DANCE HISTORY

Latin American Ballroom Dances:


Rumba

The Rumba comes from Cuba, so it is also known as the Cuban Rumba. They say the Rumba's influence began way back in the 16th century and that it is such an old dance, it was danced by the Africans. When the Africans were taken as slaves to the Americas, they were made to work very hard. After a hard day's work, when they were tired and wanted to make love, they would dance the Rumba to get relaxed, and then move on to the love making. So it was a highly sensual dance. In those days, the Rumba was considered to be a 'Dance of Sex.' When the slave-drivers saw them dance the Rumba they wanted to copy it and dance it in public. So they reduced the sensuality of it and instead of calling it a the 'Dance of Sex' called it the 'Dance of Love.'

In the 1930′s, when celebrity Ballroom dance teacher Perrier and his dance partner Doris Lavelle saw the Rumba being danced in New York, he decided to popularize it in London. He made a rule in his dance studio that who ever comes to dance at the studio has to go through a course of the Rumba. In 1935, a film titled 'The Rumba' was released where the Rumba was the essence of the film. This film became a great hit in its day, making the Rumba an international craze. The fascinating rhythms, bodily expressions, extended long legs and hem line enhance its romantic mood, making the Rumba the spirit and soul of Latin American music and dance. That is why we say that the Rumba is the most popular Latin American Dance.

In 1954, when the Latin American Ballroom Association was formed, it set rules and regulations for the Rumba and made it one of their official dances.

The Rumba is danced with an attitude:

Man – Sensually aggressive
Women – Sensually defensive.

The Rumba is the slowest of all the Latin American Ballroom Dances. It goes at the rate of 28 beats per minute.
Its count is 2 3 4 a 1.

The mood of the Rumba is – 'LOVE'

Samba

Even though the Samba is originally from Africa, it is the national dance of Brazil, so it is also known as the Brazilian Samba. Even today, the Samba is danced solo on the streets of Brazil's Rio de Janeiro during carnivals. It has a lot of upper and lower body movement with a lot of head gear and very little on the body as costumes.

In 1950, an American play called 'Street Carnival' did over 200 shows all over Europe, making the Samba tremendously popular. This play was the first to have a man and a woman dancing the Samba together.

When the Latin American Ballroom Association was formed in 1955, it set rules and regulations for the Samba and made it one of their official dances. The Samba is said to be RHYTHMIC… ANIMALISTIC… EXOTIC… and SEXY… and is popular for its variety of rhythms and body isolation moves.

The Samba is one of the fastest of all the Latin American Ballroom Dances. It is danced at the rate of 50 beats per minute.

Its count is 1A 2.

The mood of Samba is – 'FESTIVE'.

Live

Like the cha cha, the Jive has no country of origin. The mix of the Jive is similar to BOOGIE, JITTERBUG, WEST COAST SWING, LINDY HOP and most of all the ROCK 'n' ROLL… To dance the Jive effectively, one must be able to do a great mix of all… the Jive is a FUN FILLED… CARE FREE… and a RELAXED dance.

In 1954, The Latin American Ballroom Association mixed the all the above dances, and came up with the JIVE, keeping it either fast or slow depending upon the interpretation of music, style and choreography.

The Jive is one of the fastest of all the Latin American dances with a speed of 44 beats per minute. This dance, with all of its kicks and flicks, requires a tremendous amount of stamina.

Its count is 1 2 3A 4 5A 6.

The mood of Jive is – 'FUN'

Cha Cha Cha

The Cha Cha Cha has no particular country of origin. It is an offshoot of this dance called the 'Mambo'. When the Mambo was danced with a double leg movement people gave this dance the name 'Triple Mambo'.

In 1954, the Latin American Ballroom Association accepted Triple Mambo as one of their dances by setting rules and regulations, and changing its name from Triple Mambo to CHA CHA CHA making it a FLIRTY… NAUGHTY… SPICY and a very RHYTHMICAL dance, filled with lots of zest, hip action and high speed maneuvers…. That's why its music is very INVITING and MISCHIEVOUS … and it is called the CHEEKY Cha Cha Cha….

Cha Cha is a medium paced dance with a speed of 32 BPM.

Its count is 2 3cha cha 1.

The mood of Cha Cha is – 'NAUGHTY'

Paso Doble

The Paso Doblé is most often associated with Spain, as this dance is a story of a 'Bull Fight' on to the dance floor. Paso Doblé actually just means 'Two Steps'. In this dance, the man represents the matador and the women his cape in the drama of the Spanish bullfight. It has inspired an enduring passion not only in its homelands of France and Spain but throughout the world. In France it is considered one of their standard ballroom dances. Like the Viennese Waltz, the Paso Doblé seems to require advanced technical ability. But the basic dance can be quickly learned by anyone.

In 1954, The Latin American Ballroom Association accepted the Paso Doblé as one of their dances.

Paso Doblé is fastest of all the Latin American Dances, danced with a speed of 62 beats per minute.

Its count is 1 2.

The mood of Paso Doblé is – 'FIGHT'

Standard Ballroom Dances:

Yiennese Waltz & Waltz

The Viennese Waltz began in the 17th Century. It comes from Vienna, from the Alp region of Austria and also from the southern part of Germany that is called Bavaria. It was then danced with a lot of distance between the partners, almost like a Latin Hold. It slowly moved towards France and the French brought the partners closer together when dancing the Viennese Waltz (the hip joints actually touch). At that time, this change was quite scandalous. Later, in the 18th century, when it moved to America, the Americans felt that bringing the dance still closer would help them dance it better. In 1816, at the palace of the Prince Regent in London, the Viennese Waltz was performed for the first time in public. This close style of dance was heavily criticized by the public. In 1866, a popular English magazine 'Belgravia' criticized the Viennese Waltz, calling it a horrifying, wicked dance. Fortunately, Queen Victoria was a keen ballroom dancer and had a special place in her heart for the Viennese Waltz, which made it more acceptable to the public.

In 1924, when the Standard Ballroom Dance Association was formed, to make Viennese Waltz more popular they reduced its tempo and called it the 'Waltz' or the ' English Waltz' or the 'Modern Waltz'.

The Viennese Waltz has a speed of 60 beats per minute.

The Waltz, on the other hand, has a speed is 30 beats per minute.

Both the Viennese Waltz and the Waltz have a count of 1 2 3.

The mood of both these dances is – 'ROMANCE'.

Foxtrot

Harry Fox, an actor-comedian born in 1882, brought popularity to the Foxtrot. In 1904, Harry moved from San Francisco to New York after a massive fire and earthquake hit San Francisco. Harry chose to move to New York to fulfill his dream to act in plays. He had joined theater in 1902. He partnered up with Dolly, a singer and dancer from a band called Sisters, to dance to ragtime music in nightclubs for extra money. In 1914, cinema was becoming mainstream and theatre was beginning to fade. To draw people back to the theatres, the play directors asked Harry Fox and Dolly to dance between plays and during intermissions. One fine day, Harry Fox came up with a style that looked and sounded like a Horses Trot. People appreciated that step and copied it to dance it in public and gave it the name 'Fox's Trot'. That is where the name 'Foxtrot' came from.

In 1924, the Standard Ballroom Dance Association took the Foxtrot under their wing and set standards for it, making it even more popular.

Foxtrot is danced at the speed of 30 beats per minute.

It is counted in Slows and Quicks.

Its mood is – 'SOCIAL'.

Quick Step

The 1920′s was a decade of liberation. The First World War had just ended. This feeling of freedom made people want to dance faster dances. In 1925, the Charleston appeared. People already loved the Foxtrot, so they started to mix the Charleston with the Foxtrot and called it the 'Quick Time Fox Trot and Charleston'. Or, for short, the QTFT&C. In 1927, this dance gained tremendous popularity. So, in 1929, the Standard Ballroom Dance Association accepted QTFT&C as one of their official dances by changing its name to the 'Quick Step'.

In its advanced levels, this dance has a combination of body swings and syncopated hops that are danced at an impressive speed of 50 BPM.

It is counted in Slows and Quicks.

Tango

The word 'Tango' is thought to be of African origin and denotes a 'Meeting Place' or 'Special Place'. However, the Tango itself is not African in origin. The Tango actually comes from Argentina.

Passionate, sensual and tantalizing, the tango is many things to many people. In the 19th Century due to war and economic uncertainty, many Europeans were moving to South America to start new lives. By 1914, the Europeans had out numbered the natives of Argentina. There were also many more men in Buenos Aires than women. Fifty men for each woman. So, to get more women to dance with them, men started to hire café waitresses.

Soon, women started to dance only for money and not for the pleasure of dance. They would hold themselves back, grounding themselves so that it became difficult for the man to move them around the floor. That got the men angry, which is why the mood of the Tango is 'Passionate yet Angry'. The knees bent position of the men that dance the Tango is because of the gaucho's (cow boys') boots that had hardened from excessive use. The lady would have her head turned away due to the excessive sweating of the man.

In 1924, a movie titled 'The Four Horse Men' starring Rudolph Valentino made people notice the Tango. In 1930, the Standard Ballroom Association accepted Tango as one of their official dances by making lots of changes in its style and calling it the 'Modern Tango'.

It is counted in Slows and Quicks.

Keeping the mood the same – 'Passionate yet Angry'.