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Types of Ballroom Dancing

Waltz

The Waltz is a soft, gentle, elegant, and romantic dance that uses flowing movements to make the dancers appear to float across the dance floor. The basic movement is a three-step sequence that consists of a step forward or backward, a step to the side, and then a step to close the feet together. The Waltz is a progressive dance, moving counter clock wise around the dance floor. The movement of Waltz is characterized by the use of sway, rise, and fall.

Foxtrot

The Foxtrot is a fun social dance that has grace and beauty in every step. This dance moves rapidly across the dance floor, enticing the dancers and those watching to smile away. It uses a combination of slow steps, which use two beats of music, and quick steps, which use one beat of music. The footwork timing is usually called out as "slow, quick, quick" or "slow, slow, quick, quick". Foxtrot like other smooth dances that travel along a line of dance in a counterclockwise fashion around the ballroom floor.

Tango

The Tango is characterized by stunning, sharp head-turns, and sharp staccato placement. Today, there are three main styles of Tango, the American ballroom style, the International ballroom style, and the Argentine style. Both American and International style travel around the ballroom following the line of dance. The Argentine style is usually danced in a close embrace, and the Argentine style involves intricate foot and leg actions. The American Tango 8-count basic step is a combination of two slow walks and a "Tango Close." The five steps are counted as "slow, slow, quick, quick, slow," resulting in a total of 8 counts.

Cha Cha

The Cha Cha is a happy, energetic, carefree, and party dance. It may be either danced to authentic Cuban music, or Latin Pop or Latin Rock. Popular mainstream artists such as Santana, Marc Anthony, and Jennifer Lopez are putting out great Cha Cha music. The ballroom Cha Cha count is "one, two, three, cha-cha-cha" or “one, two, three, four-and-one". In American Rhythm style, Latin hip movement is achieved through the alternate bending and straightening action of the knees.

Rumba

The Rumba is a slow, sensuous, romantic dance with much flirtation. Many basic figures of the dance have a "tease and run" theme in which the lady first flirts with and then rejects her partner. In American Rhythm style, Rumba is danced in a box-like basic figure. Rumba music is written in 4/4 time, with four beats to each measure. The music tempo is typically 104 to 108 beats per minute.

Samba

Samba is a quick paced Latin dance that takes a lot of energy and style! Lots of fun as it circles the dance floor!

Salsa

The Salsa is danced by stepping on 3 consecutive beats of music and then pausing for 1 beat, then repeating. The step timing can be thought of as "step, step, step, pause; step, step, step, pause". Dance teachers count the step timing as "quick, quick, slow; quick, quick, slow". Each quick consumes one beat of music, each slow consumes two beats of music. Another style of Salsa is the Cuban style, it is very popular in the South America. In the Cuban style, the full basic has two back breaks rather than a forward break step and a backward break step. The Cuban basic has a side to side feel rather than a forward and back feel.

East Coast Swing

The East Coast Swing is a circular, rotating swing dance that has many wraps, tunnels, and turns. This dance really lets it's dancers show their fun side! The basic step is "triple step, triple step, rock step". Swing music is written in 4/4 time with a tempo of 145-170 beats per minute. Since this is a quick dance, the steps should be small and light. This dance has lilt (bounce) and energy.

West Coast Swing

The West Coast Swing is danced in a slot (a linear pattern) to slower music (generally 110-130 beats per minute). It's a smooth, often sexy dance, and it does not have lilt and bounce. West Coast Swing dancers consider their dance to be "cooler," more chic, and more sophisticated than East Coast Swing.

Merengue

Dancing the Merengue is like marching where you step left right left right left right in time to the music. With one step taken to each beat of music. The music and the basic step may be counted: 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4. Counting to eight is also very popular. The music style is festive and happy and the music tempo is about 120 to 160 beats per minute.

Bachata

Bachata music has four beats per measure. Three steps are taken to four beats of music. The basic footwork pattern is three steps in one direction (side-close-side) and then a hip motion. Repeat going in the other direction. Some people call out the timing as "one, two, three, hip; one, two, three, hip."

Hustle

The Hustle is the perfect dance for dance-beat, nightclub music. The Hustle is characterized by fast moving patterns with many turns. Fancy arm styling and big presentation lines are also characteristic of the dance. The step timing may be counted “1, 2, &3”, “&1, 2, 3”, or “1, 2, 3, 4”.