Dances We Teach

The Ballroom & Social Dances available to you are many, and new students often think they must learn all of them at once in order to become good, proficient dance partners...not true! We will always start you off with only a couple of dances to get you used to being in the arms of a dance partner while getting comfortable with our basic dance steps.

You can take a deeper look at our Method of Teaching HERE

Below you can peruse the Social & Ballroom Dances we teach to gain a little background on each of them. There are two genres of Social Dancing; the Smooth, more traditional Ballroom Dances, like Tango and Viennese Waltz, and the Latin & Rhythm Dances, like the Swing and Salsa.

Traditional Social & Ballroom Dances

FOXTROT

Usually the first dance introduced due to its "walking" step, the Foxtrot has its origins in the early 1900's when Harry Fox, a vaudeville entertainer, started his "trot" in a simple manner by walking to the music in a steady, rhythmic fashion.

It is often the easiest dance to pick up, while also remaining one of the hardest to master. Music for Foxtrot varies widely due to its versatility, but is most often songs by Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, Harry Connick, Jr. and Tony Bennett.

WALTZ

The Waltz is considered to be one of the ultimate classics of Ballroom Dancing. It is the oldest of all the modern standard and social dances, dating back to the middle of the 18th century. German by origin, the word Waltz is derived from the Latin "volvere," describing a rotating motion.

Its beautiful movement and subtle rise and fall make this dance very pleasing to watch. Like all Smooth and Standard dances, it follows a line of dance around the dance floor, or "counter-clockwise" around the floor.

The Waltz is danced to its own beat, written in a unique 3/4 time signature.

TANGO

One of our more "expressive" dances, the Tango offers couples the opportunity to smooth-dance in a romantic and meaningful embrace. The history of this particular dance is extensive, dating back to the late 1800's in Buenos Aires. It was a dance born of necessity. In a city where the population of men so far outnumbered that of women it was very important to know how to dance well with a woman when the rare occasion arose when a man actually had a woman in his arms.

It has a variety of styles and attributes, mainly narrowing down to the Argentine style of Tango, and the North American style of Tango. Either way, the Tango is sure to impress. Its demand for strong leadership is rivaled only by its demand for strong follow on the feminine side of the partnership. Enjoy this one!

VIENNESE WALTZ

The beautiful and flowing movement of the Viennese Waltz is accentuated by its close partnering and fast tempo. Unlike its American counterpart, the Viennese Waltz moves very quickly around the dance floor, and is properly danced turning to the right and left, with change steps in between to switch direction while moving around the floor in line of dance, or counter clockwise.

You will see Viennese Waltz danced to classical, upbeat music such, as Strauss. This dance will help to improve not only your balance, but also your partnering in closed position. It shares the Waltz's 3/4 time signature.

QUICKSTEP

Elegant and "quick," the Quickstep is one of our most energetic and moving dances. As the Viennese is to the Waltz, so the Quickstep is to the Foxtrot. The footwork itself is relatively simple, but the speed of Quickstep demands the ability to control and maneuver your partnership around the dance floor.

It has its origins in England, and borrows its styling from the early Peabody, Charleston and the slow Foxtrot. Quickstep developed in New York in the 1920's through the 1930's, and has taken on a light and energetic form, giving the dancers the appearance of "floating" quickly across the floor.

Its quick, but simplistic nature allows it to be danced both in formal and social environments.

ARGENTINE TANGO

The Argentine Tango is one of the most romantic and beautiful dances in the world today. Its use of flirtatious legwork and passionate embrace make this dance stand apart from Standard and traditional ballroom dances. As for its history and origin, see "Tango" above.

Latin & Rhythm Ballroom Dances

SWING

The Swing is, for all intensive purposes, not just one dance, but a series of different dances all based in the same musical and rhythmic template. Depending on the speed of the music, you could be dancing a Jitterbug, Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing, or a Jive to name a few.

The oldest of the Swing dances is the Lindy Hop, a point which could be debated by dance historians, but for the contemporary purposes of this writing, it is the oldest one we know of. Lindy Hop originated in Harlem in the late 1920's and was danced and perfected by African Americans.

It has its musical roots in styles such as Charleston, Jazz and Tap. After the 1940's and 50's, the other Swing forms began to take hold, like the East Coast and West Coast Swing and Jive.

Both formally and socially, Swing is a must have in your repertoire!

RUMBA

Slow and rhythmic, the Rumba has its origins in Cuba, and the word "Rumba" originally refers to the music, dancing, and parties they held, rather than just one dance. In fact, the word Rumba derives from "rumbo," meaning "party." Over time, the word began to refer to a specific dance and rhythm with a blend of African and Cuban roots.

Danced medium to slow speed, it is an ideal dance to learn to become familiar with Latin movement. Its music is in 4/4 time signature, and can be danced to a vast variety of different types of music.

CHA CHA

With quick feet and an Afro-Cubano Rhythm at its core, this dance is a must! Like the Rumba, its origins are Cuban. It took only one dance instructor to visit Cuba in the early 1950's to bring the modern Cha Cha to life. His name was Monsieur Pierre, a professional dance instructor living in London at the time.

He is given credit for introducing England to Latin Dances and forging them in to ballroom dances, notably the Cha Cha. The dance breaks on the 2nd beat of the measure and is syncopated on the 4th.

Like all of the Latin dances you will learn, the roles of Masculine and Feminine are clear and gives these dances a sexy and appealing flair.

SALSA

As many will tell you, and through what you've read about the other dances above, Latin dances have a blurred and varied origin, and hardly any of them can claim to be created by just one person or place. Salsa is no different, as Salsa music has its origins way back in the early 1900's, but has more contemporary roots in the 1960's, when it became very popular.

Even then it was just a word attributed to a large array of Latin dances; if it sounded Latin, it was a Salsa. Even though it is a dance of open interpretation, it has specific rhythmic differences from its Mambo counterpart, but is danced to the very much the same music. Again, depending on whom you ask, this is debatable.

Generally, Salsa will break on the 1st beat of the measure, but could also be the 3rd beat. Varying styles will break wherever they wish, and some on the 2nd beat, calling it "Salsa on 2." Either way, you are sure to love this fantastic, sexy dance!

MERENGUE

The Merengue has its origins in the Dominican Republic, and is the country's national dance and music. It is apparently first seen as a dance and musical style around the 1850's.

This dance is sensual and the rhythm leaves itself open to great body movement. The beat of Merengue is steady, like a "mark-time" rhythm. The dance is used as an introductory medium for beginning & advanced dancers due to its very simple footwork. Grab a partner and enjoy!

MAMBO

The Mambo is the original variant to the Salsa, broken on the 2nd beat of the measure in today's more contemporary variation. It is, like its other Latin cousins, danced with a series of weight changes, creating hip and body movement.

Its origins are Cuban, and was made popular in the 1940's throughout Cuba, then Mexico City, then New York by the 50's and 60's. Then in the 70's, New York dancer Eddie Torres revamped the Mambo into what we see today, almost entirely stripping the original Mambo and replacing it with more of a Cha Cha base, with no syncopation.

BOLERO

The current Ballroom version of Bolero is a sort of hybrid between the Tango and Rumba, and is danced in a slow and patient manner, allowing for a great deal of expression and passion between partners. It is the most romantic of the dances, and has its origins in Cuba, though its early popularity is credited to Mexico and the advent of the Trio - three guitarists only, playing beautiful, romantic music.

Today's variation is simple, yet complex enough to require at least some solid dance and rhythm habits. The dance hold is close to the partner and the large and sweeping movements demand control and balance. Trust us, you want this one.

SAMBA

This Brazilian import has a very unique Calypso rhythm, allowing it to be danced either in a compact space or traveling the floor, giving it the nickname, the "Brazilian Waltz." It is a beautiful and tantalizing product of African and Brazilian music and culture.

Most people immediately connect the Samba to Brazil because of its musical tempo and unique time signature, written in 2/4. It is also directly linked to Brazil's world famous Carnival, a time of festival and celebration during which the Samba is danced non-stop for days!

Its tempo and music allow for a subtle "bounce" while dancing, creating a lovely visual Latin body language all its own. Trust us...you're going to love this one.
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