West Coast Swing (WCS) is a partner dance derived from Lindy Hop. It is characterized by a distinctive elastic look that results from its basic extension-compression technique of partner connection, and is danced primarily in a slotted area on the dance floor. The dance allows for both partners to improvise steps while dancing together, putting West Coast Swing in a short list of dances that put a premium on improvisation.
East Coast Swing (ECS) is a form of social partner dance. It belongs to the group of swing dances. It is danced under fast swing music, including rock and roll and boogie-woogie. The name East Coast Swing became more common between 1975 and 1980. East Coast Swing can be referred to by many different names in different regions of the United States and the World. It has alternatively been called Eastern Swing, Jitterbug, American Swing, East Coast Lindy, variants of East Coast Swing.
The Cha-cha-cha is the name of a dance of Cuban origin. It is danced to the music of the same name introduced by Cuban composer and violinist Enrique Jorrín in 1953. Cha-cha-cha may be either danced to authentic Cuban music, Latin Pop or Latin Rock. Pierre, then from London, visited Cuba in 1952 to find out how and what Cubans were dancing at the time. He noted that this new dance had a split fourth beat, and to dance it one started on the second beat, not the first. He brought this dance idea to England and eventually created what is now known as ballroom cha-cha-cha.
The Foxtrot, also fox trot or fox-trot, is a ballroom dance. The exact origin of the name of the dance is unclear, although one theory often cited is that it took its name from its inventor, the vaudeville actor Harry Fox. The dance was premiered in 1914, quickly catching the eye of the talented husband and wife duo Vernon and Irene Castle, who lent the dance its signature grace and style. From the late teens through the 1940s, the Foxtrot was certainly the most popular fast dance and the vast majority of records issued during these years were Foxtrots. The waltz and tango, while popular, never overtook the Foxtrot. Even the popularity of the lindy hop in the 1940s did not affect the Foxtrot’s popularity, since it could be danced to the same records used to accompany the lindy hop.
The Waltz is a ballroom and folk dance in triple time, performed primarily in closed position. Shocking many when it was first introduced, the Waltz became fashionable in Vienna around the 1780s, spreading to many other countries in the years to follow. It became fashionable in Britain during the Regency period, though the entry in the Oxford English Dictionary shows that it was considered “riotous and indecent” as late as 1825. The Waltz, and especially its closed position, became the example for the creation of many other ballroom dances. Subsequently, new types of Waltz have developed, including many folk and several ballroom dances.
Tango dance and tango music originated in the area of the Rio de la Plata, and spread to the rest of the world soon after. Early Tango was known as tango criollo, or simply Tango. Today, there are many Tango dance styles, including Argentine Tango, Ballroom Tango (American and International styles), and Vintage Tangos. What many consider to be the authentic Tango is that closest to that originally danced in Argentina and Uruguay, though other types of Tango have developed into mature dances in their own right.
Samba is a Brazilian dance and musical genre originating in Bahia and with its roots in Brazil (Rio De Janeiro) and Africa. It is recognized around the world as a symbol of Brazil and the Brazilian Carnival. Considered one of the most popular Brazilian cultural expressions, Samba has become an icon of Brazilian national identity.
Salsa is a syncretic dance form with origins from Cuba and Puerto Rico as a major original American meeting point of Spanish (European) and African cultures. Salsa is normally a partner dance, although there are recognized solo forms such as solo dancing “suelta” and “Rueda de Casino” where multiple couples exchange partners in a circle. Salsa can be improvised or performed with a set routine. Salsa is popular throughout Latin America as well as in North America, Europe, Australia, and some countries in Asia and the Middle East. It is fast becoming a global phenomenon.
Merengue is a style of Latin American music and dance. There are also legends about a limping war hero (or El Presidente of a banana republic himself, in some versions) who had to step in this way while dancing because of wounds, and polite public imitated him. Although the tempo of the music may be frantic, the upper body is kept majestic and turns are slow, typically four beats/steps per complete turn. In the social dancing of the United States the “empalizada” style is replaced by Cuban motion, taught in ballroom studios for dances of Latin American origin (Cha-cha-cha, Rumba, Mambo, Salsa).
Rumba is a dance term with two quite different meanings. First, it means Cuban event of African style, organically related to the Rumba genre of Afro-Cuban music. There are several styles of this Rumba, the most common being the guaguancó. Second, it refers to one of the ballroom dances which occurs in social dance and in international competitions. In this sense, Rumba is one of the slowest Latin dances. This ballroom Rumba was also danced in Cuba to a rhythm they call the bolero-son; the ballroom style was derived from studies of dance in Cuba in the pre-revolutionary period.
The Hustle is a catchall name for several disco dances which were extremely popular in the 1970s. Today it mostly refers to the unique partner dance done in ballrooms and nightclubs to disco music. It has some features in common with swing dance. Its basic steps are somewhat similar to the Discofox, which emerged at about the same time and is more familiar in various European countries. In the 1970s there was also a line dance called the Hustle—which is regaining popularity as people throw 1970s theme parties or schools have 1970s dance performances. Modern partner Hustle is sometimes referred to as New York Hustle.
The country/western Two-Step, often called the “Texas Two-Step” or simply the “Two-Step”, is a country/western dance usually danced to country music in 4/4 time. It is a progressive dance that proceeds counterclockwise around the floor. The Two-Step can be danced over a fairly wide range of tempos. The Two-Step is a dance with roots in European and Mexican dance history and appeared in Germany and Hungary in the 1800s. Similar steps danced at Mexican fandangos were also an influence. The Two-Step is a partner dance, consisting of a leader and a follower. The leader determines the movements and patterns of the pair as they move around the dance floor.
Bolero is a form of slow-tempo Latin music and its associated dance and song. There are Spanish and Cuban forms, which are both significant, and which have separate origins. The term is also used for some art music. In all its forms, the Bolero has been popular for over a century, and still is today. A version of the Cuban Bolero is danced throughout the Latin dance world.
Viennese Waltz (German: Wiener Walzer) is the genre of a ballroom dance. At least three different meanings are recognized. In the historically first sense, the name may refer to several versions of the Waltz, including the earliest Waltzes done in ballroom dancing, danced to the music of Viennese Waltz. The Viennese Waltz is a rotary dance where the dancers are constantly turning either toward the leader’s right (natural) or toward the leader’s left (reverse), interspersed with non-rotating change steps to switch between the direction of rotation. A true Viennese Waltz consists only of turns and change steps. American-style figures and side sway or underarm turns are modern, and are not normally danced at the annual balls in Vienna. Viennese Waltz, couples do not pass, but turn continuously left and right while travelling counterclockwise around the floor following each other.
Argentine Tango is a social dance and musical genre, written in 4/4 measure and with binary musical form. Its lyrics and music are marked by nostalgia, expressed through melodic instruments like the bandoneon. Originated at the ending of the 19th century in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, it quickly grew in popularity and was internationally spread. Argentine Tango dancing consists of a variety of styles that developed in different regions and eras, and in response to the crowding of the venue and even the fashions in clothing. Even though the present forms developed in Argentina and Uruguay, they were also exposed to influences re-imported from Europe and North America.
Mambo is a Latin dance of Cuban origin that corresponds to Mambo music. Mambo music was invented during the 1930s in Havana by Cachao and his contemporaries and made popular around the world by Perez Prado and Beny Moré. Mambo music developed from Danzón and was heavily influenced by the Jazz musicians that the Italian-American gangsters, who controlled Havana’s casinos, brought to entertain their American customers. In the late 1940s, Perez Prado came up with the dance for the Mambo music and became the first person to market his music as “Mambo”. After Havana, Prado moved his music to Mexico, where his music and the dance was adopted. The original Mambo dance was characterized by freedom and complicated foot-steps.