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Below is a selection of Latin American dances that are taught at the school:

bullet Rumba
bullet Cha cha
bullet Paso Doble
bullet Samba
bullet Jive

Details of these dances can be found by clicking each of the dance names above.


Rumba - Fast Facts:
A dance that tells the story of love and eroticism between a man and a woman.  The Rumba relies on the age-old premise of the lady trying to conquer the gentleman by means of her womanly charms.  Incorporating all the elements of teasing and withdrawal, it is considered the most sensual of the Latin dances.

Distinctive moves:
The Rumba should portray romance and therefore have good interplay between the dancers.  In this dance the emphasis is on the body.  Hip actions are produced by controlled transfer of weight from foot to foot.    Look out for figure-eight hip rolls - this is a hip roll where the hips alternate in a forward movement.  There are lots of slow stylish body shapes in the Rumba.

When it comes to the footwork, look for a straightening of legs, and swivelling action in the feet.  The walks should be strong and direct and the body never stops changing its shape. There should be no heel leads - the dancers must not walk on the heels of their feet; they are on the balls of feet only.

bullet Forward basic - 3 steps (one step forward, replace, side)
bullet Back basic - 3 steps (one step backward, replace, side)
bullet Hip twists
bullet Spot turns - a turn on the spot which takes 3 steps to either the left or to the right
bullet Forward or backward walks - as the Rumba is a fairly static dance so these walks are used to help the couples move around the floor.  When walking they should employ a good hip action
bullet Fan position - The girl goes on the man's left side at arms length and at 90 degrees to the man
bullet New York - The couple both step forward in promenade position (side by side) and holding hands at the same time
bullet Cucaracha - rock to the right or the left, then replace and close


Cha cha - Fast Facts:
The Cha cha is a cheeky, lively and flirtatious dance.  It has a catch-me-if-you-can atmosphere, and is light and bubbly.  It has a distinctive syncopation where 5 steps are danced to four beats hence the 'One, two, cha cha cha' description.  The dance is originally from Cuba.

Distinctive moves:
Triple steps (Chasse) and rock steps are the basic components of the Cha cha.  Since the dance is derived from the Rumba and Mambo dances, Cuban Motion is an important aspect of this dance as well as maintaining quick compact steps.  Cuban Motion describes the hip motion resulting from the alternate bending and straightening of the knees.  The dancers should synchronize movements, working in parallel with each other.  The Cha Cha and the Rumba have the same basic steps, they are just danced to a different rhythm. The Rumba is romantic whereas the Cha Cha is bright and lively.

bullet Forward basic - 3 steps (one step forward, replace, side)
bullet Back basic - 3 steps (one step backward, replace, side)
bullet Hip twists
bullet Spot turns - a turn on the spot which takes 3 steps to either the left or to the right
bullet Forward or backward walks - as the Rumba is a fairly static dance so these walks are used to help the couples move around the floor.  When walking they should employ a good hip action
bullet Fan position - The girl goes on the man's left side at arms length and at 90 degrees to the man
bullet New York - The couple both step forward in promenade position (side by side) and holding hands at the same time
bullet Cucaracha - rock to the right or the left, then replace and close


Paso Doble - Fast Facts:
The Paso Doble on the competition floor should create a Spanish Bull Fighting atmosphere.  The Paso Doble is the dance for the Man, which allows him to fill the "Space" with strong three-dimensional shapes and movements danced with "Pride and Dignity."

The woman's role varies depending on the interpretation of the dance.  The woman can take the role of the matador's cape, the bull or even the matador at different times within the dance.  Characteristics of the Paso Doble are the "Marching" flavour given to the steps and the cape movements creating the required tension between both dancers.  It is one of the only dances that is danced only in the ballroom world and is one of the most dramatic of the dances.

Distinctive moves:
There are strong Flamenco influences in the dance where the use of castanets is simulated.

bullet Look out for chassez cape - the man using the woman as the cape to bring her around
bullet Apel - this is when the man stamps his foot - this should be very strong.  The man would stamp his foot as if he was trying to attract the bull's attention (the bull often gets distracted by the crowd in a bull fight).
bullet Lines - we should see good strong lines ( line is like a poise, or a freeze - a strong shape)
bullet Walks - we should see lots of these - very strong and proud.  All of the walks should be on the heels, with strong heel leads.


Samba - Fast Facts:
The Samba is an all-out party dance with origins from Brazil's Rio Carnival.  It is made up of many different South American dances incorporated into one.  It is very rhythmical with lots of hip action. 
Walking Samba steps and side steps are the basic components of this dance.  The major characteristic of the Samba is the vertical bounce action.  Steps are taken using the ball of the foot.  The accomplished dancer is made to look effortless and carefree with knee action, body sway and "pendulum motion."

Distinctive moves:
There should be a good balance of moving steps and stationary steps and there should be lots of outstretched arms.  The Basic step is a Volta (a crossing action in front of the body, where you step across with the bounce).  You will see a bouncing action predominantly through the knees.

bullet Volta - this is the crossing over of the feet - these can also be done on the spot and are known as Spot Voltas
bullet Samba roll a rolling movement from the waist up.  The upper body circles as you create a six-step turning group.
bullet Many Sambas have a move called a Botafogo, which is a travelling walk with a change of direction from left to right or right to left.

The samba has a distinctive climax, it ends with throwing of heads back and arms splayed out to side.


Jive - Fast Facts:
Jive is a rhythmical and swinging dance which was influenced by the Boogie, Rock & Roll, African/American Swing and the Lindyhop.  The roots of the Jive are in New York's Harlem. 
It is one of the fastest dances and should show lots of kicks and flicks and twirling of the woman.  Although on first impression it might look like the feet are all over the place in every direction, the feet/legs should actually be under the body and the knees should always be close together.  Jive doesn't move around the dance floor like other dances.

Distinctive moves:
The basic movement is chassez to the left, chassez to the right and a rock step (changing weight from one foot to the other).  There should be lots of kicks and flicks.  These should be executed with a beautifully pointed toe and sharp action.  The dance should be full of lots of bright, lively, fast movements with mountains of energy.

bullet Kick - comes from the hip
bullet Flick - comes from the knee
bullet Change of Places - when the couple change sides
bullet American Spin - when the man lets go of the lady and lets her spin on her own
bullet Pivots - continuous turns (spinning around)

The feet/legs should be under the body - the knees should always be close together.  There will be a core heartbeat that runs through the choice of music - which doesn't let up


 

   

Dance Music

You can of course dance to whatever music you wish.  The school uses many different tracks to dance to... listed below are some short samples of dance music by Dennis Hayward:

Foxtrot

Quickstep

Rumba

Saunter

Tango

Viennese Waltz

Waltz


Dennis Hayward CDs can be found by clicking here!

 

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