In choosing what dance you want to learn, you might consider the following:
1. What music do you enjoy?
2. Where will you dance? (your wedding, private parties, out with your spouse, or public social events)
3. If you already dance, what other dance might be interesting to learn?
Monday night rotation of classes every 3 months (beginner & intermediate):
MERENGUE (taught during the same rotation as Bachata)
Merengue is a simple upbeat Latin dance with a regular even rhythm throughout.
This basic rhythm makes it an easier dance to learn for beginners.
It has a quick tempo with slow and fast turns for both partners.
Since the steps are easier, it allows the student to focus on how to lead/follow turns.
BACHATA (taught during the same rotation as Merengue)
Bachata is a Latin dance with a syncopated rhythm.
The dancer takes 3 steps followed by a hip lift to accentuate the 4th beat.
Like Merengue, it is also an easier dance to learn for beginners.
It has the same rhythm as Salsa. However the steps are easier, allowing the student to focus on learning the syncopated rhythm. The tempo is moderate and again both partners turn.
Foxtrot is a casual relaxed dance. Think Sinatra, Buble or Astaire for the music.
The music often has an easygoing feel to it. Often jazz music or standards suit Foxtrot.
The movements match this easygoing sound. It is easy to chat and dance Foxtrot.
Slow dancing will never fade as long as there are weddings and piano bars.
If you watch any classic movie where a couple is dancing and talking, they are usually doing Foxtrot.
Rumba is a slow Latin dance. It is a beautiful Latin dance with lyrical music.
I combine steps from various styles.: International, American, Son, Danzon.
The slow pace of Rumba makes it a good starting dance for students.
I think Waltz is the most elegant dance. The music often has a romantic quality.
I teach Waltz to a slow tempo, giving dancers a chance to enjoy the flow and shaping of the dance. The rhythm is 3/4 time: meaning 1,2,3 - 1,2,3
I combine steps from various styles: International, American, and Cross Step.
SAMBA (either Samba or Cha Cha taught during rotation)
Samba is a Brazilian dance. Like most of the Latin dances, it has a syncopated rhythm.
It travels around the floor and incorporates turns.
If you enjoy Brazilian rhythms, you will enjoy this dance.
The partner dance looks nothing like true Brazilian dancers!
The tempo and hip movements are much more tame than in Brazil!
CHA CHA (either Cha Cha or Samba taught during rotation)
Cha Cha originally came from Mambo dancing.
A quick little triple step is added to accentuates the Cha Cha Cha sound in the music.
Learning Mambo or Salsa first, will give you a head start on this dance.
NIGHTCLUB 2 STEP
Nightclub is danced to slower contemporary music.
The music has a soft, romantic feel to it. An example would be “The Lady in Red”.
I would categorize it as a slow dance, but there are plenty of turns for the woman.
A nice complement to swing dancing at a social event.
The rhythm for this dance is the same throughout, making it a little easier to learn.
Tuesday night ongoing dances:
SALSA (Intermediate level)
Salsa music is filled with percussion rhythms. Often when students hear it, they have difficulty finding the correct beat to dance on. We use a syncopated rhythm when dancing, holding the 4th and 8th count.
It is one of the more difficult Latin dances to learn, but well worth it. It is moderately fast and smooth and uses lots of turns for both partners. You can also add “Shine” steps (freestyle) to spice up the dance.
Some dancers emphasize the 1st beat with the rock or breaking step, while others accent the 2nd beat. I teach breaking on the 1st count initially. Breaking on the 2nd count is saved for more advanced level dancers.
ARGENTINE TANGO (Advanced beginner level)
Tango is traditionally danced to the music of the 1930’s and 40’s, but can also be danced to more contemporary “Electro Tango” music.
Either way, it is a slow traveling dance with lots of swirly movements and quick footwork.
Unique to Tango, is the freedom in the structure of the dance. There is no set rhythm or sequence of steps. This give maximum freedom to respond to the music.
It also makes it more challenging to lead and follow, since at any moment a change in direction or rhythm could occur!
There are still guidelines on how lead and follow. There are steps taught, but the variations are endless!
Tango is often danced in “close embrace”, where partners hold each other in a very close intimate position. This dance originated in the brothels of Argentina. Hence the closeness. However, it can easily be modified to be more appropriately danced with an acquaintance! I do not teach close embrace.
I incorporate Tango Walz (Vals) & Milonga in my Tango classes.
Saturday afternoon dances:
(During summer months moves to Monday nights)
WEST COAST SWING (Intermediate level)
West Coast Swing is often danced to R & B or Jazz music.
It tends to use a slower tempo, allowing for a variety of step patterns and changes in rhythm. It is also smoother than other more bouncy forms of Swing, such as Lindy.
This dance uses counterbalance with a partner, which give the dance an elastic or “sling shot” feeling, and creates an elongated or linear shape when dancing.
BALBOA & SINGLE TIME SWING (Advanced beginner level)
Balboa is another style of Swing dancing.
It works well with Single Time Lindy Swing, so I teach them together.
This dance has a little bounce to it. Get ready to move your feet!
If you enjoy jazz music with a faster tempo or the big band music of the 30’s and 40’s, you might try this dance. I also use contemporary music when teaching this dance.