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Introduction to Ballroom Dancing
Modern Ballroom (Standard) Dances:
Viennese Waltz and English-style Waltz.
    Waltz was born in the suburbs of Vienna and Alpine region of Austria in 17th century as a folk dance. Introduced in ballrooms in early 1800's, waltz was denounced for its immorality... It was the first time society saw a dance where man was holding the lady so close to his body. But what brought such antagonism also made it appealing, so the Waltz was here to stay!
    In 1830's Waltz was given a tremendous boost by two great composers Franz Lanner and Johann Strauss who wrote some of the most notorious Waltzes of the era. These Waltzes were quite fast, setting the stage for a dance we now call Viennese Waltz.
    Later, slower dance developed called English-style Waltz - a dance in 3/4 time with a strong accent on the first beat, characterized primarily by its rise and fall action, accompanied by leg and body swing.

    Tango - originated from Buenos Aires. It was then called "Baile con corte" - dance with a rest.
    The dance wasn't successfully introduced in Europe for years. Few Tango enthusiasts tried to popularize Tango in Paris, but European society wasn't ready for a dance as exotic as Tango.
    Tango's breakthrough happened on the dance floor on French Riviera. From then on, Tango gained popularity in Paris and later in the rest of the world.
    Today, International Tango is characterized by snappy movements, fast, dynamic actions switching to superb stillness. It's a very popular and attractive dance.

Quickstep and Foxtrot.
    Quickstep and Foxtrot have a common origin. In the twenties many bands played the Slow-Foxtrot too fast, which gave rise to many complaints. Eventually they developed into 2 different dances. Slow Foxtrot tempo has been slowed down and Quickstep became clearly the fast version of Foxtrot. The Charleston had a lot of influence on the development of Quickstep. Dancing a Quickstep demands a lot of stamina and it is comparable with running 400 m on the athletic track.
    Foxtrot - often associated with the style of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The dance was introduced in 1913 by Harry Fox, a musical dancer. The great fascination of Foxtrot is the amazing variety of interpretations we see today of what is basically such a simple dance. The combination of quick and fast steps allows more flexibility and gives great dancing pleasure. In some ways, Foxtrot is the hardest dance to learn.

    Cha-Cha first seen in America in the early fifties, followed Mambo, from which it developed. The music is slower than Mambo and the rhythm is less complicated. Many believe that the name is derived from the sound of the feet in the chasse, which is included in many of the steps. The interpretation of Cha-Cha music should produce a gay, cheeky, vibrant, party-like atmosphere.

    Samba originates from Brazil where it is the national dance.
    To achieve the true character of the Samba a dancer must give it a happy, flirtatious and exuberant interpretation. Many figures require a pelvic tilt action - very difficult to achieve, but without it the dance loses much of its effect.

    Rumba originated in Cuba. If Tango is a dance of passion, Rumba is the unquestionable dance of love.
    In Rumba woman attempts to dominate man using her feminine charm. In a well choreographed dance there is an element of "tease and run", where the man is being lured and then rejected.
    There are only few more profoundly beautiful moments in dancing than when taking up a hold and feeling the pure intensity of even the basic Rumba, and moving with the carefully controlled power to the raw rhythm and romantic melody.

    Jive originated in Harlem, New York City. It is a very rhythmical and swinging dance, influenced by the Rock'n'Roll, Boogie and Swing.
    It involves a lot of turns, flicks and kicks. Jive is a fun dance, a "must" for every dancer.

    Salsa an extremely popular Latin dance in nightclubs all over the world. Many new dancers are now going out and discovering the fun and enjoyment of Latino partner dancing. Word "Salsa" also describes the modern commercial Latin music coming from New York, Cuba, Colombia, Puerto Rico and many other Latin countries and communities.
    As Salsa originates from many different places, there are many ways that the dance may be expressed. In Salsa we have Cuban style, Colombian, New York etc. Salsa syllabus, that we teach, consists of steps and movements that are common in all styles mentioned above.

Latin-American Dances:

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