Dances we teach

American Style Rhythm

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Cha Cha

The Cha Cha evolved from one of three versions of the Mambo, a dance born in Cuba and introduced to the west in 1947. The "Triple Mambo", one of those versions, became very popular in the early 1950's and was subsequently renamed the Cha Cha. As music always dictates the dance, the triple or split-beat steps were inserted when a slower version of Mambo music was being played.

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Rumba

The Rumba mostly evolved in Cuba in the 16th century with great influence from the African slaves. Although this Spanish/African mix is considered to be Cuban, versions of this dance were to be seen on other Caribbean islands and in Latin America generally. In the late 1920's, such Band Leaders as Xavier Cugat introduced the Rumba into the U.S.A. In the 1930's this dance became popular in London. This dance is built around the famous "Cuban Box", and features "Cuban Motion".

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Samba

Known to have originated in Brazil, and to this day exhibited in the street festivals and celebrations there, the Samba, a free spirited, festive dance, was made famous in the U.S. by the movies of Carmen Miranda in the late 1930's. This version, very unlike the original, has evolved into the American Style Samba of today. This dance has been greatly influenced by the music of the times. From the South American Bands of the 40's and 50's through the Ballroom Orchestras of the 60's, 70's and 80's to the Disco style music of the 90's, the Samba has continued to change and keep pace with the current musical styles.

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Mambo

The Mambo grew from the Danzon, a Cuban national dance, but not before serious influence by the Cuban Haitians, (in Haiti, a Mambo is a Voodoo Priestess) and American Jazz. The first known Mambo was presented in 1943 in Havana and many Latin American Orchestras of the time picked up and developed their own style. Just a few years later, it gained momentum and popularity in New York, and enjoyed a fairly long run of success. In more recent years, due to successful "Mambo" songs and movies, this dance has become popular once again.

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Merengue

The Merengue is the national dance of the Dominican Republic. That is the only fact that we have concerning its origin other than it was probably born in that country and/or Haiti, the neighboring island. There are many tales of its conception. Stories are told of a Dominican Republic soldier that was wounded in one leg and could only shuffle sideways with a pronounced limp. The others, not wishing to offend the hero, copied him out of sympathy. However it came to be, this dance was very popular in the Dominican Republic in the mid 1800's. It is not clear just when this dance was introduced into the U.S. but it has enjoyed constant success for many years.

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West Coast Swing

The West Coast Swing is directly related to East Coast Swing and was undoubtedly born due to the style of music being played in the 1940's, and the need for a dance that did not take up so much room. The West Coast Swing has evolved into a "Slot" dance that allows more dancers into a small area, but encourages more individuality from the participants.

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East Coast Swing

A true "American Dance", and a descendant of Lindy Hop and Jitterbug, this dance is also known as Triple Swing. It dates back to the 1920's where the black community discovered the Charleston and Lindy Hop while dancing to Jazz music. It followed the development of "Ragtime" and then "Swing" music. During World War II, the American Forces introduced this dance to Britain, together with the popular orchestras of the day, such as Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey and of course Glen Miller. Sometime after war's end, the faster version stayed in Europe and became known as the Jive. This dance continues to be popular with all age groups as music is available from all time eras.

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Bolero

Like so many dances that evolved from Cuba and the Caribbean, and having the same roots as the Rumba, the Bolero was a Spanish/African dance with a very slow Rumba style rhythm. Traditionally associated with romantic Spanish love songs, the Bolero is not only a sensuous dance of love, but also a style of love song very popular today especially in the Spanish speaking communities.

American Style Smooth

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Waltz

Slow or Modern Waltz -- The word "Waltz" originates from the German word "Waltzen'", meaning "to revolve." An offspring of the faster Viennese Waltz, this slower version known as the "Landler" became popular in Austria and Germany in the late 1700's. In America, a version known as the "Boston" became popular in the late 1800's. The present form of the dance was born around 1910 in England and was derived from both the "Landler" and the "Boston". The slower tempo allows more time for syncopations and picture steps, giving light and shade, and makes it more interesting to perform and watch.

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Tango

Originally a light spirited dance from Spain, the Tango became very popular in the slums and bordellos of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Spanish Tango, together with the African "Tangano'", a dance imported with the Negro slaves, and the "Habanera" from Havana in Cuba were merged in the late 1800's and became known as the "Milonga." In the early 1900's the "Tango" was demonstrated in Paris, then London and New York. Rudolph Valentino further popularized this dance in 1921 with the making of the movie "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse". Although evolving in a different direction in Europe and America, the Tango has remained a firm favorite.

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Foxtrot

The Foxtrot is one of the most deceiving dances as it looks very easy, but is one of the most difficult dances to do. The dance originated in the Victorian era as the "One Step" or "Two Step" It was later introduced as the "Castle Walk" by the American performers, Vernon and Irene Castle. Then, in 1913, a Vaudeville performer by the name of Harry Fox performed a little trot, which appealed to the social dance teachers in New York and thus the Foxtrot was born. It has gone through many changes since that time and is now comprised of more soft and fluid linear movements.

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Viennese Waltz

Although commonly believed to have originated in Austria in the early 1800's, it is known that a dance with similar characteristics was popular with French peasants in the mid 1500's. The dance was known at that time as the "Volta", (Italian for "the turn.") The dance as we know it, was immortalized in the 1800's by such composers as Joseph Lanner and Johann and Josef Strauss. In the middle of the 20th century, the German, Paul Krebs choreographed the Viennese Waltz style to which we dance today. The dance enjoys a great deal of popularity not only in Europe but also in America, and has been used in many Hollywood productions.

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Peabody

The Peabody resembles a fast Foxtrot. Legend has it that the Peabody was created by a portly police or fire chief -Captain Peabody - who was so overweight that he had to dance to the side of his partner, creating the style which is so characteristic of the Peabody. Its primarily a dance with long, gliding steps. Dancers use many intricate quick steps set against a figure called the "open box". It is popular in the larger ballrooms where dance space is not a serious problem.

International Style Standard

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Viennese Waltz

Although commonly believed to have originated in Austria in the early 1800's, it is known that a dance with similar characteristics was popular with French peasants in the mid 1500's. The Dance was known at that time as the 'Volta", (Italian for "the turn"). The dance as we know it, however, was immortalized in the 1800's by such composers as Joseph Lanner and Johann and Josef Strauss. In the middle of the 20th century, the German, Paul Krebs choreographed the Viennese Waltz style to which we dance today. The dance enjoys a great deal of popularity not only in Europe but also in America, and has been used in many Hollywood productions.

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Quickstep

The Quickstep or Fast Foxtrot, began as a quick version of Foxtrot. As music changed in the 20's with the introduction of "Ragtime" dances, (the Charleston, Shimmy and Black Bottom), so too did the dance. When Paul Whiteman and his band visited and performed in London in 1923, the faster Foxtrot then became known as the Quickstep.

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Tango

Originally a light spirited dance from Spain, the Tango became very popular in the slums and bordellos of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Spanish Tango, together with the African "Tangano", a dance imported with the Negro slaves, and the "Habanera" from Havana in Cuba were merged in the late 1800's and became known as the "Milonga". In the early 1900's the "Tango" was demonstrated in Paris then London and New York. Rudolph Valentino popularized this dance further in 1921 with the making of the movie "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse". Although evolving in a different direction in Europe, the Tango has remained a firm favorite.

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Foxtrot

The Foxtrot is one of the most deceiving dances as it looks very easy, but is one of the most difficult dances to do. The dance originated in the Victorian era as the "One Step" or "Two Step" It was later introduced as the "Castle Walk" by the American performers, Vernon and Irene Castle. Then, in 1913, a Vaudeville performer by the name of Harry Fox performed a little trot, which appealed to the social dance teachers in New York and thus the Foxtrot was born. It has gone through many changes since that time and is now comprised of more soft and fluid linear movements.

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Waltz

Slow or Modern Waltz -- (The word "Waltz" originates from the German word "Waltzen", meaning "to revolve"). An offspring of the faster Viennese Waltz, this slower version known as the "Landler" became popular in Austria and Germany in the late 1700's. In America, a version known as the "Boston” became popular in the late 1800's. The present form of the dance was born around 1910 in England and was derived from both the "Landler" and the "Boston". The slower tempo allows more time for syncopations and picture steps, giving light and shade, and makes it more interesting to perform and watch.

International Style Latin

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Jive

A true "American Dance”, the Jive started out in the southwest of the U.S.A. and ran through a variety of names such as "The Cake Walk”, “Turkey Trot”, "Bunny Hop", “Lindy Hop" and "Jitterbug". It followed the development of "Ragtime" and then "Swing" music, and to this day the American Style version of this dance is known as The Swing. During World War II, the American Forces brought this dance to Britain, together with the popular orchestras of the day such as Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey and of course Glen Miller. Sometime after war's end, the faster version stayed in Europe and became known as the Jive.

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Paso Doble

One of many folk dances associated with the Spanish way of life, the Paso Doble (Spanish for 'Two Step") is from Spain and is based on the Bullfight. The man portrays the part of the Matador and the lady the part of his cape. The style of music is a "march" or "two step", played during the procession that precedes the Bullfight. The survival of this dance is due to its popularity in Paris in the 1930's. This would account for many of the figures having French names.

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Rumba

The Rumba mostly evolved in Cuba in the 16th century with great influence from the African slaves. Although this Spanish/African mix is considered to be Cuban, versions of this dance were to be seen on other Caribbean islands and in Latin America generally. In the late 1920's, such Band Leaders as Xavier Cugat introduced the Rumba into the U.S.A. In the 1930's this dance became popular in London and was subsequently formalized into an officially recognized dance in 1955.

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Samba

Known to have originated in Brazil and to this day exhibited in the street festivals and celebrations there, the Samba, a free spirited, festive dance, was formalized and introduced into Europe in 1956. This version, very unlike the original, has evolved into the internationally accepted Samba of today. This dance has been greatly influenced by the music of the times. From the South American Bands of the 40's and 50's through the Ballroom Orchestras of the 60's, 70's and 80's to the Disco style music of the 90's, the Samba has continued to change and keep pace with the current musical styles.

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Cha Cha

The Cha Cha evolved from one of three versions of the Mambo, a dance born in Cuba and introduced to the west in 1947. The "Triple Mambo", one of those versions, became very popular in the early 1950's and was subsequently renamed the Cha Cha. As music always dictates the dance, the triple or split-beat steps were inserted when a slower version of Mambo music was being played. In 1952, visitors from England took this dance back to Europe and it has evolved, quite separately from the American version, into the International Cha Cha of today.

Social & Club Style

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Line Dancing

American Rhythm or Smooth dances in which dancers line up in a row without partners and follow a choreographed pattern of steps to music.

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Jitterbug

The jitterbug is a kind of dance popularized in the United States in the early 20th century, and is associated with various types of swing dances such as the Lindy Hop, jive, and East Coast Swing.

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Bachata

Bachata is a style of dance that originated in the Dominican Republic. It is danced widely all over the world but not identically. The basics to the dance are three-step with a Cuban hip motion, followed by a tap including a hip movement on the 4th beat.

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Night Club Two-Step

Nightclub Two Step (not to be confused with Country-Western Two-Step), is one of the most practical and versatile social dances ever conceived. It is designed to be used with contemporary soft rock ("Love Song" type music). This type of music is common just about everywhere: nightclubs, radio, etc. The rhythm of the dance is very simple and rarely changes from the 1 and 2 count. This simple romantic dance fills a gap where no other ballroom dance fits. It gives the dancer, either beginning or advanced, the opportunity to express and create without a rigid technique being required. It’s not too often that the origins of a new dance can be traced to a single individual. But that's precisely the case with Night Club Two Step, a dance created and popularized by renowned California teacher Buddy Schwimmer.

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Salsa

In this day and age "Salsa" is used as a general term to describe all the different styles and rhythms this music has to offer. Some say that dancing Mambo is the grandfather of the way we dance Salsa. However dancing Mambo is specifically breaking on 2, while dancing Salsa can be whatever timing you prefer to break on, "On 1", "On 2", or even "On 3 or 4". Besides the different styles of dancing Salsa (Cuban Style, NY Style, LA Style, Puerto Rican Style, etc.), it is the music and its history that gives us what is the sabor or flavor of how we dance Salsa today.

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Argentine Tango

Argentine Tango originated in the late 1800s in Buenos Aires, Argentina and was a fusion of the various ethnicities of the immigrants to Argentina including many Europeans and Africans. It was then considered a dance only of the impoverished and was not accepted by the upper classes until the famous Tango singer, Carlos Gardel, became a hit in Paris leading to the popularity of Argentine Tango in Europe as well as Buenos Aires. The "Golden Era" of Tango in the 1930s and '40s saw the dance halls of Buenos Aires overflowing with dancers but the onset of Buenos Aires. The "Golden Era" of Tango in the 1930s and '40s saw the dance halls of Buenos Aires overflowing with dancers but the onset of Rock and Roll caused Tango's popularity to wane and it wasn't until stage shows like Tango Argentine and Forever Tango began to tour the world in the late 1980s that Argentine Tango entered its latest phase of popularity. Today you can find communities of Argentine Tango dancers in every major city in the world.