Salsa is a popular and versatile social dance which has roots in many different Latin American cultures. Its a peppery version of the Mambo laced with steps from other Latin dances. The Salsa is performed to a fiery, faster tempo. Some call it a form of Latinized Rock and Roll. It’s high-energy and all fun.
Created in 1912 by Harry Fox, the Fox Trot was the first dance that permitted people to hold each other closer than arm’s length. If you think the term “dirty dancing” was a product of the 80s, think again. The Fox Trot was the first to be tagged “indecent behavior”. Today it’s still the most popular of all social dances.
First known as the Lindy (in honor of Charles Lindberg and his historic hop across the Atlantic), this perennially popular dance emerged in the late 1920′s. lt combined steps from the Black Bottom; it was also the Bop and Push, the Hustle and Boot Scoot, Shag, Charleston and Hop. During the war years it re-emerged on the East Coast as the Jitterbug-jive and on the West Coast as Swing. You can Rock & Roll with Swing.
An offshoot of the Mambo, the Cha Cha (originally the cha-cha-cha) evolved out of popular movement in slow-tempo Mambo called the Triple Mambo. By 1954 it had evolved into a dance all its own. It’s a must style to know, the all time favorite latin dance.
A street Festival dance that originated in Brazil, the Samba was introduced to the United States in the late 1920′s in a Broadway play called “Street Carnival.” Wildly popularized by abc's hit show "Dancing with the Stars", this dance is a fun latin dance that also provides a terrific workout.
Rudolph Valentino single-handedly danced this Latin import into nationwide popularity beginning in 1910. Although widely believed to have originated in Argentina, it actually may have come from Spain. It’s dramatic, exciting and known as the Dancer’s Dance. The Tango with all its staccato movements, greatly improves a man’s lead or a woman’s ability to follow (respond) and develops a strong sense of feeling for music.
This “mother of all dances” originated in Italy in the 1600′s as a round dance called the Volte. It arrived in America in the early 1800′s and was the first social dance in which a woman was actually held in a man’s arms. Learning to Waltz is elegant. The Waltz develops “graceful movement” and “poise”. Every wedding reception, social “black-tie” formal and holiday party includes Waltz steps.
A kind of dancing more than a specific dance, Disco has strong roots in Swing, Samba, Cha-Cha, Mambo, Merengue, Fox Trot and Tango. The most popular version, the Hustle (of “Saturday Night Fever” fame), is believed to have originated in New York in 1970. This free form style is still one of the most popular at all night clubs and socials.
Considered too scandalous when it was introduced to the United States in 1941, the Merengue went into eclipse until 1957 when Xavier Cugat resurrected it. Its point of origin is uncertain; both Haiti and the Dominican Republic claim it, and it contains elements of both cultures. It’s fun and exciting.
The Rumba is an ever increasingly popular romantic Latin dance dating back some 400 years ago, and is better known as the Latin get acquainted dance or the dance with the wiggle. The Rumba sometimes substitutes for those in-between tempos and features a subtle or relaxed (lateral) hip motion and Latin styling. Rumba hip movements are used in most of the popular Latin dances as well as the free-style of disco and nightclub dancing.
Night-Club Two Step
Northern California's very own dance, initially developed b Buddy Schwimmer in the mid-1960s. The dance is also known as "Two Step" and was "one of the most popular forms of contemporary social dance" as a Disco Couples Dance in 1978. It is frequently danced to mid-tempo ballads in 4/4 time that have a characteristic Quick-Quick-Slow beat. This dance is easy and versatile and is sure to be a favorite for decades to come.
The Bachata is a Latin dance with simple footwork and strong hip movement (think Step Step wiggle). The music is romantic in nature and therefore the music reflects the story of love and heartbreak. Bachata steps include many optional turns for the follow. The music of Bachata is the root of the dance. The music can be referred to as Latin Blues music.
Zouk is a partner dance known for its Romantic, expressive, fluid movements. Zouk has spread from its birthplace in Brazil to all over the world and is a popular nightclub dance. Brazilian Zouk combines movements from Bolero, Lambada and Samba de Gafiera into many of the steps and patterns. When you watch Zouk you will see the characteristic movements such as body sway, gentle flipping of the hair, waiving of the upper body and soft steps on the beat. Todays intimate style of Zouk is danced to slower contemporary music with a specific Zouk beat.