GENERAL DANCE INFORMATION LINKS

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MOST POPULAR DANCES

 
FOXTROT

The Foxtrot was popularized by the vaudeville comedian named Harry Fox.  It was one of the most popular dances during the early 1900's when it was presented in the Ziegfield Follies.  The forerunners to the Foxtrot were dances like the Turkey Trot, the Castle Walk, and the One Step.  It was first refined to its present day style by Vernon and Irene Castle.  The Castle’s were credited with saving social dancing from extinction. There are two versions of the Foxtrot danced:  American and International.

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WALTZ
The Waltz is considered the "Mother" of all Ballroom Dances and has changed very little in over 100 years.  The earliest version of the Waltz was a group dance, with a very fast tempo.  The Waltz was introduced in the United States during the mid-1800's, but was not considered a dance for the cultured until the early 1900's.  Today it is not only a popular social dance, but is a tradition at weddings, anniversaries, and other special events.  There are two versions of the Waltz danced:  American and International.

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TANGO

The Tango is believed to have originated in an Asian town called Tang-Ho, it was brought to Spain and then to Argentina by traveling Gypsies.  It was introduced into the society scene in Paris, during the mid-1800's, where it became an international sensation.  The Tango found it's way into American's hearts in the early 1900's with the fame of Rudolf Valentino.  It is passionate, exciting and very dramatic. There are three versions of the Tango dance:  American, Argentine, and International.

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QUICKSTEP
The Quickstep was first danced in the 1920's, and was derived from a combination of the Peabody and the Two-Step.  The Two-step used bold marching cadences with a very patriotic flavor which  very quickly popularized the dance in America.  The rhythms invite a fast, fun and care-free interpretation.   Although the patterns are danced in closed position in the body of the routine, entrance and exit show material utilizes many of the steps popularized in the Charleston. The  Quickstep is an International Dance but is also danced socially by more advanced dancers. 

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SWINGS

The Swing is truly an American dance.  It first appeared in the 1920's in commemoration of Lindbergh's solo flight across the ocean.  During the 1930's it was part of the Swing era and was known as the Jitterbug and took on a very acrobatic appearance.  The American GIs introduced the swing to the European stage.  The English adapted the Jive from the Swing, and it is danced today to very fast music.

There are many forms of the Swing popular in today's dance world, depending on the style and speed of the music and where the dance locale is.  Single Swing or Jitterbug fits fast rock and top 40 music, but is still a favorite with Big Band dancers.  The International Jive fits a similar speed but utilizes different techniques and leg actions.  The Triple Swing works with slower rock, top 40 and Big Band music.  The West Coast Swing is slower and more specialized and fits slow rock and country.  The Shag is a variation of the Swing and is danced primarily to beach music.  There are two versions of the Swing danced:  American style with the Swing and International with the Jive.

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HUSTLE
The Hustle, like the Swing is truly an American dance, but a modern invention.  It first appeared on the dance scene in the late-1970,s and maintained popularity until the late 1980's.  Saturday Night Fever, staring John Travolta kicked off the "touch" dance craze that launched the dance program Dance Fever, the 1970's dance version of the American Idol.  The Hustle came in many forms at the height of the craze and became more than a dance but a way of life and a style.  The Hustle is an American style dance only.

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RUMBA
Rumba is the dance of love and has the flavor of the Latin tropics.  The Rumba is the "Mother" of all Latin Dances.  The Rumba is thought to have originated in Cuba, 400 hundred years ago with the African slaves.  The earliest forms of the dance was a pantomime by the natives under the spell of elemental music (rhythms).  The Rumba became popular in the late 1920's and has remained popular ever since.  The Rumba is the most important dance for developing controlled, slow hip action.  Some music is soft and subtle and some has a more rhythmical ticking action which determines the Latin action expressed.  There are two versions of the Rumba danced:  American and International.

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BOLERO

There is some controversy as to the earliest appearance of the Bolero.  Some historians trace it back to Spain and others trace it back to France.  It appears to have been danced as a Spanish folk dance during the 19th century, to 3/4 time music.

The American Bolero is danced to a much slower tempo than either of the other two Rumbas.  It is a little softer and flowing, with the use of a Rise & Fall action and a more subtle hip movement.  There are two different schools of thought.  One uses more rise and fall, the other uses more contra body movement.  A combination of the two may also be danced.  A lot is determined by the music and the rhythmical expression of the dancers themselves. The Bolero, like the Rumba, is considered one of the Cuban courtship dances.  The sensual, flirtatious play can be quite intoxicating.  The Bolero is the dance of love.  The Bolero is an American style dance only.

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MERENGUE
Both Haiti and the Dominican Republic lay claim to the origin of the Merengue.  The influence of the African slaves and the Spanish Indians give the music both a Latin and a primitive feeling.  There are two main styles; the Dominican "Lame Duck" style said to have developed out of sympathy for a ruler's limp, and a more Cuban style.  The music has a similar sound to the Samba, with less roll.  It is also considered a fun, festive dance and is probably the most popular dance danced all over the Latin countries.  It is also the “cruise” dance.  The Merengue is essential to learning the techniques in all of the other Latin dances.  Correct foot, leg, hip and rib-cage action using a simple 4/4 beat makes more intricate rhythms easier.  The Merengue is an American style dance only.

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MAMBO / SALSA

The Mambo originated in Cuba during the 1940's from the “Danzon”.  The dance very quickly took hold in the United States and has become one of the most popular Latin American dances.  The fusion of the Latin and the jazz music with an African flare created a whole new rhythm for expression.  Latin dance bands like, Xavier Cugat, and Perez Prado were instrumental to creating the Mambo mania of the 40's.

The Salsa is very similar but rocking or “breaking” actions are danced on the 1-2 or 3-4, where Mambo dancers break on the 2-3.  The Salsa is becoming a very popular club dance and is even finding its way into the competition scene.  It is danced smaller and the use of more intricate “double arm” moves are incorporated into the dance.  Salsa clubs are opening all over the US with a larger Latin population.  All of the steps from the Mambo can be incorporated into the Salsa.  Both the Mambo and the Salsa are American style only.

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CHA CHA

The Cha Cha originated in the 1950's as an off shoot of the Mambo and became the "Triple Mambo".  It is thought to have originated in Cuba, and is the most popular of all of the Latin-American dances.  The Cha Cha has a very distinctive melodic and staccato sound and has dominated the top 40 and pop rhythms for the past 40 to 50 years.  The music rivals the popularity of the swing sounds.  Every decade has it’s own distinctive hits and most of those lend themselves to the Cha Cha rhythm.  It is danced in Discos or Night Clubs, Country Clubs, Studios, as well as, one of the popular competitive dances. The Cha Cha is a strong and rhythmical dance, with tight hip actions and ribcage isolations.  It’s a very playful dance with great partnership and solo elements.  One of the most popular and exciting of the Latin or Rhythm styles of dance.  There are two versions of the Cha Cha danced:  American and International.

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SAMBA

The Samba is a festive, celebration dance, danced in Rio de Janeiro during the Carnival.  The Dance was originally performed by African slaves and was introduced into the United States at the 1939 New York World's Fair.  The Samba music has both a festive flare and a very pulsing, provocative, primal feeling.  With the merging of the Brazilian and African cultures the Samba has become one of the most exciting dances.  It was popularized by the actress/dancer Carmen Miranda as she danced on the stage with a fruit bowl on her head.  There are two versions of the Samba danced:  American and International.

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PASO DOBLE

The Paso Doble is the most dramatic and exciting of the Latin Dances danced in competitions.  The Paso Doble is rarely danced as a social dance. 

It is the Depiction of a Bull Fight.  The man is the matador in the bullring.  The lady represents his cape and her patterns depict the movement of the cape as the bull passes.  The strong, proud stance by the man should be maintained at all times. 

More about the Paso..
 

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