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Dances - Ballroom and Latin American

BALLROOM and LATIN AMERICAN DANCES

DanceAway teach a selection of different types of BALLROOM and LATIN AMERICAN DANCES.

WALTZ

The WALTZ has been around for almost 500 years, evolving over time into what is now a very elegant and graceful dance, and is a smooth progressive dance characterised by long, flowing movements, continuous turns, and the feet rise and fall.

The Waltz should be like gliding around the floor almost effortlessly, with a partner. The tempo of music is slow, but powerful and dynamic movements, like underarm turns and spins, can be made to express the piece of music being used. It is a great way to begin learning ballroom dancing, and is a very sociable dance.

QUICKSTEP

The QUICKSTEP evolved in New York during the 1920's, originating from a mixture of the Foxtrot, Charleston, Onestep, and some other dance moves at the time. It is a light hearted dance, using a fast and flowing tempo, with upbeat melodies. An elegant dance which should be smooth and glamourous, using the head and arms, with dancers appearing to be light on their feet. Within the Quickstep there are three characteristic movements; the chasse, quarter turn and the lock step, and additional moves include hops, runs, and 'quick steps' with a lot of momentum and rotation.

FOXTROT

The FOXTROT was developed around 1910 and is a smooth, progressive dance characterised by long, continuous flowing movements across the dance floor. Originally it was danced to ragtime music, but is now usually danced to big band music. Very similar to the waltz in look, the rhythm of the Foxtrot is slow, quick, quick, slow, using the tempo of the music. A very elegant dance, but one to master when confident in other general ballroom and latin dances.

CHA-CHA-CHA

CHA-CHA-CHA (CHA-CHA) is a very popular dance, especially for children, as it is danced to 'latin', typically cuban music, from where it originated in the 1950's. It has a steady beat, and includes hip movements to accentuate the beat and rhythm of the music. Danced with a partner, with turns and other variations, the steps are kept quite small in order to keep in time with the music, and the momentum of the dance. A fun and light hearted dance, the steps can be picked up fairly easy, and is a great introduction to dances taught at DanceAway.

RUMBA

The RUMBA is a dance originating from Cuba around 1900; the spanish word rumbo meaning dance party or spree. In general steps are kept quite compact, the rumba is a rhythmic and very gentle dance, very similar to dance steps in the Cha Cha, except slower movements, as the beat of the music dictates the timing of the steps. The hips sway and some body movements should be quite pronounced. It is danced without the 'rise and fall' of the feet, which you will learn especially in the Waltz. The Rumba is a dance that tells a story of love and passion. It is a very popular competition dance.

JIVE

The JIVE is a dance style that originated in America during the 1930's. It is a very lively and fast dance originating from a combination of 'swing', a version of the Jitterbug, and a variation of early rock 'n' roll.'

It has lots of kicks (coming from the hip) and flicks (from the knee) and many distinct 'sharp' actions. One of the main features is the American Spin, where the girl/lady spins around on her own.

Since the 1990's, the modern form of the jive, has become a very happy and boppy dance.

The Jive is a non-progressive dance, meaning there is no progressive and moving around the floor, but generally uses the space around where you start the dance. It is very popular and energetic dance great to get the heart rate up and burn some calories.

SAMBA

The SAMBA is of Brazilian origin, created around the late 19th century, and is very lively and rhythmical. It is considered to be the dance of celebration and joy at the Rio carnivals in Brazil. Danced with a partner, the knees are bent one at a time with the feet moving very slightly, the basic movement is moving side to side, and stepping back and forth, keeping in time to the Samba rhythm, which can be average to very fast paced, depending on the music.

PASO DOBLE

The Paso Doble is from the Spanish word meaning two step. It is a lively dance and the sound, drama and movement is fiery and typically modelled from a bullfight. The music is usually the same tempo and same kind as that played in a Spanish or Portuguese bullring as the bullfighter enters the bullring. The dance mimics the movement of red cloak of the bullfighter as he swings it around to attract the bull. It is full of energy and power and the stamping of the feet, just like the bull's feet as he gets ready to charge. An interesting dance full of energy and enthusiasm.

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