What We Teach
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We teach all the popular Ballroom, Latin & Swing Dances. We cater to all levels & ages — from beginners to advanced. No partner necessary. Some students in our videos started only weeks ago.
Originally a Spanish dance in 3/4 time, it was changed in Cuba initially into 2/4 time then eventually into 4/4. It is now present as a very slow type of Rumba rhythm. The music is frequently arranged with Spanish vocals and a subtle percussion effect, usually implemented with Conga or Bongos.
From the less inhibited night clubs and dance halls the Mambo underwent subtle changes. It was triple mambo, and then peculiar scraping and shuffling sounds during the “tripling” produced the imitative sound of Cha Cha Cha. This then became a dance in itself. Mambo or triple Mambo or Cha Cha as it is now called, is but an advanced stage in interpretive social dancing born of the fusion of progressive American and Latin music.
Said by some to have been originated by Harry Fox (1913). It is now a standard ballroom dance the world over and serves as a good foundation for social dances in 2/4 or 4/4 time. NOTE: See also Two Step.
A number if similar style disco dances which had its beginning in the mid-70’s and enjoys some continuing popularity as a swing style today. The record “Do The Hustle” was followed by the movie “Saturday Night Fever.” The movie portrayal of partner dancing by John Travolta to the popular beat of top selling music from the Bee Gees and the introduction to America of the Discotheque setting, popular for some years in Europe, took America by storm. Flashing lights, mirrors everywhere, loud throbbing beat, and high fashion were in. Large numbers of popular Discos sprang up in every city and everyone was waiting in line to dance.
The fusion of Swing and Cuban music produced this fascinating rhythm and in turn created a new sensational dance. The Mambo could not have been conceived earlier since up until that time Cuba and the American Jazz were still not wedded. The Victor records of Anselmo Sacaras entitled “Mambo” in 1944 were probably the beginning and since then other Latin American bandleaders such as Tito Rodriguez, Pupi Campo, Tito Puente, Perez Prado, Machito and Xavier Cugat have achieved styling of their own and furthered the Mambo craze. The Mambo was originally played as any Rumba with a riff ending. It may be described as a riff or a Rumba with emphasis on the fourth beat 4/4′ time. Originally played by some musicians in 2/4 time with a break or emphasis on 2 and 4. Native Cubans or dancers, without any training would break on any beat.
Merengue was made the official music and dance of the Dominican Republic by Rafael Trujillo. Partners hold each other in a closed position. The man holds the woman’s waist with his right hand while keeping his left hand/her right hand at the woman’s eye level. The merengue is a two-step beat requiring both partners to bend their knees slightly left and right. This in turn makes the hips move left and right. When danced correctly, the hips of the man and woman will move in the same direction throughout the song. Partners may walk sideways or circle each other, in small steps.
The Rumba was originally a marriage dance. Many of its movements and actions which seem to have an erotic meaning are merely depictions of simple farm tasks. The shoeing of the mare, the climbing of a rope, the courtship of the rooster and the hen, etc. It was done for amusement on the farms by the black population of Cuba. However, it became a popular ballroom dance and was introduced in the United States about 1933. It was the Americanized version for the Cuban Son and Danzon. It is in 4/4 time. The characteristic feature is to take each step without initially placing the weight on that step. Steps are made with a slightly bent knee which, when straightened, causes the hips to sway from side to side in what has come to be known as “Cuban Motion.”
This is a favored name for a type of Latin music which, for the most part, has its roots in Cuban culture and is enhanced by jazz textures. The word, Salsa, means sauce denoting a “hot” flavor and is best distinguished from other Latin music styles by defining it as the New York sound developed by Puerto Rican musicians in New York. The dance structure is largely associated with mambo type patterns and has a particular feeling that is associated mainly with the Clave and the Montuno.
This Brazilian dance was first introduced in 1917 but was finally adopted by Brazilian society in 1930 as a ballroom dance. It is sometimes referred to as a Samba, Carioca, a Baion or a Batucado. The difference is mostly in the tempo played since the steps in all three dance are very similar. The style is to bounce steadily and smoothly in 2/4 meter. They say that the Samba was introduced in the United States in 1939 by the late Carmen Miranda.
An ever popular blend of several African American dances, which include Lindy and Ragtime Jazz and Blues, as well as all the other dance music to accompanying dances of the past ninety years. Today it generally refers to the ballroom and night club version which is based on two slow and two quick counts or the slow and two quick counts of rhythm dances.
There are essentially three types of Tango — Argentine, American and International Style. Argentine Tango: (arrabalero) A dance created by the Gauchos in Buenos Aires. It was actually an attempt on their part to imitate the Spanish dance except that they danced it in a closed ballroom position. The Tango caused a sensation and was soon to be seen the world over in a more subdued version. American Tango: Unlike the Argentine Tango, in which the dancer interprets the music spontaneously without any predetermined slows or quicks, the American Tango features a structure which is correlated to the musical phrasing. The dance is executed both in closed position and in various types of extravagant dance relationships which incorporate a particular freedom of expression that is not present in the International style. International Tango: This is a highly disciplined and distinctively structured form of the Tango which is accepted worldwide as the format for dance sport events. The dancers remain in traditional closed position throughout and expresses both legato and staccato aspects of the type of music appropriate to this style.
The Viennese Waltz is a rotary dance where the dancers are constantly turning either in a clockwise (natural) or anti-clockwise (reverse) direction interspersed with non-rotating change steps to switch between the direction of rotation. A true Viennese waltz consists only of turns and change steps. Other moves such as the fleckerls, American-style figures and side sway or underarm turns are modern inventions and are not normally danced at the annual balls in Vienna. Furthermore, in a properly danced Viennese Waltz, couples do not pass, but turn continuously left and right while traveling counterclockwise around the floor following each other.
The real origin of the Waltz is rather obscure, but a dance of turns and glides, leaping and stomping appeared in various parts of Europe at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th century. In Italy it was the Volta, France has its Volte, Germany the Weller and Austria had its Landler. These were round dances but at the end of the dance itself there was a short period in which the circle would break up into couples who would whirl madly round and round and finish with a jump in the air. In the Landler the hopping gave way more to a gliding motion and that is why it is considered the forerunner of the Waltz. The Waltz can be traced back as far as 400+ years. The Waltz regained its real popularity in the 20th century. The Waltz blossomed out as the Hesitation Waltz in 1913. Until the development of the hesitation, couples had waltzed in one direction until dizzy and then reversed until ready to drop. The Waltz had degenerated into an endurance contest. The Hesitation resulted in the Waltz it is done today. The slow Waltz was once known as the Boston Waltz. Today the slow Waltz is the American Waltz, English Waltz or just Waltz, and the faster is the Viennese Waltz.