Dance Styles

Ballroom is the umbrella term for Latin, Swing and Standard dances. Argentine Tango includes 3 main styles Tango, Milonga and Tango Vals.

The Standards

The Standard Dances include: Foxtrot, Waltz, Quickstep, Viennese, Waltz, and American Tango.

American Social Foxtrot - This classic dance is one of the most versatile. It suits a wide range of music including Big Band Swing, Jazz standards and modern ballads. It is casual, elegant and smooth and the most relaxed of the Standard dances. It shares music with Swing dancing - Foxtrot or Swing can often be danced to the same piece of music.

International Foxtrot - This dance is related to Social Foxtrot but is grander and less jazzy. It is danced to slower, rhythmically smoother pieces than Social Foxtrot. It is one of the most elegant and challenging dances with a very difficult tempo to master.

Quickstep - This dance was developed for a specific style of Swing music,
a well-known example of which is Louis Prima's "Sing, Sing, Sing" played by the Benny Goodman Orchestra. In a very general way it can be described as a reved-up Foxtrot. It is a fast-moving, large dance that moves boldly and very quickly around the dance floor. One of it's roots is the Charleston and it retains elements of it still.

Waltz - International & Social- it is a very old dance of European origin, also known as Slow or English Waltz. It is the grandest of the Standards danced to 3/4 time and expresses the lilt of the music. The Social form can include traditional styles such as Cajun,
Country or Irish Waltzes which are generally faster.

Viennese Waltz is danced to 6/8 time- the tempo being much faster than Slow Waltz. Within this tempo range are also found Argentine Tango Vals and French Musette Waltz.

American Tango is a style of Tango based on the Tango of the 1920’s. It has evolved, certainly, but still has a lot of old-world charm. It is the Tango of Argentina run through the filters of Europe and Hollywood. While the Argentine Tango of today has become the most modern of standards this Tango is sweetly retro.

The Latin Dances

The Latin Dances include: Rumba, Cha Cha, Merengue, Salsa, Bolero and Samba

Rumba is the classic Latin dance. It is romantic, sensuous and formal and danced to compelling music of Afro-Cuban origin. Many of its classic forms are adapted for Cha Cha and Salsa. There is an American Social style and International style.

Cha Cha evolved from the older, faster Mambo. It is one of the most enduring and popular of the Latin dances because of its distinctive rhythm and flirtatious character.
There is an American Social style and International st

Bolero is the oldest form of Rumba. It's character lies somewhere between Tango and Rumba. It is very slow and sensual and its movements are grander than the other Latin dances. It is danced in a closed hold like Tango as well as a very open hold and presently, steps from Tango are being incorporated into Bolero.

Salsa is a mix of African and Caribbean dance and music styles. The music is complex, layered and irresistable. It is the hottest club dance at the moment with a variety of regional styles (New York, Los Angeles, Miami etc). It borrows steps from Mambo, Rumba, Cha Cha and Swing and anything goes!

Samba comes from Brazil. It was originally danced during Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro.
The strong beat and distinctive precussion of Samba music make the dance very exciting.

Merengue originated in the Dominican Republic. The footwork is simple and the dance is pure fun. Modern Merengue music has brought the dance into the Salsa clubs and many steps have been borrowed from Swing and Salsa.

The Swing Dances

East Coast Single-step Swing - This swinging dance evolved along with the Big Band Jazz of the thirties and forties. It continued to be adapted and was danced to Rock ‘n’ Roll through the fifties and is still very popular today. Students will learn to dance to a wide range of great music from the Swing era to the present.

Jive or Triple Step is danced to slower Swing music or Blues. It has a more complex basic step than East Coast Swing that makes it appropriate for slower tempos. Again there is a huge range of music that it suits - Big Band, Rock 'n' Roll, Cajun, etc.

West Coast Swing has its roots in another swing dance - Lindy Hop. It has an exaggerated extension-compression technique of partner connection and is danced primarily in a slot. It allows for lots of improvisation and has a smooth, cool character.
It was called "Sophisticated Swing" in the 1950s. It is danced to a wide range of music - blues, rhythm and blues, Rockabilly, Funk and Swing.

Argentine Tango

Argentine Tango includes 3 main styles: Tango, Milonga, and Waltz.

Tango is a fusion of musical and dance influences brought to Buenos Aires by sailors and immigrants from Spain, Africa and Italy. A complex and sophisticated dance, it requires a strong connection between partners. It also demands a lot of interpretation and “play” since the music often changes tempo. Balance and musical interpretation are its main challenges.

Milonga is a quick, upbeat folk dance that is very regular in tempo. It is playful and extroverted and is to Tango what Jive is to Foxtrot. There is a "Con Traspie" style which is very staccato and moves slowly around the floor. The other style of Milonga is larger in its movements and covers ground very quickly incorporating lots of weaves and quick walks.

Tango Vals (Waltz) is danced to 3/4 time and the tempo ranges from quite slow to very quick. The music is some of the prettiest ever written. The style of the dance is very fluid and romantic. Its steps are based on the Tango but its character is quite different.




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