The Fox trot is the dance of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. This dance originated in 1913 when a vaudeville performer by the name of Harry Fox performed a little trot. This smooth and elegant dance is extremely versatile and can be danced to a variety of musical styles. It is the easiest smooth dance and is popular with beginners and advanced dancers alike.
The Waltz grew out of the Germanic dances of the 17th and 18th century. Waltz was the first dance in which the man and lady danced with body contact, and was considered quite scandalous in its day. Waltz is characterized by a lovely rise and fall action. Waltz has an elegant gracefulness with a romantic feel.
The Tango evolved as a ballroom dance from the sultry Argentine Tango danced in the bordellos of Buenos Aires, Argentina. It emerged as a highly passionate dance, one that the respectable classes of society shunned. The American style Tango is characterized by a close hold and sharp movements and has a staccato feel.
Where Ballroom Tango is very formalized, Argentine Tango is an improvisational form.
This gorgeous style of dancing has its origins in the brothels of Buenos Aires in the late 19th century. It differs from the American (or ballroom) Style in several ways. The Argentine Tango hold, (or dance position), is more of a close embrace.
The Viennese Waltz dates back to the early 1700's in Europe. Like the Waltz, many considered the dance to be immoral. It is characterized by its speed, (approximately twice as fast as Waltz), and features a series of left and right turns as the couple whirls around the dance floor. The faster music requires dancers to have greater technique.
The Quickstep is a very fast, light and lively dance in which the partners seem to fly around the ballroom and execute a series of kicks, skips, jumps and runs. The Dance began as a quick version of the Fox trot.
The Rumba is often referred to as the "dance of love". It is a non-progressive dance which features a hip action known as "Cuban Motion". It is danced to slow, romantic music with a Latin beat. Rumba is derived from the Afro-Caribbean dance "Son" and has been popular in this country as a ballroom dance since the 1930's.
The "Cha Cha Cha" was introduced to the United States in the early 1950's and promptly sparked a dance craze. Cuban in origin, the Cha Cha evolved from a slow version of Mambo called "Triple Mambo". It is a fun, flirtatious dance which emphasizes Cuban Motion and rhythm expressed throughout the body.
The Samba is the national dance of Brazil. This dance was first introduced in the U.S. in the late 1920's. It was a solo art form with rapidly moving hips and quick transfers of weight. It eventually evolved into a couples' dance. In Brazil, however, it remains a solo dance form.
The Bolero is thought to have similar origins to the Rumba. It is sometimes called the "Cuban Dance of Love". The Bolero is a slow, beautiful, expressive dance. It is believed to have evolved from such dances as the Danzon, the Beguine and the Fandango. Contemporary Bolero music is slow with a romantic feel.
Prerez Prado is credited with introducing Mambo at a Havana nightclub in 1943. Around 1947, Mambo arrived in New York, quickly becoming all the rage. The Mambo is a spot dance and the steps are quite compact. It is characterized by strong Cuban Motion.
A truly great club dance found in dance clubs that play Latin music. Salsa as a dance style began in New York in the Latino dance clubs in the 1960's and 1970's. It is a mix of many Latin dances, but it most closely resembles Mambo. It is fun, accessible, and sexy. Both the music and the dance continue to evolve in the Salsa clubs of New York, Los Angeles and beyond.
The Merengue is a popular dance of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Musically, it has links with Cuba but the dance belongs to the island of Hispaniola. It is a fun and easy dance made up of simple steps. Noted for its Cuban Motion, Merengue is also characterized by its marching feeling.
The Paso Doble is a stirring and dramatic dance based on a Spanish bull fight. The leader in this dance represents the Matador and the lady symbolizes his cape. Paso Doble features beautiful body shapes and sharp, flamenco-like footwork.
East Coast Swing
A dance made popular during World War II and danced to the music of Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Glen Miller. Swing traces its roots to the original swing dance, Lindy Hop, (also called Jitterbug and Swing).
Jive is similar to the triple-step East Coast Swing. However, Jive is much faster, and uses a lot of knee action.
West Coast Swing
The West Coast Swing was born in California during the 1940's. West Coast Swing is smooth and danced in a slot. It can be danced to a wide range of music including Rhythm and Blues, Country Western, Disco, Rock and Pop.
Hustle is one of the partner disco dances that developed in the 1970's. It is a fast moving, energetic dance characterized by its many turns. It is danced to Disco style music. This dance was featured in the film, "Saturday Night Fever", starring John Travolta. The Hustle continues to be a very popular dance today.
Night Club Two Step
The Night Club Two Step is one of the most practical and versatile social dances which is perfectly suited for contemporary and popular ballads. It is a slow, romantic dance that features rock steps. It is confined to a single, compact space on the dance floor. It is perfect for crowded nightclub floors.