined slows or quick’s, the American Tango features a structure, which is correlated to the musical phrasing. The dance is executed both in closed position and in various types of extravagant dance relationships, which incorporate a particular freedom of expression that is not present in the International style. International Tango: This is a highly disciplined and distinctively structured form of the Tango, which is accepted worldwide as the format for dancesport events. The dancers remain in traditional closed position throughout and express both legato and staccato aspects of the type of music appropriate to this style.

VIENNESE WALTZ With such wonderful composers as Johann Strauss and others, the Waltz became more and more refined. The steps became smaller with the turns smoother and more compact. Adding the graceful lilt of the flowing skirts we have today’s Viennese Waltz.

WALTZ The real origin of the Waltz is rather obscure, but a dance of turns and glides, leaping and stomping appeared in various parts of Europe at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th century. In Italy it was the Volta, France has its Volte, Germany the Weller and Austria had its Landler. These were round dances but at the end of the dance itself there was a short period in which the circle would break up into couples who would whirl madly round and round and finish with a jump in the air. In the Landler the hopping gave way more to a gliding motion and that is why it is considered the forerunner of the Waltz. The Waltz can be traced back as far as 400+ years. The Waltz regained its real popularity in the 20th century. The Waltz blossomed out as the Hesitation Waltz in 1913. Until the development of the hesitation, couples had waltzed in one direction until dizzy and then reversed until ready to drop. The Waltz had degenerated into an endurance contest. The Hesitation resulted in the Waltz it is done today. The slow Waltz was once known as the Boston Waltz. Today the slow Waltz is the American Waltz, English Waltz or just Waltz, and the faster is the Viennese Waltz.

WEST COAST SWING A stylized Swing dance popular west of the Mississippi from Kansas to California. Danced in a slot to medium to slow Swing or Disco music and characterized by slot movements, taps and shuffles, coaster steps, and push and pull action of the dancers.