American Smooth dances are four dances from the “Ballroom” genre in which the couples separate to create beautiful open movements. This style originated with the show dances of the 20s to 40s and is becoming more recognized around the world. Blackpool, the world’s most prestigious competition event, now includes the Smooth category. We teach all the Smooth dances in our Intermediate Ballroom program. Each dance covers most of the Bronze syllabus over a six-week time period.
The Samba is a vibrant party dance which originated in the carnival atmosphere of South America. It’s bouncy and lively, danced to some of the top current pop chart hits. In the Samba you’ll see many musical patterns displayed, danced to a fast 2/4 beat. The primary characteristic of the Samba is the “Samba bounce,” a way of using the ankles and knees to create a sexy bouncing feeling while keeping the head at the same level.
The Cha Cha Cha is an energetic staccato dance that fits many of today’s top music chart hits, celebrating the tension of relationships between men and women. In the Cha Cha, you’ll see the man chasing the woman for her affections, as she decides whether she’s interested. The basic steps are quite easy to learn and utilize a triple-step known as the “Chasse.”
The Rumba is a slow, sensual dance of passion and love. A beautiful contrast to the Cha Cha, the Rumba represents a love story. This dance doesn’t take much floor space, is relatively easy to learn, and is characterized by holding the first beat of the music with little or no movement.
The Paso Doble is the dance of the bull fight where the man represents the matador and the lady his flowing cape. Very dramatic, and delightful to watch, the Paso moves counter-clockwise around the floor. Usually danced to a specific song known as the “Spanish Gypsy Dance,” we teach an actual routine for this dance in our Advanced group class program to make it easy for couples to dance it effectively.
The Jive is a fast, energetic party dance with its origins in the 1940’s. With a be-bop feeling, the music makes you want to get up and dance! Characterized by a fast “triple step” pattern, we start with an easy “Single Rhythm” step in the Beginner program because we’ve found that people pick it up much more quickly this way. We then introduce the triple step in the third week of the program. Most people find this a highly effective way to learn the dance.
The Waltz is a slow, romantic dance full of rotation and beauty. Dating back to the 1700’s, the Waltz is a staple of Ballroom dancing. It’s danced to a unique three-beat rhythm, while most of the other dances use four beat music. Although people are familiar with the idea of Waltz and think it’s easy, it’s actually one of the harder dances for beginners to learn because of the turns in both directions. We take three weeks to teach this dance in the Beginner program so that people have enough time to understand and master these turning actions.
The Tango is a passionate story of drive and submission. Fierce and fast-moving, the Tango is punctuated with staccato movements to provide beautiful accents. Originally from Argentina, it has a flavor of the battle between control and submission. There are different flavors of Tango, including American Style and Argentine Tango. We teach the International Style. It’s very easy to learn so we only apply a single lesson in the Beginner program.
The Viennese Waltz originated in the courts of Franz Joseph of Austria in the 1700’s. A turning dance which continually rotates around the floor, this dance looks best when performed by several couples at the same time, with the ball gowns flowing gracefully around the floor with coordinated movement. The simple step patterns allow many couples to share the floor at once. Because of the faster speed of the music, most people think of this as a fast dance. But when danced properly it’s actually quite slow. While there are only three primary steps, they require some technical understanding so we only teach this in the Advanced program.
There are different kinds of Foxtrot. The Slow Foxtrot is an elegant dance showing controlled movement against the world’s most beautiful music. Considered a “dancers” dance because it is so difficult to master, it is often thought of by audiences as “beautiful walking” because of its representation of a couple strolling together on a moonlit night. An easy-to-learn version of the Foxtrot is the “Social Foxtrot” (also known as Rhythm Foxtrot). This was designed to be easy, so we include it in our Beginner program. We move up to the Slow Foxtrot in the Intermediate program with a special six-lesson series.
The Quickstep is a lively dance that evolved from the Charleston. It is the most energetic of the Standard dances, but that leads to common errors in which couples get caught up in the speed, resulting in a loss of control. When dancers focus on the “slow” parts of each step pattern this dance can be beautifully controlled and highly enjoyable. We emphasize this in our group class training so that participants are able to look and feel great on the dance floor.
Salsa is a fast, sexy dance that isn’t one of the traditional ten “International Style” dances. Although sometimes danced in competition, no step patterns were written down and shared around the world for Salsa as was done for the other ten competitive dances. This has led to multiple styles of Salsa that can vary widely depending on geographic location. We teach a simple “LA Style” version of Salsa in our Beginner program to give people enough steps to get started with Salsa and to feel comfortable in a social dance setting when Salsa music is played.