Dances

Fox Trot

A dance to be danced by all good dancers. Fox Trot is characterized as a ‘smooth’ dance. The movement should be flowing, the weight of the body traveling continuously, slows and quicks blended in unbroken movements.

Waltz

Is probably the most graceful dance of all dances, with its many spins, turns, and free flowing movements. In the Waltz, each bar of music has 3 beats. The first beat is accentuated. The steps are danced in groups of three, each step to one beat of music and – (unlike in the Fox Trot) – all at the same speed. If space allows, most steps are ‘long steps’, and a gradual rise is started at the end of the first step and carried out to the end of the third step. At the end of the third step, the heel of the foot taking the third step is lowered. This process of rising up and lowering is called ‘rise and fall’ technique. Once the above begins to feel more natural, a slight sway should be added on the side steps, which softens the look of the figures as well as assisting the body in turning. Rule of thumb here is to sway the torso ‘up’ into the direction one is traveling.

Many patterns are interchangeable between the Waltz and the Fox Trot – but only Fox Trot patterns that have ‘3’ steps can be used in the Waltz.

Swing East Coast

(similar to Jive) is a “must” for any dancer’s repertoire. It can be danced to so many pop tunes played everywhere. This dance takes up very little room, as the steps are small, and it is danced basically on one spot. Swing can be danced with either single rhythm, double, or triple rhythm. In this class, we will start learning the triple, as it has much more style and allows more creativity.

All steps are taken on the ball of the foot, with the heel just off (or lightly touching) the floor. The weight of the body should be kept forward and not be allowed to fall back onto the heels. Knees are flexed and limber, and hips are kept ‘loose’ to laterally ‘jilt’ into side movements. The two basic foot placements in this dance are the side steps and the rock step; and they will be used over and over again in a variety of patterns.

Rumba

Is the most graceful of Latin dances. In the beginner’s class, you will find that the timing is “Slow, Quick, Quick” (S,Q,Q); a ‘slow’ = 2 quicks. Rumba is characterized by the styling – without it, you are not dancing the Rumba. Most especially to note is that in progressive dances for example the Waltz and Fox Trot, the weight of the body is transferred as the step is taken. In Rumba however, the opposite is done – the weight transfer follows the foot placement. There is a body motion called Cuban Motion whereby the ribcage leads the body into each movement, and the hips follow. Much To do has been made about this movement making it sound very difficult. Really, much of learning to dance Latin is – relaxing, and letting it happen. The ultimate goal should be to develop a Latinish yet modern style . . rather than rigid and programmed. Almost all public dances will have at least some of their music with the basic Rumba timing – even nightclubs and discos.

Cha Cha

Like all other Latin dances, is quite different from anything you experienced in the American dances. Although some aspects of dancing are familiar in all the different dances, the Latin dances accentuate much more body movement.

Cha Cha is a fast moving, fun, and rhythmic spot dance (meaning that it is danced in a smaller floor area). The characteristic knee and hip Cuban motion is made possible through the rib cage, and the ball-heel footwork.

Level 1 is designed to introduce you to the bare basics of the dance. The 3 most basic (but forever used in various combinations) elements of the Cha Cha dance are the side steps, forward rock steps, and back rock steps. They will be taught to you in various patterns to familiarize you with the footwork, rhythm and styling. Not only is this dance danced to Latin music, but a lot of popular songs such as Santana Smooth and other rock songs.

Tango

The most dramatic dance of all. Although Tango is a Latin dance, it is danced much like a smooth dance (ie: Waltz and Fox Trot) in that the steps are long and smooth. Unlike the Waltz and Fox Trot however, the styling is characterized with strong, surging movements giving a sleek appearance contrasted with sharp, sudden movements. Without this terrific feeling put into your Tango dance, you will closely resemble Fox Trot dancing.

Level I Tango will introduce you to a few basic patterns that after having learned the other dances will seem relatively simple as far as the footwork. The real challenge will be in the accomplishment of the feeling required to execute this dance in the manner that is so necessary to achieve the Tango style. The Man’s weight will be emphatically more forward than in other smooth dances, and the Lady will be arched back much more dramatically. Very exciting movements totally unique to this specific dance will be introduced to you that will make you fall in love with the Tango dance.

Samba

Has always been categorized as a Latin American dance, although it actually originated in Africa. African slaves brought this unique dance to North America. The beat was established from the pulsating sounds of their drums, sticks, and whatever primitive music makers they had at that time.

In 1920, Samba dance was modified for ballroom use – however, at this time the Samba was a very, very fast dance. In the ‘60’s the tempo was slowed down and reintroduced. From then on, Samba has increased in popularity as a lively, rhythmic dance that exudes style and character.

This is a smooth but ‘pulsating’ dance – knees are ‘flexed and straightened’ repeatedly which creates the pulse motion in the legs. As well, a forward and back ‘pendulum motion’ is done with the body. Done properly, it looks quite easy. The actual steps of Samba are in fact quite easy; but the body and leg motion requires a great deal of practice.

Slow Night Club

This is a dance that is most neglected in the dance world – Yet, the slow music that is most (by far) played everywhere is not Waltz, not Fox Trot, but rather Slow Night Club music. This is your very romantic music. Almost every popular artist has songs in their repertoire that can be danced to this style of dance. It is soft & flowy, and generally rather slow. And a real bonus is that it is one of the easiest dances to learn while at the same time one of the prettiest. This is a great dance to learn before learning the much more difficult Fox Trot dance. They are both danced to 2/4 music, so by learning Slow Night Club, Fox Trot should then be somewhat easier to conquer. Examples of songs are: When a Man Loves a Woman, Unchained Melody, theme song from Pretty Woman, etc.

Hustle

Hustle is a much more modern version of the 70’s dance (which was actually a line dance of disco at that time). The new Hustle is a sleek & smooth (very cool) partnership dance, somewhat related to the Swing family – but softer.

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