At Socialsport Dance Club we offer a wide array of possible dance styles for our students to learn, enjoy, and ultimately master!
At its inception, the foxtrot was originally danced to ragtime. Today, the dance is customarily accompanied by the same big band music to which swing is also danced.
Over time, the foxtrot split into slow and quick versions, referred to as “foxtrot” and “quickstep” respectively. In the slow category, further distinctions exist between the International or English style of the foxtrot and the continuity American style, both built around a slow-quick-quick rhythm at the slowest tempo, and the social American style using a slow-slow-quick-quick rhythm at a somewhat faster pace.
While it evolved from the Foxtrot, the Quickstep now is quite separate. Unlike the modern Foxtrot, the man often closes his feet and syncopated steps are regular occurrences. Three characteristic dance figures of the Quickstep are the chassés, where the feet are brought together, the quarter turns, and the lock step. The tempo of Quickstep dance is rather brisk as it was developed to ragtime era jazz music which is fast-paced when compared to other dance music.
While in older times quickstep patterns were counted with “quick” (one beat) and “slow” (two beats) steps, many advanced patterns today are cued with split beats, such as “quick-and-quick-and-quick, quick, slow”, with there being further steps on the ‘and’s.
The Waltz was born out of dances such as the Weller, the Contradanse and the Volta. It was previously referred to as Slow Waltz or English Waltz. It is a waltz dance and danced to slow, preferably 28-30 bars per minute (84-90 beats per minute) waltz music. Preferably, the 1st beat of a measure to be accented. Most of the basic figures have 1 step per 1 beat, i.e., 3 steps per measure.
Advanced figures may have 4-6 steps per measure, and this, coupled with various turns, makes the dance very dynamic despite th relatively slow tempo. At the same time, advanced dancers often use slow steps and elegant poses to create contrast (sometimes referred to as “light and shade”).
The Tango is a ballroom dance that branched away from its original Argentine roots by allowing European, American, Hollywood, and competitive (a.k.a dancesport) influences into the style and execution of the dance. The present day ballroom tango is divided into two disciplines: American Style and International Style. Both styles are enjoyed as social and competitive dances, but the International version is more globally accepted as a competitive style.
Both styles share a closed dance position, but the American style allows its practitioners to separate from closed position to execute open moves, like underarm turns, alternate hand holds, dancing apart, and side-by-side choreography.
Rumba is the slowest of the five competitive International Latin dances: the paso doble, the samba, the cha-cha-cha and the jive being the others. The ballroom rumba was also danced in Cuba to a rhythm they call the bolero-son; the international style was derived from studies of dance in Cuba in the pre-revolutionary period.
Mambo is a Latin dance of Cuban origin that corresponds to mambo music. Mambo music was invented during the 1930s in Havana by Cachao and his contemporaries and made popular around the world by Perez Prado and Beny Moré. Mambo music developed from Danzón and was heavily influenced by the Jazz musicians that the Italian-American gangsters, who controlled Havana’s casinos, brought to entertain their American customers.
Cha-cha-cha may be either danced to authentic Cuban music, or Latin Pop or Latin Rock. The music for the international ballroom cha-cha-cha is energetic and with a steady beat. The Cuban cha-cha-chá is more sensual and may involve complex polyrhythms.
Styles of cha-cha-cha dance may differ in the place of the chasse in the rhythmical structure. The original Cuban and the ballroom cha-cha-cha count is “two, three, chachacha” or “four-and-one, two, three”. The dance does not start on the first beat of a bar, though it can start with a transfer of weight to the lead’s right. Nevertheless, many social dancers count “one, two, cha-cha-cha” and may find it difficult to make the adjustment to the “correct” timing of the dance.
Bolero is one of the five main competition dances. The first step is typically taken on the first beat, held during the second beat with two more steps falling on beats three and four. In competitive dance the music is in 4/4 time and will range between 96 to 104 bpm. This dance is quite different from the other American Rhythm dances in that it not only requires cuban motion but rises and falls such as found in waltz and contra body movement. Popular music for this dance style need not be latin in origin. Lists of music used in competitions for American Rhythm Bolero are available.
Salsa is a syncretic dance form with origins from Cuba as the original American meeting point of European and African cultures.
There are a few basic steps of salsa; the most common is the three weight changes (or steps) in each four-beat measure. The beat on which one does not step might contain a tap or kick, or weight transfer may simply continue with the actual step not occurring until the next beat. The option chosen depends upon individual choice and upon the specific style being danced. One of the steps is a “break step”: which involves a change in direction.
Merengue is a style of Latin American music and dance with a two-step beat.
Partners hold each other in a closed position. The leader holds the follower’s waist with the leader’s right hand, while holding the follower’s right hand with the leader’s left hand at the follower’s eye level. Partners bend their knees slightly left and right, thus making the hips move left and right. The hips of the leader and follower move in the same direction throughout the song. Partners may walk sideways or circle each other, in small steps. They can switch to an open position and do separate turns without letting go each other’s hands or momentarily releasing one hand. During these turns they may twist and tie their handhold into intricate pretzels.
Swing is a group of dances that developed concurrently with the swing style of jazz music.
Swing jazz features the syncopated timing associated with African American and West African music and dance — a combination of crotchets and quavers (quarter notes and eighth notes) that many swing dancers interpret as ‘triple steps’ and ‘steps’ — yet also introduces changes in the way these rhythms were played — a distinct delay or ‘relaxed’ approach to timing.
Today there are swing dance scenes in many countries throughout the world.
The Hustle is a catchall name for several disco dances which were extremely popular in the 1970s. Today it mostly refers to the unique partner dance done in ballrooms and nightclubs to disco music.
The couple dance form of hustle is usually called New York Hustle or Latin Hustle. It has some resemblance to, and steps in common with, swing and salsa dancing. As in the Latin dances, couples tend to move within a “spot” on the dance floor, as opposed to following a line of dance as in foxtrot, or as opposed to tracking within a slot as in West Coast Swing or LA Hustle.
West Coast Swing is a partner dance derived from Lindy Hop. It is characterized by a distinctive elastic look that results from its basic extension-compression technique of partner connection, and is danced primarily in a slotted area on the dance floor. The dance allows for both partners to improvise steps while dancing together, putting West Coast Swing in a short list of dances that put a premium on improvisation.
Typically the follower walks into new patterns traveling forward on counts “1” and “2” of each basic pattern, rather than rocking back. The Anchor Step is a common ending pattern of many West Coast Swing figures.