The Ballroom and Latin Dances
There are lots of Ballroom and Latin dances – to help you choose the ones most suitable for you, we have a brief description here, starting with the 10-Dance. The dances featured in the Ten Dance are five International Ballroom Standard dances – Foxtrot, Quickstep, Waltz, Tango and Viennese Waltz. And five International Latin Dances – Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble, Cha-Cha-Cha and Jive. You have the choice to learn all or some of them.
5 International Ballroom Dances:
Waltz is a graceful dance which started in the early 1600’s in Bavaria, and was introduced to England in the 1800’s. It features a strong “rise and fall” or up and down movement throughout the figures. It is the dance which most comes to mind when thinking of Ballroom dances and has a romantic feel and appearance.
A smooth American dance which originated in the early 1900’s with partners moving gracefully across the floor. Foxtrot can be danced at a slow, medium, or fast pace in time to the jazz or big band music which is playing. The dance has no rise and fall, with slow steps for two beats, and a quick step for one beat.
An English dance to a quicker tempo, which is where it gets it’s name. Energetic and full of walks, runs, and turns taken from Foxtrot, along with hops, jumps and skips. Quickstep came about in the 1920’s using a combination of Foxtrot and Charleston moves with couples dancing together in syncopated time.
Ballroom Tango differs from Argentine Tango. It has different timing from the dance that originated in Buenos Aries in the late 1800’s. Ballroom Tango uses quick, strong and dramatic movements and shapes, and is best described as a sensual dance. It is Ballroom Tango which is danced in International Competition.
Viennese Waltz comes from France in the mid 1500’s (the oldest of the ballroom dances). Danced to the music of Strauss, the quick and passionate flow epitomises this ‘old school’ Waltz. It is a classy dance with 1-2-3 timing, and limited figures to show off the spins and turns around the dance floor.
5 International Latin Dances:
To many people Rumba is considered to be the most sensual and passionate dance of the 10-dances. It is the slowest of the International style Latin dances, is complex and includes many different hip and figure-of-eight body movements. Rumba came to the United States from Latin America in the 1920’s and became popular at cabarets during prohibition.
A partner dance for Ballroom but solo when danced as the national dance of Brazil. Introduced to America in the 1940’s, Samba was made popular by Carmen Miranda. It mimics the carnival feel and atmosphere and has lots of “bounce” created through knees and ankles. Performed as an International dance, and evolved further around the world.
A very dramatic and exciting dance in character and shaping. Paso Doble comes from Spain and the dramatic bullfights there. The lead takes the role of matador while the follow has the role of the matador’s cape, the bull, or the matador. See the lead turn the follow as if they are the cape, and stomp their foot to get the bull’s attention.
The flirtatious Cha Cha (sometimes referred to as the Cha Cha Cha) is one of the faster dances with quick foot actions, sharp movements, and a lot of hip action. It was developed in the 1950’s as a slower substitute for Mambo. It includes bending and straightening of the knees giving it a Cuban feel. Included as an International Latin dance.
A quick swing dance played out to big band music with lots of kicks, energy, and fun personality. Could be described as a fun version of the Jitterbug. Started on the club scene in the 1940’s US and now developed into today’s International Latin dance. The Jive is an amalgamation of moves taken from Salsa, Swing, Tango, and more.
Practice will help you to advance your dance skills, learn new moves, and to progress at your own pace. If you want to learn the easy moves for social dancing. Or spend more time and dedication to learn more complicated moves and become a dancer. The more you practice, the better you will get.