Q: What are the dance styles offered?
A: Latin, Ballroom, Modern Jive, Salsa, West Coast Swing, Zouk, Bachata and Argentine Tango.
Latin dance refers to types of ballroom dance and folk dance that (with few exceptions) originated in Latin America. The category of Latin dances in the international Dancesport competitions consists of the Cha-cha-cha, Rumba, Samba, Paso Doble and Jive. Social Latin dances (Street Latin) include Salsa, Mambo, Merengue, Rumba, Bachata, Bomba, Plena and the Argentine tango.
Ballroom dance is a set of partner dances, traditionally refers to the five International Standard and five International Latin style dances. The two styles, while differing in technique, rhythm and costumes, exemplify core elements of ballroom dancing such as control and cohesiveness. Developed in England, the two styles are now regulated by the World Dance Council and the World DanceSport Federation.
Modern Jive is a dance style derived from Swing, Lindy Hop, Rock and Roll, Salsa and others. The main innovation being to simplify the footwork by removing syncopation such as chasse. The word modern distinguishes it from Ballroom Jive.
Salsa has a pattern of six steps danced over eight counts of music. Turns are important features with a more of a side to side feel. It involves significant movement above the waist, with up-and-down shoulder movements and shifting of the ribcage.
West Coast Swing is a partner dance with roots in 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.
Zouk is the evolution of Lambada and it is smooth, romantic, hypnotic with long, fluent, and wave-like movements. Zouk has captured the hearts of many people around the world and has been called “the dance of love” with its strong, flowing movements.
Bachata has a basic three-step pattern with a Cuban hip motion, followed by a tap including a hip movement on the 4th beat. The knees are slightly bent so the performer can sway the hips easier. The movement of the hips is very important because it’s a part of the soul of the dance. Generally, most of the dancer’s movement is in the lower body up to the hips and the upper body moves much less.
Argentine Tango is danced in an embrace that can vary from very open, in which leader and follower connect at arm’s length, to very closed, in which the connection is chest-to-chest, or anywhere in between. Tango dance is essentially walking with a partner and the music. Dancing appropriately to the emotion and speed of a tango is extremely important to dancing tango. Also, dancers generally keep their feet close to the floor as they walk, the ankles and knees brushing as one leg passes the other.
Q: Why do you teach different dance styles for social dancing?
A: Music has different beats, speed and style. Some of the above dance styles can be used for a particular music but some are specific, like Ballroom. In social dance parties/events, a DJ or a band will play an array of dance music. Learning a variety of partner dance styles enable dancers to use dance moves applicable to the beat of the music (please note – that applying only one dance style to any kind of music will look awkward). This approach increases social dancers’ ability to identify beats, strengthen their skills in executing different moves and techniques applicable to the music, and gain confidence from learning amazing skills.
Q: Do I need to have a partner to attend the classes?
A: Not at all. There are often even number of dancers in a class. If there will be uneven numbers, we rotate partners to ensure that all dancers get a chance to dance with a partner. However, if you do not wish to rotate, let your dance instructor know.
Q: What do I wear to the classes?
A: We recommend anything from casual attire to gym or dance wear. As for shoes, a pair that is snug on your feet and will keep your heel and ankle in place is the best option. Sneakers will work for the first lesson but may cause a problem with gripping and could affect your knees later on. Thongs or flip-flops are not recommended.
Q: How long does it take to learn and when will I get good?
A: This is totally up to each individual. Some people learn faster than others. However, if you have had previous partner dance training, you may pick up a lot faster.