|The ballroom dancing styles are Latin and the Standard. In the Latin style there are five dances: Samba, Rumba, Cha Cha, Paso Doble, and Jive. In the Standard style there are also five dances: Walts, Viennese Waltz, Tango, Fox-trot, and Quickstep.|
Samba originates from Brazil where it is a national dance. Many versions of the Samba -from Baion (pronounce: Bajao) to Marcha- are danced at the local carnaval in Rio. To achieve the true character of the Samba a dancer must give it a gay, flirtatious and exuberant interpretation. Many figures, used in the Samba today, require a pelvic tilt action. This action is difficult to accomplish, but without it the dance loses much of its effect.
Samba has a very specific rhytm, highlighted to its best by characteristic Brazilian musical instruments: originally called tamborim, chocalho, reco-reco and cabaca.
The Rumba originates from Cuba as a typical dance of a hot climate. It has become the classic of all the Latin American dances. In its present form many of the basic figures of the dance retain the age-old story of woman's attempt to dominate man by the use of her feminine charm. In a well choregrphed dance there will always be an element of "tease and run"; the man being lured and then rejected.
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" timing.
Paso Doble originates from Spain. It developed on the basis of movements performed by the matadors during the bull fights. In Paso Doble the man (matador) is in focus more than in any other dance. The lady is left with playing a role of a cape ("cappa") the red canvas of the torreador or a bull, depending on circumstances. The dance came into fashion around 1920.
Jive, brought over from America has been initially developed from a dance called "Jitterburg" by eliminating all its acrobatic elements and polishing the technique. The first description of Jive made by London dance teacher Victor Silvester was published in Europe in 1944. The Boogie, Rock & Roll and the American Swing also influenced this dance.
Jive is a very fast, energy-consuming dance. It is the last dance danced at the competitions, and dancers have to show that having dance four dances they are not tired yet and still ready to go hard at it.
Waltz is a smooth dance, traveling around the line of dance. It is characterized primarily by its rise & fall action, accompanied by leg and body swing. Turning movements in both directions are prevalent. Most basic or "Bronze" level movements involve the Chasse Turn action, where 3 steps are taken with the feet closing on the third step. The noted exception to this is the hesitation action, where only one step is taken on the first beat of the measure, while the remaining 2 beats are held.
The origins of Viennese Waltz are dated back to 12th/13th centuries and found in the dance called "Nachtanz". The Viennese waltz originally comes from Bavaria and used to be called the "German". However, other people question this origin of the Viennese waltz. An article which appeared in the Paris magazine "La Patrie"(THe Fatherland) on 17 January 1882, claimed that the waltz was first danced in Paris in 1178, not under the name waltz but as the Volta from the Provence. Presumably this is a dance in 3/4 rhythm, which the French regard as the forerunner of the Viennese waltz.
Tango was first danced in Europe before the World War I, in 36 bars per
minute tempo. It originates from Buenos Aires (Argentina) where it was
first danced in "Barria de Las Ranas", the ghetto of Buenos
Aires. It was then known under the name of "Baile con corte"
(dance with a rest). The "dandies" of Buenos Aires changed the
dance in two ways. First they changed the so-called "Polka rhythm"
into the "Habanere rhythm" and secondly they called it Tango.
Foxtrot, dance born in the twenties was named so after an American performer Harry Fox. Initially it was danced at 48 bars per minute tempo. The tempo issue led to the breakaway of Quickstep at about 50 to 52 bars per minute and the continued slowing down of pure Foxtrot to 32 bars per minute by the end of the twenties. At the end of World War I the slow-foxtrot consisted of: walks, three-steps, a slow walk and a sort of a spinturn. At the end of 1918 the wave arose, then known as the "jazz-roll". The American Morgan introduced a sort of open spinturn, the "Morgan-turn", in 1919. In 1920 Mr. G.K. Anderson introduced the feather step and the change of direction, figures you can not imagine today's foxtrot without. Thirties had become the golden age for this dance. That is when Foxtrot tunes became the standards of its tempo.
The great fascination of Foxtrot is the amazing variety of interpretations there can be of what is basically such a simple dance. From swingers to trotters, from smoothies to ripples, from the military to the delicate steppers and more.
Developed during the World War I in suburbian New York, initially performed by carribean and African dancers. It eventually made its debut on the stage of American music-hall and immediately became popular in the ballrooms.
Foxtrot and quickstep have a common origin. In the twenties many bands
played the slow-foxtrot too fast, which gave rise to many complaints.
Eventually they developed into two different dances, slow-foxtrot tempo
has been slowed down and Quickstep became clearly the fast version of
Foxtrot, danced at 48 bars per minute tempo. The Charleston had a lot
of influence on the development of Quickstep.
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