Latin

Latin / Rhythm Dances

  RUMBA

Music
A Rumba is generally considered to be a medium-tempo 4/4 Latin ballad, although the American style Rumba tends to be slightly more upbeat and rhythmical, at a tempo of 32-36 mesures per minute. The Latin percussion section punctuates the music with syncopated accents, while bass, guitar and piano keep a steady beat and fill in the harmony. A singer or instrumental soloist usually takes the melody.

American style Rumba is danced to a variety of musical genre from the most traditional of Latin sounds to modern day pop hits

Movement Footwork:

Steps in all directions should be taken first with the ball of the foot in contact with the floor, and then with the heel lowering when the weight is fully transferred. When weight is released from a foot, the heel should release first, allowing the toe to maintain contact with the floor. Hip Movement: Latin Hip movement is achieved through the alternate bending and straightening action of the knees. In the International Latin style, the weighted leg should be straight. The free leg will bend, allowing the hips to naturally settle into the direction of the weighted leg. As a step is taken, a free leg will straighten the instant before it receives weight. It should then remain straight until it is completely free of weight again.

Dance Position:

When dancing Latin, stand upright with weight held forward towards the balls of the feet. The basic Latin hold is compact, with partners standing slightly apart. The lady’s right hand and man’s left hand are joined in an upper-hand clasp at approximately the lady’s eye level. The man’s right hand is placed on the lady’s shoulder blade, with the lady’s left arm resting easily on his right. The resulting dance “frame” should be sturdy and well connected.

 

  Cha-Cha-Cha 


Cha Cha is a rhythmical Latin dance which originated in the 1940’s as a modified form of Mambo. It’s fun, energetic, sexy and flirtatious, easily distinguished from other dances by its addictive “Step, Step, Cha Cha Cha” rhythm.

History:

Music Cha Cha is either danced to authentic Latin music, or more contemporary Latin Pop or Rock. The music is energetic and with a steady beat.

Movement Footwork:

Steps in all directions should be taken first with the ball of the foot in contact with the floor, and then with the heel lowering when the weight is fully transferred. When weight is released from a foot, the heel should release first, allowing the toe to maintain contact with the floor. Hip Movement: Latin Hip movement is achieved through the alternate bending and straightening action of the knees. In the International Latin style, the weighted leg should be straight. The free leg will bend, allowing the hips to naturally settle into the direction of the weighted leg. As a step is taken, a free leg will straighten the instant before it receives weight. It should then remain straight until it is completely free of weight again.

Dance Position:

When dancing Latin, stand upright with weight held forward towards the balls of the feet. The basic Latin hold is compact, with partners standing slightly apart. The lady’s right hand and man’s left hand are joined in an upper-hand clasp at approximately the lady’s eye level. The man’s right hand is placed on the lady’s shoulder blade, with the lady’s left arm resting easily on his right. The resulting dance “frame” should be sturdy and well connected.

  Salsa

Salsa is taking the world by storm! The richness of the Latin rhythms are intoxicating. The simplicity – and the opportunity for endless creativity and complexity – of the dance will keep this dance alive forever. Also, the presence of a culture whose children grow up immersed in the rhythms… Salsa literally means “sauce” in Spanish. There are several stories about where the name Salsa comes from. Some say that a DJ in the 60’s used to the word to describe music that was hot!, some say that the first use of the term was by Fania records in the 1970’s to promote their Latin artists. Cubans say that Salsa encompasses all the popular dances and music; Son, ChaChaCha, Mambo, etc. Salsa is an evolution of these rhythms, a playful mixture of all of these rhythms – a blending of African rhythms, Spanish melody, and island heat. We prefer to dance the Cuban style of Salsa; we find the music richer, more layered and textured than much of the modern salsa music (although there is good stuff coming out of Peru, Colombia, New York, LA, and many other spots these days). The Cuban style of dancing Salsa is smoother, more circular, and less flashy than other styles.

 

Swing

It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing. Swing is an authentic American art form. Born in Harlem to its parent the Charleston, the term Swing originally referred to the music. Swing commonly refers to hanging back, being a little behind the beat. You can hang behind the beat and really be there with the music, or you can jump it and race on ahead. We are lucky to have some of the original Savoy dancers around, and teaching, today. Frankie Manning is the most notable… now 87 and still leaving us all in the dust. Swing dancing emerged in Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom, a ballroom that took up a full city block, back in the 1930’s, from some teens who wanted to swing out and play with the dance, who wanted to improvise with the dance as their buddies with the instruments were doing on stage. These teens kept one upping each other, and out of their competitions and play were created aerials, jazz footwork, and choreography that is still widely danced today. Swing went on to take the world by storm, and it evolved into many different styles.

Basic swing done in 6 counts is most often referred to as East Coast Swing, while the style of dance done at the Savoy was in 8 counts, or in a mixture of 6 & 8 counts, and was called Lindy Hop. Hollywood style was created by Dean Collins who took his own style to Hollywood in the 1940’s & 50’s.

 

  Merengue

is a Club dance that is done to really fast Latin music. It consists of very simple steps organized into sets of 8, and features a characteristic hip swing and graceful arm flourishes.

 

Samba

is super sexy with a pulsing “1 a-2” beat and fluid hip action. American Samba features simpler figures than International Samba, but the same music and technique.

 

 Bolero

is a very slow relative of Rumba. It is swooping and graceful, making it a bit reminiscent of Smooth dances.

 

    Hustle

The name Hustle was originally a Line dance of the same name. The couples dance that was to later steal the name when the movie “Saturday Night Fever” hit the scene was a mixture of Latin and Swing, mixed to the new modern Disco beat. No one knew what to call it and it had many different names across the country in the early 1970’s such as “disco swing.”

The couples Hustle is said to have come from Florida with the Cubans, with a mix of salsa, swing and the new disco beat would make its way to the eastern states, such as New York. This New “Disco Beat” was a continuos beat that would “Thump-Thump” instead of “Tick-Tock ,” this thump-thump was a “Tick-Tock,” but not as accented (a continuous pulse rather than alternating pulse) which would make it appear as if each beat was the same. This would make it easy for the DJ’s to keep the music going by mixing one song right into another without stopping the music, and the “beginning dancers” did not have to worry about their timing as near as much.

The most popular count for the Hustle across the country is: “and1—-2—-3″ (harder to start for a beginner.) ~ Some folks count it backwards as:”1—-2and3” (easier to start for a beginner.)

Some count it as a six count: and1—-2—-3and4—-5—-6.” (which any of these counts work just fine and you should get familiar with them all).

For the followers to tell which one the Leader will do is simple: ~ If he pushes you backward to start its: “And1-2-3”, or “ball-change—-walk—-walk.” ~ If he moves you forward or walks into you its: “1—-2and3” or “walk—-walk-ball-change.”

 

     BACHATA

Bachata is a form of music that emerged in the early 1960s as romantic guitar music, which is different from dancing guitar music. With time, Bachata’s rhythm was accelerated and a new dance step was initiated and thus, Bachata began to be classified as dance music.
Latin American Spanish dictionaries define Bachata as fun and merriment; however, in Dominican Republic, which is the place of its origin, Bachata refers to get-togethers that include food and music. Since these parties played guitars, the guitar-based music of this time became to be known as Bachata.

 

    WEST COST SWING

West Coast Swing is smooth & funky and hot and cool all at the same time. It combines the sensuality of lead/follow in partnership dancing with the individuality that allows playfulness and creativity. It can be danced to blues, hip hop, country, almost any type of slower music.

 

Country Two Step

The Two Step is a fast traveling dance with many turns.

The basic step is similar to an ordinary walking step, but the the footwork timing is quick, quick, slow, slow.

In the Two Step, dancers move counter-clockwise around the perimeter of the dance floor.

 

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