- Viennese Waltz
West Coast Swing
Foxtrot – The foxtrot originated in 1913 when a vaudeville performer by the name of Harry Fox performed a little trot. This dance appealed to the social dance teachers in New York and thus the Foxtrot was born. After many changes since that time, the foxtrot is now comprised of more soft and fluid linear movements.
Waltz – In the late 1700’s, the Waltz appeared as a fashionable dance in Bohemia, Austria, Bavaria and other parts of Europe. Danced in 3/4 timing, the dancers whirl around the floor enjoying the thrill of the Waltz movement.
Tango and Argentine Tango – The Tango originated in the bordellos of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Tango hold is very different than other dances, with the lady’s arm under the mans. This tighter hold allows the dancer to perform a quick staccato action and stylized poses. The American Style Tango is a progressive dance, moving along the line of dance using body movement. A staccato movement of the feet and flexed knees highlight the dramatic style of the Tango.
Viennese Waltz – The Viennese Waltz is a fast Waltz which originated in Austria. The first waltzes were written by Joseph Lanner and Johann Strauss in the early 19th century. In the middle of the 20th century, Paul Krebs, a German, choreographed the Viennese Waltz style to which we dance today. The dance enjoyed a great deal of popularity not only in Europe, but also in America, and has been used in
many Hollywood productions.
Quickstep – As the name implies, the Quickstep is a very quick and lively dance, comprised of hops, skips and kicks. The dance began as a quick version of Foxtrot mixed with the Charleston, and musical Jazz influences.
Cha Cha – In the 1950s, Cha Cha originated as a slower version of Mambo. This exciting Latin dance is sometimes called the Cha Cha Cha, reflecting its distinct syncopated foot rhythm. Cha Cha gathers its character, rhythm, and charm from two major dance sources. It is a derivation of the Mambo through its Latin music, and it is also related to the Swing, as it is danced to a 1-2-3 step rhythm.
Rumba – African in origin, the Rumba was originally a courtship, marriage, and street dance. The Rumba met some opposition from high society because of the suggestive body and hip movements. 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. This hip swaying has come to be known as Cuban Motion.
Bolero – Bolero was 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 presented as a very slow type of Rumba rhythm. The beautiful music is frequently arranged with Spanish vocals and a subtle percussion effect, usually using Congas or Bongos.
Mambo – The spicy Mambo grew out of the Danzon (national music of Cuba), and grasped the imagination of the American dance scene at the close of World War II. Later, fast Swing-Jazz and upbeat Latin music joined in to form the updated and uninhibited Mambo of today. The Mambo is a spot dance and the steps are quite compact. Samba – The Samba is a lively Brazilian dance. First introduced in 1917, the Samba was finally adopted as a ballroom dance by Brazilian society in 1930. It is sometimes referred to as a Samba, Carioca, a Baion or a Batucado. The difference is mainly in the tempo, since the steps in all four dances are very similar. The Samba style is to bounce steadily and smoothly in 2/4 meter. They say that the Samba was introduced in the United States in 1939 by the late Carmen Miranda. Paso Doble – The Paso Doble is a theatrical Spanish dance that characterizes the man as the matador and the lady as his cape. Based on Flamenco dancing, the character of the dance is arrogant and passionate. Paso Doble translates to “Double Step”.
Merengue – The Merengue is a popular dance of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. There is an old tale about a brave and famous military officer who was wounded in battle and developed a limp. When a celebration dance was given for the great hero returning from the war, all the other men favored their leg so as not to embarrass the hero while he danced with a limp. Thus the Merengue was born.
Salsa – Salsa is the Spanish word for “sauce” describing the “spicy” and “hot” flavor of this popular dance style. Salsa is danced to a complex mix of many different rhythms. There are indications the term Salsa was used by radio disc jockeys in Puerto Rico in 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 music with an aggressive high energy pulse which has become popular everywhere. Many of the step patterns are related to those of the Mambo and Cha Cha.
Jive – This dance is the European version of East Coast swing. Six and eight count patterns make up this dance, as in East Coast swing but it is quite bouncy with very sharp kicks and flicks. Unlike East Coast swing, Jive is danced to a faster tempo swing music and is meant for competitive style dancing.
East Coast Swing – This dance is frequently referred to as Triple Step swing due to the rhythm of the basic triple step. The East Coast Swing consists of six and eight count patterns, which require a rock step back by both man and woman to begin. It is a circular dance that is danced with a bounce and is very grounded and not high in the legs. This bounce requires the dancer to stay very smooth and not jump around much. East Coast swing is the base for all swing dances.
West Coast Swing – This dance also consists of six and eight count patterns, which are danced in a slot. The woman no longer rocks back as in East Coast swing, but instead she always walks forward on count one. Medium tempo swing music, frequently slower than East Coast swing, is typically used for West Coast Swing. However, dancers who achieve a high skill level in this dance can and do dance it
to faster tempo music. This dance has no bounce and a very smooth feel. Rarely will you see high kicks or moves which require the dancer to leave the floor.
Hustle – The Hustle (Disco) is a member of the Swing family, and is like the West Coast Swing in pattern. It has a distinct flavor, utilizing Disco style music. The Hustle revived partner style dancing among nightclub dancers in the 1970s. Hustle is danced to the contemporary pop dance music of the last 20 years. It is a fast, smooth dance, with the lady spinning almost constantly, while her partner
draws her close and sends her away.