A full description of the dances we teach could go on ... forever. Here's a synopsis of the dances we teach, and some information about each one. If you'd like to know more, just follow the link, or better yet, give us a call!
The American Style Waltz, in contrast to the International Standard Waltz, involves breaking contact almost entirely in some figures. For example, the Syncopated Side-by-Side with Spin includes a free spin for both partners. Open rolls are another good example of an open dance figure, in which the follower alternates between the lead's left and right sides, with the lead's left or right arm (alone) providing the lead. Waltzes were the staple of many American musicals and films, including "Waltz in Swing Time" sung by Fred Astaire.
American style tango’s evolutionary path is derived from Argentina to U.S., when it was popularized by silent film star Rudolph Valentino in 1921, who demonstrated a highly stylized form of Argentine tango in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. As a result, the Hollywood style steps mixed in with other social dance steps of the times began this branch away from the Argentine style. Meanwhile, the tango was also making its own inroads into Europe.
Following the English standardization of their version of Tango, Arthur Murray, a ballroom dance instructor in the U.S., tried his own hand at standardizing the ballroom dances for instruction in his chain of social dance schools. Consequently, his tango syllabus incorporated steps with Argentine, Hollywood and socially popular influences and techniques. This looser social style was referred to as American style by the English.
Argentine tango is a social dance and a musical genre that originated in Argentina and moved to Uruguay and to the rest of the world later on. In the US, it is commonly confused with ballroom tango, though this is a later derivation.
Argentine tango 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.
Nightclub Two Step (Nightclub Two-step, NC2S) was initially developed by Buddy Schwimmer in the mid-1960s. The dance is also known as "Two Step" and was "one of the most popular forms of contemporary social dance" as a Disco Couples Dance in 1978. It is frequently danced to mid-tempo ballads in 4/4 time that have a characteristic Quick-Quick-Slow beat. A classic example is the song Lady In Red.
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.
Typically the follower walks into new patterns traveling forward on counts "1" and "2" of each basic pattern, rather than rocking back. The Anchor Step is a common ending pattern of many West Coast Swing figures.
The Hustle is a catchall name for several disco dances which were extremely popular in the 1970s. Today it mostly refers to a unique partner dance done in ballrooms and nightclubs. It has some features in common with swing dance. In the 1970s there was also a line dance called the Hustle--which is regaining popularity as people throw '70s theme parties or schools have '70s dance performances. Modern partner hustle is sometimes referred to as New York Hustle.
The Viennese Waltz is a rotary dance where the dancers are constantly turning either in a clockwise (natural) or anti-clockwise (reverse) direction interspersed with non-rotating change steps to switch between the direction of rotation. A true Viennese waltz consists only of turns and change steps. Other moves such as the fleckerls, American-style figures and side sway or underarm turns are modern inventions and are not normally danced at the annual balls in Vienna. Furthermore, in a properly danced Viennese Waltz, couples do not pass, but turn continuously left and right while traveling counterclockwise around the floor following each other.
At its inception, the Foxtrot was originally danced to ragtime. Today, the dance is customarily accompanied by the same big band music to which swing is also danced.
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 didn't dent the foxtrot because the foxtrot could be danced to those lindy hop records, as well.)
When rock and roll first emerged in the early 1950s, record companies were uncertain as to what style of dance would be most applicable to the music. Famously, Decca Records initially labeled its rock and roll releases as "Fox trots", most notably "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and His Comets. Since that recording, by some estimates, went on to sell more than 25 million copies, "Rock Around the Clock" is technically the biggest-selling "Foxtrot" of all time.
Over time, Foxtrot split into slow (Foxtrot) and quick (Quickstep) versions. In the slow category, further distinctions exist between the International or English style of foxtrot and the continuity American style, both built around a slow-quick-quick rhythm at the slowest tempo, and the social American style using a slow-slow-quick-quick rhythm at a somewhat faster pace.
The Quickstep evolved in the 1920s from a combination of the Foxtrot, Charleston, Shag, Peabody, and One Step. The dance is English in origin, and was standardized in 1927. While it evolved from the Foxtrot, the Quickstep now is quite separate. Unlike the modern Foxtrot, the man often closes his feet, and syncopated steps are regular occurrences (as was the case in early Foxtrot). In some ways, the dance patterns are close to the Waltz, but are danced to 4/4 time rather than 3/4 time.
This dance gradually evolved into a very dynamic one with a lot of movement on the dance floor, with many advanced patterns including hops, runs, quick steps with a lot of momentum, and rotation. The tempo of Quickstep dance is rather brisk as it was developed to ragtime era jazz music which is fast-paced when compared to other dance music.