The Cha Cha is one of the most popular of the social Latin-American
dances. Lively and flirtatious, the Cha Cha is full of passion and energy.
Cha Cha Characteristics
The Cha Cha is a vibrant, flamboyant and playful dance. The light and
bubbly feel of the Cha Cha gives it a unique sense of fun for dancers
throughout the world. The Cha Cha requires small steps and lots of hip
motion (Cuban motion), as it is danced in 4/4 time. The fourth beat is
split into two, giving it the characteristic 2,3,4 & 1 rhythm. Therefore,
five steps are danced to four beats as in the "One, two, cha cha cha"
History of the Cha Cha
Also called the Cha Cha Cha, this unmistakable dance originated in
Cuba in the 1940s. Composer and violinist Enrique Jorrin developed the
dance as a variant of the Mambo and Rumba. The name is
onomatopoeic, derived from the sound of dancers' shoes as they
shuffled around the floor.
Cha Cha Action
To dance Cha Cha like professionals, dancers must master "Cuban
motion," the characteristic Latin body action.
Cuban motion is simply a distinctive way in which the hips move up
and down. The hip movements come mainly from alternately bending
and straightening the one knee bends (or straightens), the
same hip drops (raises).
The basic components of the Cha Cha are triple steps and rock steps.
Quick, small steps must be maintained throughout the dance. The
distinctive movements of the hips result from the constant bending
and straightening of the knees. Dancers must synchronize each
movement as they dance parallel to one another.
Distinctive Cha Cha Steps
Because the Cha Cha is very similar to the Rumba and Mambo, several
steps coincide with the steps of these dances. The main difference
between the dances is that the "slow" steps of the Rumba and the

it is often referred to as the Rolls Royce of the standard dances." The Foxtrot must be danced very smoothly. Because of its smoothness. Foxtrot History The Foxtrot was developed in the United States in the 1920’s. Both are extremely smooth dances that travel along a line of dance counterclockwise around the floor. Once you learn the Foxtrot. with no jerking of the body. slow. but is popular in all music genres. quick. and hip hop. which use one beat of music.) Foxtrot Characteristics A beautiful. and quick steps. Timing is also a very important component of the Foxtrot. party-like atmosphere. funk. quick. Cha Cha is often danced to authentic Cuban music. (The quicker version of the Foxtrot developed into the Quickstep. The dance combines quick steps with slow steps. including country. quick. entertainer Harry Fox.. giving dancers more flexibility in movement and greater dancing pleasure. Foxtrot Action The Foxtrot is very similar to the Waltz. The rise and fall action of the Foxtrot comes from the long walking movements made by the dancers. you really feel like a dancer. which use two beats of music. its music should produce a happy. Named after its inventor.Mambo are replaced with a triple step in the Cha Cha. quick" or "slow. romantic dance.. It has become one of the most popular ballroom dances in history. the Foxtrot is composed of fairly simple walking steps and side steps. As the Foxtrot is more challenging than other styles of dance. FOXTROT The Slow Foxtrot is a favorite among many ballroom dancers. the Foxtrot is often associated with the smooth dancing style of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The footwork timing is usually "slow. . it is usually recommended to master the Waltz and Quickstep prior to attempting it. Cha Cha Rhythm and Music Because of the carefree nature of the Cha Cha. with a tempo of 110 to 130 beats per minute. The dance combines slow steps.think about the smooth dancing of Fred and Ginger.

The Jive differs in that the count begins with the rock step. Jive was influenced by the Boogie.2. many of its basic patterns are similar to those of East Coast Swing. but may be danced to most music types. Foxtrot Rhythm and Music The Foxtrot is typically danced to big band swing-style music. Both the East Coast Swing and basic Jive consist of two triple steps and a rock step. This step earned its name because of the action of the step: it resembles the "feathering the oar" action in rowing. The basic look and feel of Jive is lots and lots of energy. with tempo around 120 to 136 beats per minute. and uninhibited variation of Jitterbug.) Feather Step: The man steps outside of the woman. which is counted "1. Characteristics of Jive Jive and East Coast Swing share many figures. Some of the sstep create attractive zigzag patterns on the dance floor. as well as the same music style and tempo." The two triple steps are counted "3 and 4" and "5 and 6. with the legs portraying a pumping action. A couple of steps distinctive to the Foxtrot are the Weave and the Feather Step: Weave: Consists of 6 quick steps in a row. (Quick steps are usually performed on the toes. with slow steps taken on the heels. the first and third beats are accented more strongly than the second and fourth beats. dancers should shorten their steps as the tempo of the music increases. JIVE Jive is one of the five International Latin dances. A lively. In the Foxtrot. In order to maintain the "trot" of this dance. The foxtrot is typically danced to big band swing-style music written in 4/4 time. Rock & Roll. African/American Swing and Lindyhop. all on the toes. dancers take long steps during the slower counts. ." History of Jive Originating in the United States in the 1940s.Distinctive Foxtrot Steps Distinctive to the Foxtrot. and short steps during the faster counts.

Swing and Rock and Roll. The most important thing for beginners is to get familiar with the rhythm of the music. Lindy Hop evolved from the Charleston dance and several other dance forms. Savoy style and G. the feet are actually well-controlled under the body with the knees close together. Although Jive dancers may appear to be moving their feet haphazardly in every direction. making it both fun and playful on the dance floor. with plenty of kneelifting. bending.the drum provides the beat..I. There are two main styles of Lindy Hop. energetic dance. elegant posture. Jive incorporates lots of kicks and flicks. Lindy Hop dancers maintain an active. Depending on the style preferred. style.Jive Action Jive is a very happy. and rocking of the hips. boppy. athletic stance that keeps their legs in constant movement. even twirling of the woman. and doesn't move around the dance floor like other dances. Jive can be danced to a variety of upbeat music including Boogie-woogie. Listen to the drum line rather than the melody. Lindy Hop Characteristics The Lindy Hop is a sporty. Often described as the original Swing dance. LINDY HOP Referred to as the grandfather of all swing dances. the Lindy Hop (or Lindy) is a couple's dance that originated in the early 1900s. the Lindy Hop relies mostly on improvisation by its dancers. Instead of dancing in an upright. Distinctive Jive Steps The basic Jive step (Jive Basic) is a 6-beat pattern: rock step (counts 1&2) chasse to the left (counts 3&4) chasse to the right (counts 5&6) Jive Music and Rhythm Jive can be danced to swing music and jump blues in the tempo range of about 200 beats per minute.. The fastest of the Latin dances. . athletic form of partner dancing.

Dancers often perform "shine steps" that allow the dancers to "shine" on the dance floor. The Lindy Hop has inspired several other dances such as East Coast Swing. In the swingout. Balboa. Lindy Hop Rhythm and Music The Lindy Hop is a fast-paced. while G. including fun steps such as Suzi Q's.Savoy style is characterized by long. Lindy Hop dancers also bring their own personal style into the dance. Despite its name. the dance has no "hop" to it. Lindy Hop Action The defining movement of the Lindy Hop is the swingout. This unique and energetic dance style can be wild and spontaneous. Although achieving the look of one of these styles is usually the goal. full of frenzied kicks and body movements. and then swings the partner back out to the original starting position. Named for Charles Lindberg's flight to Paris in 1927. bopping. joyful dance with a flowing style that reflects its music. calm and sophisticated. most steps are extremely smooth. it is smooth and solid without hopping. or prancing by the dancers. the Lindy Hop evolved in the streets of Harlem. and Twists. The Lindy Hop consists of both 6 and 8-count steps. The Lindy Hop grew up with great Swing bands of the era: the bands inspired the dancers and the dancers inspired the bands. Truckin's. Lindy Hop followers match the footwork of the leaders. Although the Lindy Hop can contain acrobatic moves. or very smooth. Lindy Hop History Lindy Hop developed as an African American dance. style is danced in a more upright position. based in part on the popular Charleston dance. Shag. one partner pulls the other from an open position into a closed position while pivoting 180 degrees.I. and every step taken is a weight change. Lindy Hop Distinctive Steps Lindy Hop dancers make use of lots of fancy footwork borrowed from the Charleston and Tap dancing. as well as "air steps" in which dancers perform aerial moves include daring backflips. horizontal lines. and Boogie Woogie. Instead. resulting in advances in both dance and musical expression that . precise and perfectly in sync with the music.

Exaggerated hip movements combined with long. quick steps contribute to the sensuous feel of the Mambo. creating a fluid motion and a sensuous atmosphere. Mambo Music and Rhythm In Mambo music." Mambo Action Some say the Mambo is a flirtatious. country. Mambo Characteristics The feel of the Mambo is based mostly on forward and backward movements. the inspiring music was Swing. sometimes almost raunchy. jazz and blues. with a tempo of 120-180 beats per minute. Mambo dancers appear quite passionate and seem to express that passion with the movements of their hips. On the third beat. Important to Mambo is the distinctive hip movement. including maracas and cowbells. Distinctive Mambo Steps The Mambo uses a 4/4 beat and is similar in rhythm to the slower Bolero. Whether referred to as Lindy Hop. hence the meaning of the word mambo: "shake it. Swing rhythms exist throughout rock. The mambo is a favorite of ballroom audiences because of its high energy level and infectious rhythms." with the foot moving on the second beat. but variety is what gives . sensual dance. the Mambo is enjoyed throughout the world at both the social and competitive dance levels. Jitterbug. with occasional points. Dancers swing their hips through each step. Beginners may be confused by the variety of Mambo rhythms. the Mambo is fascinating and diverse.would eventually evolve into Rock 'n Roll. kicks. and flicks of the feet. flowing movements and sharp. Popularized in recent years by singers such as Ricky Martin. The basic components of the dance include rock steps and side steps. making all of these music styles perfectly acceptable for dancing the Lindy Hop. The basic Mambo combination is counted as "quick-quick-slow. the weight shifts to the other foot. the rhythm is set by a variety of percussive instruments. returning to the original foot on the fourth beat. or Jive. MAMBO Originally from Cuba.

or walks. The tempo of Mambo also varies between musicians. The dancers may choose to enact the role of the torero. Because the dance developed in France. the Paso Doble is a progressive dance. Traditionally. bull. or Pasodoble. The forward steps. is a lively dance modeled after the drama of the Spanish bullfight. or Spanish dancer. the Paso Doble is both arrogant and passionate. banderillero. dancers take strong steps forward with the heels. and may change roles throughout the dance. PASO DOBLE Paso Doble. much . Paso Doble Action One of the most dramatic of all the Latin dances. The Paso Doble is performed more as a competition dance than as a social dance. History of Mambo The Mambo dance originated in Cuba as a mixture of Afro-Caribbean and Latin American cultures. with a wide range of 32 beats per minute to a challenging 56 beats per minute. picador. Based on Flamenco dancing. the man is characterized as the matador (bullfighter) and the lady as his cape in the drama of a Spanish bullfight. Mambo bands would hold friendly competitions to see who could create the best mambo rhythm." Paso Doble Characteristics The Paso Doble is a theatrical Spanish dance. Paso Doble History The Paso Doble originated in southern France and began gaining popularity in the United States in the 1930s. with time the Mambo gained popularity and became the favorite dance style that it is today. the steps of the Spanish Paso Doble actually have French names. Initially condemned by the churches and restricted by authorities in some countries. and incorporate artistic hand movements. should be strong and proud.In the Paso Doble. The Mambo is believed to have been named after the voodoo priests who thought they could send dancers into hypnotic states. a move in which he strongly stamps his foot. The man should also incorporate apel.Mambo its spice. Today the dance is making a comeback and is performed in ballroom competitions. In the past. Paso doble actually means "two-step.

Characteristics of Quickstep Elegant. with the chest and head held high to represent arogance and dignity. the Quickstep is lots of fun to watch. Much like the Foxtrot. Although difficult to master and perform. Distinctive Paso Doble Steps In Spanish. The bold. QUICKSTEP Much like a fast version of the Foxtrot. The basic feel of the Quickstep is slow-quick-quick. the Quickstep is a ballroom dance style composed of extremely quick stepping and syncopated feet rhythms in time to fast-paced music. inspiring music has a simple 1-2-1-2 march rhythm. Quickstep Action The Quickstep usually follows a 4/4 time pattern. Upper body posture must be straight and strong throughout each movement. Most of the "slow" steps are taken on the heel. while most "quick" steps are taken on the balls of the feet. smooth and a matador strikes the ground in order to capture the attention of the bull. The tempo of Paso Doble music is usually a brisk 60 beats per minute. All moves of the Paso Doble should be sharp and quick. slow-quick-quick. It should appear that the feet of the dancers barely touch the ground. dancers should strive for elegance. and "quick-quick" taking beats three and four. History of the Quickstep . The body is held upright with the feet always directly underneath the body. Quickstep dancers are energetic while appearing extremely light on their feet. The Spanish Gypsy Dance has become the universal anthem of the Paso Doble. with very few rhythm changes. with "slow" taking beats one and two. The dance consists of several dramatic poses that are coordianted with highlights in the music. Paso Doble Rhythm and Music Paso Doble music has strong Flamenco influences. "Paso Doble" means "two step" and refers to the marching nature of the steps.

However." This dance of love is one of the most popular ballroom dances and is seen around the world at nightclubs. male lover and a coy. weddings and dance competitions. "Rumba" is a term that refers to a variety of dances or a "dance party. Once dancers have mastered the basic Quickstep steps. teasing woman. the Rumba is considered by many to be the sexiest of the ballroom dances. as many of its basic dance figures of the dance have a teasing theme in which the lady flirts with and then rejects her male partner. although it seems much faster to beginners. The dance is fun to watch. parties. but lacked long-term potential. turns. almost steamy. Rumba Characteristics The Rumba is a very slow. in 1927 the Charleston was combined with the Qucik Foxtrot resulting in a name that was much too long: the Quick Time Fox Trot and Charleston. The Rumba spotlights the lady's rhythmic body movements and hip actions resulting in intense. The tempo is a little faster than a brisk walking pace. earning the name Quick Foxtrot. Full of sensual movements. The Charleston appeared after this. many bands began playing the Foxtrot at a faster pace. RUMBA The Rumba is a dance that tells a story of love and passion between a strong.The Quickstep was developed in the 1920s in England. romantic dance with flirtation between the partners. scenes of passion. Music and Rhythm Music used for the Quickstep is usually jazz or swing with a brisk tempo of about 50 beats per minute. serious. so it became known simply as the Quickstep. Distinctive Quickstep Steps Distinctive to the Quickstep is an up-and-down. During this time. rise-and-fall swinging motion performed at a fast pace. History of Rumba . often with apparent sexual aggression. and runs are added to add variety to the dance.

The intensity of the Rumba is increased by sharp eye contact that is maintained between the man and the woman. Rumba rhythms. The Rumba is the slowest of the five competition Latin and American dances. sensuous leg and foot movements. is a very important element of the Rumba. it first came to the United States in the early 1920s. there are many types of Samba dances. Rumba Action The distinctive hip movement. Distinctive Rumba Steps The basic rhythm of the Rumba is quick-quick-slow with distinctive side-to-side hip movements. Ballroom partner Samba. These hip movements and characteristic sways of the Rumba are generated by the bending and straightening of the knees. is made up of many different South American dances mixed into one. Blues. but are not generated by the hips . In Brazil. and other popular music types. knee and leg action. in 4/4 time. pans and spoons. one of the popular Latin dances in ballroom competitions. One full step is completed in two measures of music. the Samba is considered the dance of celebration and joy at Carnival celebrations in Rio. also emphasizes the strong. The stillness of the upper body. . Hip movements are exaggerated. ankle. a Samba dancer is known as a Sambista. Rumba Music and Rhythm Rumba music is written with four beats to each measure. the hips take care of themselves. called Cuban Motion. Lively and rhythmical." Originating in Cuba. just like there are many types of Samba music. When these weight transfers are well-controlled.The rumba is often referred to as the "grandfather of the Latin dances. The music tempo is usually about 104 to 108 beats per minute. have found their way into Country Western.they are simply a result of good foot. Rock. while adding dramatic intensity. SAMBA Developed in Brazil during the 19th century. The music is sometimes enhanced by homemade instruments from the kitchen such as pots. while once influenced by African-style music.

The basic rhythm is "quick. quick. Samba History Introduced in 1917. and. the "Samba Bounce Action. In Brazil. Samba is mostly danced solo. This bounce action is quite difficult to master. the Samba is one of the five Latin competition dances.. swaying motion of the dancers.Samba Characteristics Before Samba became a ballroom dance style. In International style Latin dancing. The main characteristics of the Samba are rapid steps taken on quarter beats and a rocking. led with alternating feet. and remains especially popular during celebrations of Carnival." gives the dance its unique look and feel. and acrobatic feats into its basic set of figures. slow. Samba dancers must strive to make this action appear effortless and carefree. Over the years. the Samba has incorporated elaborate tricks. As with the solo Samba. Distinctive Samba Steps The basic footwork of the Samba includes fast. rhythmic action felt through the knees and ankles.. Samba Action The major action of should never be exaggerated." Distinctive Samba steps include the following: Voltas Bota Fogos Kick Change Samba Side Steps Samba Strut . partner ballroom Samba has a quick beat that requires fast footwork. but really adds to the overall character of the Samba. three-step weight changes with a slight knee lift. there were many styles of partner dances as well as solo Samba dances. the Samba wasn't adopted by Brazil as a ballroom dance until 1930. turns. The festive mood of the dance is responsible for its continued popularity. The Samba Bounce Action is a gentle.

" characterized by strong. the tango is a sensual ballroom dance that originated in Buenos Aires. chocalho. including the tamborim. or in close embrace.. The popularity of the tango has greatly increased over the years. While dancing the tango. Tango Styles Several different styles of tango exist. but once it spread beyond Buenos Aires. with its distinctive rhythm. each with its own individual flair. the tango was performed only by women. The fast and energetic rhythm of Samba music encourages spontaneous dancing.. She holds her head back and rests her right hand on the man's lower hip. is highlighted by original Brazilian musical instruments. such as in the streets during a Carnival celebration. Argentine Tango retains the intimacy of the original concludes with dancers throwing back their heads and extending their arms out to the sides. TANGO One of the most fascinating of all dances. Many people are familiar with "ballroom tango. dramatic head snaps. Tango dancers must strive to make a strong connection with the music . it developed into a dance for couples. Most of the styles are danced in either open embrace. The count of the music is either 16 or 32 beats.The Samba also has a distinctive. where the couple is closely connected at either the chest or the hip area. Samba Rhythm and Music Samba music. Argentina in the early twentieth century. recoreco and cabaca. the lady is held in the crook of the man’s arm. Argentine Tango is much more intimate than Modern Tango. with the couple having space between their bodies. dramatic climax. Tango Techniques Tango is danced to a repetitive style of music. Tango is usually performed by a man and a woman. and is well-suited to dancing in small settings. expressing an element of romance in their synchronized movements. Originally. Samba is danced to music with a tempo of about 100 beats per minute. The man must allow the lady to rest in this position while leading her around the floor in a curving pattern.

The Viennese Waltz is a quick. This simplied social version is a beautiful. Viennese Waltz Characteristics . as evidenced by the various movies developed around the dance. original Waltz often featured in old films. Take the Lead. Smith. Mr. The dance spread quickly through Europe during the 1900's. The elegance and charm of the Viennese Waltz reminds us of glamorous balls in the palaces of Europe. revolving gracefully around each other. such as Scent of a Woman. A waltzing couple rotates around the floor. Tango began gaining popularity in New York around 1910. and afterward by most of the world's great orchestras. For most Americans. Shall We Dance. Astor Piazzolla best exemplifies this duality. rotating dance. VIENNESE WALTZ The Viennese Waltz is the classic. Tango music has become one of the greatest of all music genres throughout the world. Several films showcase the tango. but eventually Piazzolla won out. then moved on into the United States. & Mrs. His tangos have been recorded by the Kronos Quartet. Spanish settlers were the first to introduce the tango to the New World. Tango History Early tango styles greatly influenced the ways in which we dance today. Ballroom tango originated in working-class Buenos Aires. Tango Music Argentine tango shares with American jazz decidedly working class origins that quickly attracted the interest of classical composers and folk composers who elevated their art. non-strenuous dance that dancers of all abilities can enjoy. and Frida. slow Waltz. Piazzolla's tango innovations were at first derided by tango purists who hated the way Piazzolla incorporated non-tango musical elements in his compositions (a battle the jazz police and jazz fusion listeners are still waging in the U. much faster-paced than the classic.S).as well as their audience. Tango Popularity Tango has become very popular in recent years. True Lies. who were early advocates.

The dance has a delightful. or popular Top 40 hits. then became popular throughout Europe and America. WALTZ . Viennese Waltz History The Waltz developed in Central Europe. Viennese Waltz Action The principal action of the Viennese Waltz is the sweeping turns that move gracefully around the floor. celtic. The music is usually written in 6/8 time with a fast tempo of about 180 beats per minute. Viennese Waltz Distinctive Steps The simple moves of the Viennese Waltz are comprised of one gentle swing action to each bar of music. and the steps are small and compact. stamina and timing as they rotate charmingly around the dance floor. This dance is known for its simple and elegant rotational movement. many of which are not Viennese." The dance arrived in Vienna during the 1800s. elegant Viennese Waltz. The following steps are distinctive to the Viennese Waltz: Basic Natural Lilt Step Basic Reverse Lilt Step Stationary Lilt Step Viennese Waltz Rhythm and Music Viennese Waltz music belongs to the music genre that accompanied the fast Waltzes of the the Romantic era in Vienna. Almost always instrumental. The music of Johann Strauss helped to popularize the faster. country. The rise and fall action is abrupt and shallow. lilting feel. classical. Dancers today enjoy many different styles of Waltz music. Viennese Waltz music is written for orchestras of various sizes. originating from the Austrian folkdance known as the "Landler.The Viennese Waltz is characterized by sweeping turns that move gracfully around the floor. vocal. The Vienesse Waltz can be danced to music that is instrumental. Dancers exhibit graceful fluency.

the Waltz has continued to develop throughout the 20th century. parallel with the floor instead of up and down. continuing on to the second and third beats of the music. Developed in Germany. the Waltz is popular all over the world. slide. yet elegant and beautiful dance. On the first beat of the music. the Waltz is the basis for many dances. Dancers should move their shoulders smoothly. then relaxes through the knee and ankle. Considered by some as the "mother of present day dances" and the "backbone dance" of the ballroom. ending on a flat foot. Waltz Characteristics The Waltz is a smooth dance that travels around the line of dance. the Waltz includes a step. The Waltz was born as an Austro-German folk dance known as the Landler. The music of Johann Strauss helped to popularize the Waltz. flowing movements. the Waltz is comprised of soft. Waltz Action Unique to the Waltz are the techniques of "rise and fall" and "body sway. making the Waltz a simple. Body sway gives couples a pendulum-like look.The romantic Waltz is one of the most popular ballroom dances of all time. Waltz Distinctive Steps The basic movement of the Waltz is a three-step sequence consisting of a step forward or backward. a step to the side. This stylish action gives couples an upand-down appearance as they glide effortlessly around the floor. Waltz History Based on basic techniques originating during the 1920s. A truly romantic dance. a step is taken forward on the heel. Dancers must strive to lengthen each step. Characterized by its "rise and fall" action. These actions should be smooth and confident. swinging and swaying their upper bodies in the direction they are moving. then onto the ball of the foot with a gradual rise to the toes. round. which was characterized by the rotating movements of partners dancing together. and step in 3/4 time. and a step closing . At the end of the third beat." Rise and fall is the elevating and lowering that a dancer feels as he or she moves onto the toes. the heel is lowered to the floor to the starting position.

corresponding to the extended.3. the Waltz is easy to recognize and simple to learn. . counted as "1. Quick" or "1." The first beat of each measure is accented.2. With its distinctive rhythm pattern. .2.the feet together. highly-stretched step that is taken on the first count." Waltz Rhythm and Music Waltz music is written in 3/4 time. Quick. The timing of the steps are called as "Quick.