Ballroom & Latin Dances

Here are some short snaps of information about the 10 Ballroom & Latin dances. Surrey BLDC offers the chance to learn all of these dances throughout year, so no matter which one is your favourite, you'll have the chance to learn it.

Modern Ballroom

 

Waltz

The romantic Waltz is one of the most popular ballroom dances of all time. Considered by some as the "mother of present day dances" and the "backbone dance" of the ballroom, the Waltz is the basis for many dances. Developed in Germany, it is popular all over the world. The Waltz is comprised of soft, round, flowing movements that travels around the line of dance. Characterized by its "rise and fall" action, the dance includes a step, slide, and step in 3/4 time. 

 

Tango

One of the most fascinating of all dances, the Tango is a sensual ballroom dance that originated in South America in the early twentieth century. Tango is usually performed by a man and a woman, expressing an element of romance in their synchronized movements. Originally, the Tango was performed only by women, but once it spread into Argentina, it developed into a dance for couples. The popularity of the Tango has greatly increased over the years. Several different styles of tango exist, each with its own individual flair. Most of the styles are danced in either open embrace, with the couple having space between their bodies, or in close embrace, where the couple is closely connected at either the chest or the hip area. Many people are familiar with "ballroom tango," characterized by strong, dramatic head snaps.

 

Viennese Waltz

The Viennese Waltz is the classic, original Waltz often featured in old films. The elegance and charm of the Viennese Waltz reminds us of glamorous balls in the palaces of Europe. A waltzing couple rotates around the floor, revolving gracefully around each other. The Viennese Waltz is a quick dance, much faster-paced than the classic, slow Waltz. This simplified social version is a beautiful, non-strenuous dance that dancers of all abilities can enjoy. 

 

Foxtrot

A beautiful, romantic dance, the Foxtrot is composed of fairly simple walking steps and side steps. The dance combines slow steps, which use two beats of music, and quick steps, which use one beat of music. The footwork timing is usually "slow, quick, quick" or "slow, slow, quick, quick." The Foxtrot must be danced very smoothly, with no jerking of the body. Timing and sway are also a very important components. As the Foxtrot is more challenging than other styles of dance, it is usually recommended to master the Waltz and Quickstep prior to attempting it.

 

Quickstep

The Quickstep is a fun and lively English style ballroom dance with fast movements, including a variety of hops, kicks, skips, lock steps, chasses and syncopated feet rhythms in time to fast-paced music. Although challenging to master and perform, the Quickstep is lots of fun to watch. Elegant, smooth and glamorous, Quickstep dancers are energetic whilst appearing extremely light on their feet. Like the Foxtrot, dancers should strive for elegance. Upper body posture must be straight and strong throughout each movement.

 

Latin American

 

Cha Cha Cha 

The Cha Cha is one of the most popular of the social Latin-American dances. Lively and flirtatious, the Cha Cha is full of passion, energy and is a vibrant, flamboyant and playful dance. The light and bubbly feel of the Cha Cha gives it a unique sense of fun for dancers throughout the world. The Cha Cha requires small steps and lots of hip motion (Cuban motion), as it is danced in 4/4 time. The fourth beat is split into two, giving it the characteristic 2,3,4 & 1 rhythm. Therefore, five steps are danced to four beats as in the "One, two, cha cha cha" rhythm.

 

Samba

Developed in Brazil during the 19th century, the Samba is considered the dance of celebration and joy at Carnival celebrations in Rio. Lively and rhythmical, there are many types of Samba dances, just like there are many types of Samba music. Ballroom partner Samba, one of the popular Latin dances in Ballroom competitions, is made up of many different South American dances mixed into one. In Brazil, a Samba dancer is known as a Sambista. Before Samba became a ballroom dance style, there were many styles of partner dances as well as solo Samba dances. As with the solo Samba, partner ballroom Samba has a quick beat that requires fast footwork. Over the years, the Samba has incorporated elaborate tricks, turns, and acrobatic feats into its basic set of figures. The main characteristics are rapid steps taken on quarter beats and a rocking, swaying motion of the dancers.

Paso Doble 

Paso Doble, or Pasodoble, is a lively dance modeled after the drama of the Spanish bullfight. Paso doble actually means "two-step." The Paso Doble is a theatrical Spanish dance. Traditionally, the man is characterized as the matador (bullfighter) and the lady as his cape in the drama of a Spanish bullfight. The dancers may choose to enact the role of the torero, picador, banderillero, bull, or Spanish dancer, and may change roles throughout the dance. Based on Flamenco dancing, the Paso Doble is both arrogant and passionate. The Paso Doble is performed more as a competition dance than as a social dance.

 

Rumba 

The Rumba is a dance that tells a story of love and passion between a strong, male lover and a coy, teasing woman. Full of sensual movements, the Rumba is considered by many to be the sexiest of the ballroom dances. "Rumba" is a term that refers to a variety of dances or a "dance party." This dance of love is one of the most popular ballroom dances and is seen around the world at nightclubs, parties, weddings, and dance competitions. The Rumba is a very slow, serious, romantic dance with flirtation between the partners. It is fun to watch, as many of its basic dance figures of the dance have a teasing theme in which the lady flirts with and then rejects her male partner, often with apparent sexual aggression. The Rumba spotlights the lady's rhythmic body movements and hip actions resulting in intense, almost steamy, scenes of passion.

 

Jive

Jive is one of the five International Latin dances. A lively, and uninhibited variation of Jitterbug, many of its basic patterns are similar to those of East Coast Swing. Jive and East Coast Swing share many figures, as well as the same music style and tempo. The basic look and feel of Jive is lots and lots of energy, with the legs portraying a pumping action. Both the East Coast Swing and basic Jive consist of two triple steps and a rock step. The Jive differs in that the count begins with the rock step, which is counted "1,2." The two triple steps are counted "3 and 4" and "5 and 6."

Affiliations

Surrey BLDC is a part of the University of Surrey Students' Union. Inter-varsity competitive activities are governed by University Dancesport (IVDA).

 

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