Home About Us Contact Dances Links

Standard Ballroom

  Latin American
  Sequence Dances

Many Standard Ballroom dances are taught at the school including the following:

bullet Waltz
bullet Viennese Waltz
bullet Quickstep
bullet Foxtrot
bullet Tango

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

Waltz - Fast Facts:
Considered the mother of present day dances, the Waltz began in southern Germany in the 17th century.  The popularity of the Waltz dance grew with the music of Johann Strauss and eventually blossomed in the 20th century.  It is the basis for many dances and is popular today all over the world.  The basic components of Waltz are walking steps and side steps. "Rise and Fall" and "Body Sway" are some of the styling characteristics which make the simplest Waltz steps and patterns elegant and beautiful.

A sentimental and romantic dance, it is characterized by soft and round movements and its swing and flow.

Distinctive moves:
An action that must be visible at any competition level is the Waltz Pendulum action, an action comparable with the movement of a bell clapper.  The Waltz must contain the right level of up-and-down swing in balance with the required spatial movement.  As in all dances, dancing from the supporting foot is essential.  The "moment when" to start rising from your supporting foot is crucial in the Waltz.  There should be lots of rotation.

bullet Natural turns - turn to the right
bullet Reverse turns - turn to the right
bullet Change step - this step is executed in-between the natural and reverse steps and is used to aid the dancers to move to the other foot

Viennese Waltz - Fast Facts:
The Waltz developed in Central Europe from the Austrian dance known as the Landler.  The fast whirling of partners held as if in an embrace shocked polite society.  The music of Johann Strauss and the famous ballrooms of Vienna popularized the faster version known as the Viennese Waltz. 
This will be a group dance on Dancing with the Stars, so the dance floor can get quite crowded.  Watch out for couples getting boxed in as it has been known for dirty tactics to be employed for couples to try and gain an advantage on the floor.

Distinctive moves:
Sweeping turns that gracefully move around the floor characterize this dance.  The Viennese Waltz is known for its rotational movement, which is simple and elegant.  There should be no foot rise on the inner turns.  Rotating and swinging spatial movements.

bullet Natural turns - turn to the right
bullet Reverse turns - turn to the right
bullet Change step - this step is executed in-between the natural and reverse steps and is used to aid the dancers to move to the other foot

Quickstep - Fast Facts
During the 1920s, many bands played the Quickstep too fast and some couples couldn't keep up.  Over time, a faster version was born, absorbing extra elements of ragtime such as the Charleston.  This led to the creation of what we today call the Quickstep.

This is a light, bright, twinkling and happy dance with tricky footwork.  Quite sporty in its delivery as it is very springy and fast paced.  The basic feel is slow, quick, quick, slow, quick, quick.  The majority of the slow should be taken on the heel; the majority of the quick should be taken on the toe.

Distinctive moves:
The characteristic motion of a quickstep is an up-and-down swing motion.  This rise-and-fall motion must be done at a fast pace.

It is important to move powerfully and positively across the floor while remaining light on the feet. 
Two bodies moving in the speed of the quickstep require first of all a high level of synchronization and understanding about leg tension and use of the ankles.  During execution of the "tricksteps," both dancers need the same tension of feet and legs.  There needs to be lots of work on the balls of the feet and lots of spring from the feet.  To achieve the right musical interpretation, the timing of the "Slows" should be slightly extended to force a sharp action in the ankles in the "Quicks".  Look out for the facial expressions.  They are not compulsory but help to capture the essence of the dance.

bullet Chasse - 3 steps going to the side (side - close - side)
bullet Lockstep - cross one foot behind the other foot
bullet Turing lock steps - a lockstep that turns
bullet Spin Turn (also in the waltz) - one complete turn, usually danced in corners
bullet Pivot - continuous turns (spinning around)
bullet Natural turns: 3 steps to the right - should form up to half a circle
bullet Reverse turns: 3 steps to the left - should form up to half a circle
bullet Runs - little fast, quick repetitive movements/steps.

Foxtrot - Fast Facts:
During the summer of 1914, actor Harry Fox was appearing in shows in New York with Yansci Dolly, in an act of Hammerstein's.  Soon people at the Jardin de Danse on the roof of the New York Theatre began copying the act that Harry was putting on downstairs, leading them to refer to the dance as "Fox's Trot."  The foxtrot is a very smooth dance and there should be no jerkiness.  It is a dance with many continuously forward or backward moving patterns which are straight and well aligned on the competition floor.  It is called the Rolls Royce of the standard dancing styles because the smoothness that is required.
The timing is very important.  It should be: slow, quick, quick, slow.  The dancers should drive off on the slow and let the quicks take care of themselves.  This makes it a very difficult dance.

Distinctive moves:

bullet The Weave - the weave is six quick steps in a row, all taken on the toes (quick steps are generally taken on the toe, slow steps on the heels)
bullet The Feather Step - when the man steps outside the girl
bullet Reverse turns - as in the waltz - turn to the left
bullet Natural turns - as in the waltz - turn to the right
bullet Lines - lots of these - they should very elegant

Look out for the zig-zag patterns that the dancers create on the floor.

Tango - Fast Facts:
The gauchos of Argentina wore chaps that hardened from the foam and sweat of the horse's body, causing them to walk with flexed knees.  Of a night they would go to crowded night clubs and ask ladies of the night to dance but since the gaucho hadn't showered, the lady would dance in the crook of the man's right arm, holding her head back.  Her right hand was held low on his left hip, close to his pocket, looking for a payment for dancing with him.

No rise and fall in the steps.  This should be a very level, flat dance.  The legs are therefore always slightly flexed (i.e. the knees should be slightly bent at all times).

Distinctive moves:
The Tango is a very emotional dance and this should be conveyed.  There must be lots of clipped movements and the action must always be staccato.  Look out for sharp head turning and stops. 
The hold is different in the tango.  The man's left arm is more towards head level.  The general hold is far more compact and the couple are much tighter together.

bullet Walks - Should be done with the heels leading
bullet Rock turns - the dancers should rock while turning
bullet Links - these are the sharp movements in-between the walks (the head turns from the girl - these are also known as staccato movements



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:






Viennese Waltz


Dennis Hayward CDs can be found by clicking here!


Home | About Us | Contact | Dances | Links

Copyright 2008 Julian Bennet.  All rights reserved