Tango developed in the working-class neighborhoods of Buenos Aires in the late 19th century, and was influenced both by African rhythms and Flamenco. In the early 20th century, Tango traveled to Europe, where it first became popular in high society in Paris, after which the dance also became accepted amongst upper-class Argentinians. Danced on a slightly bent knee, Argentine Tango is known for its varying tempo and fancy footwork. Dramatic, sultry and playful, the dance is marked by sharp staccato movements and dramatic poses. While it is crucial for the lead to be strong and confident, it is the only partner dance in which the lead must also 'listen' to the follow. While mastering this dance can take time, the drama and passion of Argentine Tango is exhilarating even for beginners. Prominent Argentine Tango musicians include Carlos Gardel, Juan D'Arienzo, Osvaldo Pugliese and Astor Piazzolla.
Bachata is a sensual dance which originated in the Dominican Republic in the 1960s, with themes of romance and heartbreak. It is performed on a slightly bent knee, with fluid hip motions. It can be danced in a close embrace, but, as the dance has evolved, complex combinations began to require more space between partners. Bachata now offers something for all levels and styles, as it has a fundamentally simple basic step with a constant, driving rhythm. Bachata is quickly becoming a popular Latin club dance. Prominent Bachata musicians include Raulin Rodriguez, Monchy & Alexandra, Prince Royce and Aventura.
Ballroom Bolero, while rooted in the original Cuban Bolero (which emerged in the late 19th century), has evolved into slower and more stylized dance. Modern Bolero is, essentially, a slower version of Rumba, and is mostly performed as a competitive American Rhythm ballroom dance. Its most recognizable features are Cuban motion and rise and fall. Bolero is a good dance for showcasing, or for those who would like to expand upon their knowledge of Rumba. Bolero music is frequently performed by orchestras, who adapt various songs to ballroom Bolero rhythms.
Cha Cha started as a slower version of the Mambo in the 1950s, and supposedly takes its name from the sound that the dancers' shoes made as they shuffled across the floor. Cha Cha was the first dance to make Latin dancing popular in the United States, and it has remained a favorite for decades. It is jazzy, upbeat and sexy, and is characterized by fluid, yet sharp, Cuban hip motion. Cha Cha is popular partly because of its versatility, as it can be danced to popular music as well as to traditional Latin music, and also because of its fun, syncopated rhythms. The energetic nature of the dance also makes it a great workout. Cha Cha music falls into three main categories: traditional tropical Latin, such as that performed by the orchestras of Ramon Marquez, America and Aragon; Latin jazz, including Santana and Andy Fortuna; and pop, including Michael Jackson and The Pussycat Dolls.
Cumbia has its origin in late 17th century Colombian folk dances. When it became popular in Mexico, in the 1950s, it developed more partnering steps, and its characteristic 'flick kick' emerged. Cumbia is the most popular dance within the Latin community, as well as one of the essential Latin club dances. It is sometimes referred to as 'the Latin Swing.' The repetitive nature of the dance makes it engaging and fun, and makes it easy to gain the confidence needed to try different combinations. Cumbia music falls into four categories: Peruvian Cumbia, tropical Cumbia, Tex-Mex Cumbia and Norteno Cumbia. Prominent Cumbia musicians include La Sonora Dinamita, Selena, Kumbia Kings, Sonora Tropicana and Grupo Kual.
Country Two Step
Country Two Step, also known as Texas Two Step, is an American dance that emerged in the mid-20th century, and is said to have evolved from the Foxtrot. It is a fun and easy traveling dance, and often involves multiple spins.
It is the fundamental country dance. Popular country musicians include Reba McEntire, Randy Travis and Brooks & Dunn.
Country Waltz is the oldest country dance still prevalent today, as it can be traced back to the folk dances that emerged in the 18th century. It is the easiest of the waltzes, and is a good choice for beginners who want to dance to traditional, smooth country music. Like all waltzes, it has a 'rise and fall' motion and a lilting movement. Like all country dances, it doesn't require much floor space, even though it is a traveling dance. Some well-recognized musicians who include country waltz in their repertoires are Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Kenny Rogers and Deana Carter.
Foxtrot emerged in the United States in the 1920s, and has remained popular ever since. It is named after vaudeville performer Harry Fox, who was the first person to dance this 'trot' in a closed position, with his partner on his arm.
The American Smooth version was popularized by Fred Astaire, whereas the slower International Standard version was developed in
England. Foxtrot is light-hearted and upbeat, yet smooth and elegant. It is a fundamental partner dance, as many of the patterns and alignments used in Foxtrot also appear in other dances. It can be danced at varying tempos, making it easy for dancers of all skill levels to move gracefully across the floor. Prominent foxtrot musicians include Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman, Dean Martin, Glenn Miller and Michael Buble.
Hip hop is a type of street dance which includes a wide range of styles, primarily breaking, locking and popping, which were created in the 1970s and made popular by dance crews in the United States. Hip hop is often improvisational, and hip hop dance crews often engage in freestyle dance competitions, colloquially referred to as 'battles.' Hip hop includes body isolation movements, and can help dancers to improvise in social dance situations. Because it is not a partner dance, it can be a good place to start in order to improve coordination, musicality and fitness.
Hustle is a disco dance that emerged in the 1970s, and has maintained popularity largely due to the movie Saturday Night Fever.
John Travolta's portrayal of partner dancing glamorized American
discotheques, with their flashing lights, mirror balls and loud
throbbing beats. Hustle is fast, snappy and upbeat, and is punctuated by
linear flares. As Hustle is derived from Swing, it is perfect for Swing
dancers who would like to learn a jazzier style of dance. Popular
Hustle musicians include the Bee Gees, ABBA, Whitney Houston, Heatwave
Jive, a dance named after the expression which meant glib or foolish talk, originated in the United States during the 1930s. It was taken to England during the Second World War, where it remained popular, and was transformed into the fast, precise dance it is today. Jive is the competitive version of East Coast Triple Step Swing (Jitterbug). It is a very high-energy, bouncy dance that involves a lot of kicks. Jive can be danced to any fast-paced East Coast Swing music, such as that performed by Chick Webb and His Orchestra, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Benny Goodman and His Orchestra and Elvis Presley.
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