Social Dance Styles

 

FOXTROT - Harry Fox, a vaudeville star of the Ragtime era is generally accepted as the initiator of the Foxtrot.  During this period, a completely new phase of dancing was born.  Partners danced closer together, ad-libbed to the music and found the new music exciting and exhilarating.

 

WALTZ - The German Landler, a folk dance, is supposed to be the forerunner of the Waltz.  When it was first introduced in the ballrooms of the world in the early 19th Century, it was met with outraged indignation, for it was the first dance where the couple danced in a closed position with the man's hand around the girl's waist.  Today, there is the slower American Style Waltz and the fast-tempoed Viennese Waltz.

 

LINDY-SWING - Jitterbug originated in the South of the United States.  The earliest forms of Jitterbug include the Charleston, Black Bottom, Shag and Lindy Hop.  In the 1940's these forms consolidated into what was called the Lindy because of the acrobatics involved.  Today, two distinct styles of Swing are in evidence, -the Eastern "Lindy" Style and the Western "Swing" Style.

 

WEST COAST SWING - West Coast Swing is a highly styled, slower-tempoed version of Swing danced enthusiastically in the Western U.S. and growing in popularity in the East.  This tight, compact, "slotted" way of moving, allows the man to "show-off" the girl on a small, crowded floor.

 

TANGO - The earliest traces of the Tango date back to the folk dances of Argentina.  Thought to have Moorish, Arabic and Spanish ancestry, it was an ancient Spanish song form adapted to the dance.  Later, the Argentinian Gauchos danced a version of the Tango in the cafes of Buenos Aires.  In its present styles, the beautiful Tango with its interesting, asymmetrical and sophisticated patterns enjoys undiminished popularity.

 

RUMBA - The Rumba, which began with the African slaves of Cuba more than 400 years ago, is that tantilizing rhythm that first invaded the U.S. in the 1930's.  The earliest form of the Rumba was an expressive pantomine danced under the spell of elemental music.  Our social Rumba is, of course, a far cry from these fascinating native demonstrations.  Dance properly, the Rumba is a delightful favorite characterized by a smooth, subtle hip motion and a rather heavy walking step.

 

CHA-CHA - The Cha-Cha derives its personality, character and rhythm from two major dance sources - its music is from the Mambo, its Triple Step and Breaks from the Lindy.  The tempo is slow and staccato, much like a sesnational blues number.  It is so much an "on the beat" dance that you can't help inject your own feeling into it.  This makes the dance fun for people of all stages and ages.

 

SAMBA - The Samba first became famous in Rio de Janeiro.  It is a serenade.  The rhythmic strumming of a stringed instrument continually interrupts the expressive melodic line which is then repeated.  The Samba is danced in a moderate to slow tempo in South America, but until very recently, the tempo in the United States was always fast.

 

MAMBO - The Latin dance band of Perez Prado recorded a song called "Mambo Jambo" and the Mambo mania was ON.  The explosive beat of the Mambo invaded popular music, and even classical themes have been set to its rhythm.  The dance characteristics of the Mambo include pelvic body movement and a strongly accented up-beat.

 

DISCO-HUSTLE - From the "Jitterbug" of the Forties through the "Twist" of the Sixties, the U.S. has led the world in developing dance styles.  The Dance is characterized by rhythmic movement.  Apart dancing, as well as traditional "Touch Dancing", are interspersed freely to personally interpet the music and rhythm, and show individual expression.

 

MERENGUE - Haiti and the Dominican Republic, long in competition for the tourist trade, are also rivals in a matter of honor, so to speak.  Each claims to be the country that originated the Merengue.  The Haitian story is that an early ruler had a lame son who liked to dance.  In order that the lad not feel self-conscious, the entire government set took to dancing as if they too were lame.  The Dominican story differs only slightly.  Their vision says the Merengue was born at a dance given for a great hero returning from the wars.  He got up to dance and limped on his wounded left leg.  Rather than embarass the hero, all others present followed suit.

© 2012 by Rhythm in Motion. No dancers were harmed in the making of this site.