– are a group of 10 pair dances that have different origins (both folk and elite, that is, from balls) and are divided into Latin and Standard Programs.
Standard Dances (International) – a group of 5 dances, which are performed with advancement along the line of dance (in a circle in a counter-clockwise direction) in constant contact between partners.
List of Standard Dances:
Today it is a full-fledged sport with complex technique and strict requirements for dancing and the appearance of dancers. Ladies should be dressed in appropriate ballroom dresses. Cavaliers should be dressed in black or dark blue tailcoats and wear a butterfly or tie.
Slow or English Waltz is an essential part of the European ballroom dancing program now. The appearance of a slow waltz is associated with the reaction of the world to the Viennese waltz, which is more dynamic and fast. The pace of the Vienna Waltz was quite fast, and soon composers began to write music that was much slower. From this music developed a new style of Waltz, called Boston, with slower turns and longer, sliding movements.
The main movement is a step, a step to the side, a prefix.
Tango originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Tango is one of the most mysterious dances in the world. After all, it combines restraint of characters, the austerity of lines, and unconcealed passion at the same time.
Modern tango has many varieties. Among them, there is a strict ballroom style and passionate Argentinian and unusual Finnish. Ballroom tango is a sports dance with strict dance norms and rules; there is no place for improvisation in it. Dancers perform ballroom tango with bent knees, it is distinguished by the sharpness of lines, expressive performance.
Foxtrot originated in the 20th century and was named after its founder, Hary Fox. The steps of the dance are long, smooth, sliding. Performing a slow foxtrot is difficult enough because dancers require good balance and constant control over each movement.
Quickstep is a type of foxtrot. It is performed easily, gracefully, dancers, as if weightless float above the dance floor. The dance consists of quick and slow combinations. Slow combinations are performed on two musical accompaniment accounts, fast – on one. The main figures of quickstep are the chassis and the main step.
The Viennese Waltz is one of the varieties of the waltz. The first Viennese Waltz dates from the 12th to the 13th century. Despite the fast pace, the Viennese waltz is characterized by smooth execution, grace that does not interfere with the rapid whirling and turns. The number of figures is quite limited, but despite this, the dance looks very dynamic and varied.
We don’t know if you can tell samba from salsa and rumba from bachata, but we bet – you don’t know the FULL list of Latin dances. We get it. Below is a list of all Latin American dances with detailed explanations and videos of the respective dance.
Latin dances are a collection of dances that have formed in Latin America. They include both folk (so-called social) and sports ballroom dances (International Latin).
List of Latin Ballroom Dances
The Latin program consists of 5 main dances such as:
(this list specified in the order of performance of dances at the contest, only in the category of professionals the first dance – chacha, the second – samba).
Ballroom Latin dances are strictly standardized, as part of the competition, there are clear rules and requirements for dresses and costumes of dancers, for their hairstyles. For each age category, there are strictly defined permitted dance figures and movements.
And it is only by moving into higher categories that the dancer has more and more opportunities to express himself: dresses become more unusual and brighter, the heel of the shoes – higher and movements more diverse, sensual and technically complex. This is the magic of ballroom dancing: when you come to the dance class as a child, you look at the senior dancers and look forward to being able to dance and perform just like them.
Well, let’s discuss each dance separately.
Samba is a dance characterized by hip movements and springy movements by the knees, the so-called “Samba Bounce”. The movement of the partners takes place along the line of the dance.
Time signature: 2/4 or 4/4, accentuated in the first and third (first more) kick.
Tempo: 50-52 beats per minute.
Basic moves: botafogo, corta jaca, volta, whisk.
Cha-Cha-Cha got its name and character because of the special repetitive main rhythm and specific instrument of maracas. In the cha-cha-cha, the dancers step on each beat, be sure to straighten their knees after each step, and actively work with their hips. The main characteristic movement for the cha-cha is the lock-step – the attachment of the non-supporting leg to the supporting one so that they join at the knee (when moving back and forth).
Time signature: 4/4.
Tempo: 30 beats per minute.
Basic moves: Basic, New Yorkers, Under Arm Turns, Away & Back, Chasses, Spot Turns.
This is a very sensual and romantic dance, unlike his Cuban rumba. This dance is quite slow, but every score and every moment of the music is filled with sensual and elaborated movements of partners. The peculiarity of performing rumba figures – transferring body weight to the “one” account without taking a step – makes the dance more interesting due to accented stops and accelerations; the dance seems to have its own breath.
Time signature: 4/4.
Tempo: 25-27 beats per minute.
Basic moves: Basic, Cucaracha, Side Step, Under Arm Turn, New Yorker, Hand to Hand, Aida.
The Spanish Pasodoble dance imitates bullfighting, where the male partner is the toreador, and the girl is the muleta. The main characteristic of paso doble is the position of the body. It is distinguished by its highly elevated breasts, hips forward. Bodyweight is on the front of the foot; most steps are done with the heel.
Fast and incendiary jive is the last dance of the competitive Latin program, so the dancers must show that they are not tired and are ready to perform it with greater return. Jive has basic steps made up of a fast syncopated steps left and right, together with a slower step back and return to the front. Jive is also characterized by the clear and quick kick movements.
Time signature: 4/4.
Tempo: 40-44 beats per minute.
Basic moves: Basic, Fallaway Rock, Fallaway Throwaway, Hip Bump, American Spin, Walks.
List of Social Latin Dances
The types of Latin dances described below are folk dances, that is, they were created on the streets of Cuba directly by the local population. These dances are not as standardized as a ballroom, but no less energetic and sensual.
Salsa has managed to harmoniously combine typical African folk dances with Cuban folklore. It dances in pairs as well as in groups. It has two main types – circular and linear. The main movements consist of a fast, fast, and slow step with 4 musical scores.
Bachata is a pair dance, which is distinguished by its intimacy, romanticism, sensuality. Its basis is very close finding partners in relation to each other. This is the main feature of the style – sensual romanticism. The movements are very smooth, wavy, the bodies of dancers often touch. The main movement of bachata is 4 steps from side to side, the last of which is highlighted by the accent (putting your foot forward or putting your foot on the sock).
Merengue is characterized by dance movements in close contact paired with the soft swaying of the hips. It has a faster tempo than bachata, although the two dances are very similar in many ways. In the merengue, improvisation of partners and flirting is important.
Reggaeton can be very different (duro, romantico, perreo), everything depends on the music, the dancer, and his preferences. The main characteristic is muscle isolation, i.e. moving one part of the body relative to a fixed body or another part of the body. This gives the dance contrast and distinguishes it from other Latin dances.
Greater temperament, freedom of expression of emotions, and luxurious musical accompaniment distinguish this dance. At the end of each tact, there is a slowdown, on the count of “four”, in the amount of 4/4. The dance is characterized by a clear rhythm and fast tempo.
The dance is performed slowly and very smoothly. It is danced exclusively in pairs. Slow and smooth movements, very close contact with a partner, mesmerizing Portuguese music create the atmosphere of dance kizomba.
Zouk consists of three counts. Dance moves are saturated with beautiful bends of the upper part of the body and deflections. The steps and turns are complemented by circular rotations, wave-like movements, and turns of the head. There are several types of Zouk, such as the Caribbean and Brazilian Zouk.
This well-known dance appeared under the influence of the popular song of the same name by the group Los del Río, in the clip of which the dance movements were shown.
Well, did you find out some new styles of Latin dances for yourself?
If so, write to us about it in the comments below.
And also be sure to share your impressions if you’ve tried at least one of them. We are very interested!
Let’s dance salsa! After all, this is one of the most incendiary rhythms of Latin dances. But here’s what I tell you: dancing salsa without knowing its history, it’s like never in your life and not dancing real salsa. Because real salsa lurks in its roots – in the history of origin and development. Let’s learn together how salsa appeared syncopated rhythms, its main steps, and hip movements, how this dance was enriched with different dance movements from other dance styles.
So, bellow you can find the timeline and facts about salsa dance origin.
History of the Term Salsa
Yes, originally in Spanish, the word “salsa” means sauce. Only in the 30s of the 20th-century salsa began to be called the musical genre and style of dance, which has its roots in African tribes. But about everything in order…
There are several versions of how this dance got its name. According to one of them, in 1928 the Cuban Ignacio Pineiro once shouted out “Echale Salsita!”, which means “Let’s add a fire!” and called his new energizing song that way. Later on, the phrase was transformed into “salsa”, and the dance of the same name gained a huge popularity. Until the 70s, the word “salsa” meant a combination of various Latin American rhythms and styles of dancing. Among them were cha-cha, mambo, pachanga, guaracha, rumba, and a number of others.
Although salsa is considered a Cuban dance, its history began far beyond Latin America…
So, in 1492 Christopher Columbus sailed to the shores of Cuba (he actually discovered it). The Spanish invaded the new lands and exterminated almost the entire population of Cuba. But someone had to do some hard work there. To do this, the Spaniards brought slaves from West Africa to the territory of Latin America. The supply of slaves went on for a long time, until 1886 when slavery was officially abolished. On this basis, it was the people of Africa who played a huge influence on the origin and development of salsa dance.
Around the second half of the 19th century, Cuban music, until then little different from European music, began to acquire special characteristic features. The reason for this is the influence of African culture, which was becoming stronger as the slave system on the island weakened.
That is, Afro-Cuban dance, which includes salsa dance, appeared as a result of the merger of two cultures: Spanish and African. Spanish culture brought string instruments and melody to music, while African culture (especially the Bantu, Yoruba and Karagali tribes) brought drums and other less known percussion instruments to music.
It is also worth noting!
Cuba’s slave-holding system was slightly different from that of the United States at the time. In Latin America slaves were not forbidden to make music, so they often sang in church choirs and played European musical instruments. This had a huge impact on the formation of music and dance culture in the local population.
Contradanza, Danzon, Son are the forefathers of salsa dance
It is believed that the first danzon, Las alturas de Simpson, was written by the mulatto Miguel Failde in 1879. However, this is a very simplified vision of the question. Dancing styles are not created “suddenly”, out of nothing. As a rule, they “grow” from older dances, evolving under the influence of many external circumstances. It was the same with the danzon dance.
The ancestor of the danzon dance was the contradanza. It took a difficult and long way in Cuba: having appeared in England, it spread to France and then was brought to Espanola (Haiti). And it was not until 1791, when a brutal slave uprising broke out in Haiti, that the mass flight of French colonists led many of them to Cuba, where they settled in the eastern part of the island. As a result, the French contradanza, similar to the minuet, took root surprisingly quickly on Cuban soil and was popular for almost the entire 19th century.
In the beginning, the rhythms of danzon did not differ much from the rhythms of the contradanza. The Danzon dance was the name of a paired dance, which gradually replaced the figure dance, ie the contradanza. At the end of 1877, composer Miguel Failde composed four danzon. This date is usually considered as the start of a period of huge spread and “acceptance” of dance danzon. The romantic of closeness of the partners, the swinging of the hips and the use of minimum space for dance gave the danzon its special feature.
Around untill 1920, danzon was Cuba’s national dance. But everything comes to an end. By the 1930s, danzon was almost gone in Cuba. And in many ways, the reason for this was that around 1920, Havana was inundated with another kind of dance – Son.
The Son Dance developed in parallel to the contradanza, but unlike the second, the Son is purely folk dance. The contradanza was performing by orchestras; the Son was a song accompanied mainly by drums. The merit of the Son dance lies in the fact that the freedom they afforded to spontaneous folk expression helped to enrich the dancing moves.
But by the end of the 1930s, jazz and swing brought to Cuba by the Americans did their job – danzon and son, so sweet to the heart of Cubans, began to lose popularity among the islanders…
“Mambo’s Father” Damaso Perez Prado was born in Matanzas in Cuba in 1916. From an early age he studied the piano. By the 1940s, thanks to his energetic manner of playing, he had become a well-known musician.
In 1948 Perez Prado left his native island and moved to Mexico, where he formed his own orchestra. Taking as a basis a rhythms of son-montuno, popular at that time in Cuba, the musician decided to bring his sound closer to the music of popular American big bands of that time. To do this, Perez Prado added trombones and saxophones to his orchestra, as well as increasing the pace of his compositions. Perez Prado, his orchestra and his new musical and dance style – mambo – quickly gained popularity in Mexico and then in the USA (one day, music producer Sonny Burke, who was on holiday in Mexico, heard Perez Prado’s song and published it in America, where it became a real hit).
Mambomania, which came to America in the 50-60s, had a significant impact on Latin American dance. Thus, it was Perez Prado who opened wide the doors for Latin American music and dance in the States and all over the world. This period is very important for the development of salsa dancing precisely because Latin dances have become popular all over the world, not only in Cuba.
So where’s the salsa dance?
The origin of salsa dance is not a momentary event, it is a diverse way of mixing of many cultures and dance styles. The emergence of such a dance as salsa is associated with the long transformation and spread of Cuban dances.
Cuban movements and dances in the form of mambo, cha-cha-cha, and others have gained wide popularity in the US. The turning point in the “standardization” of salsa as a dance was two major factors: the widespread use of household video equipment and the commercialization of salsa. And here we should mention two Torres, Eddie, and Alberta.
Since childhood, Eddie Torres was fond of Latin American dance, was a regular visitor to Latin American discos in New York. Being already a famous dancer, in 1995 Eddie Torres released his first video course called Salsa Nightclub Style. The video became popular and spread throughout the USA and then around the world.
The other pole of salsa dancing standardization was Los Angeles in California. The other Torres, Albert, played a leading role in spreading salsa on the West Coast. Albert Torres was the man who “promoted” salsa on the West Coast. He opened several salsa clubs, toured the best salsa dancers, was the first to hold salsa congresses.
That is, the name “salsa” and standardization of movements and techniques, Latin American dances have already received in the United States. What about the Cuban style, you ask? In Cuba, there are more Casinos and Rueda de casinos dancing than salsa dance brought from abroad.
It is not surprising that Cubans began dancing salsa almost the same way as the Son dance. Only the pace became higher, and the number of various “knots” increased. For a long time, it was not even a question of mass introduction of any standard – simply because Cubans did not need it. People did not learn salsa in dance schools, but naturally – dancing to their pleasure on holidays with friends and acquaintances. That is why the peculiarities of the dance varied from one city to another, and in Havana – and from district to district. It must be admitted, however, that thanks to Cuban television and, in particular, the popular program Para Bailar, the Cuban salsa dance style has almost taken shape.
Today salsa is a popular social dance. Salsa competitions, salsa dancers’ congresses are held all over the world, more and more schools are opened where salsa is taught.
Tell us if this article was useful for you if you learned much about salsa dance history. Perhaps you thought the salsa was a native Cuban dance, as we did before.
The history of dancing, in general, begins with the emergence of culture and even earlier. It is unlikely that we can not call tribal dances around the campfire dances.
15th-century – The appearance of the term “ballroom”
We can say that since the 15th-century dances – the ancestors of ballroom dancing – were born. In the Middle Ages and the knightly era, different kinds of meeting people like balls enjoyed great popularity. At such gatherings, court dances were roundelays, brunl (dance with jiggles and tributaries) and the pavana, which often was performed with candelabra in hand.
But based on an analysis of literary sources found that ballroom dancing and the term “ballroom” itself appeared in the 15th century in Italy and France. They became widespread due to the passion of secular society for balls – secular evenings when men and women gathered to dance.
17th-century, France – dance masters and teachers produce a variety of self-taught dancing. In 1661, by order of Louis XIV in Paris was opened “Academy of Dance” where was testing the knowledge of dancers, issued diplomas, arranged balls and evenings.
In the 18th century, new ballroom dances appeared: Pushpier, Museet, Rigdon, contradance. After the Great French Revolution ballroom dancing lost its aristocratic and magnificent character. The dances of lansier, landlord, mazurka, polonaise, gallop, cancan, polka, cotillion, cardingash won popularity.
In the 70s of the 18th century, the word “waltz” was used to refer to the peasant dance of some regions of Southern Germany and Austria, which since the beginning of the XIX century has become popular in all sectors of society in these countries, especially in Vienna and in the works of Johann Strauss, “king of waltzes”.
19th century – Changing and acquiring new facets, ballroom dancing became fashionable in many countries of the Old World. The waltz has taken a leading place among them due to the simplicity of movements and exciting melodies.
20th-century – the emergence and spread of competitive ballroom dance
More and more kinds of ballroom dancing were appearing, which made it necessary to standardize and systematize them. In 1904 in England there was the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing – ISTD.
And already by the 20s of the 20th-century, ISTD decided to standardize the dances known at that time (slow waltz, tango, Viennese waltz, slow foxtrot, quickstep). We can say that even then, the European competitive program of sports ballroom dance formed, as it is today.
In the same years, the first ballroom dancing competitions began to be held. There was a division into competitive and social ballroom dancing. Social dancing has remained a form of non-professional dance.
It is worth noting! England is the rightful leader of competitive ballroom dancing, where the English school of ballroom choreography was founded and still remains important. Blackpool Dance Festival, the most popular and prestigious ballroom dancing competition, is held in England.
In 1935, the Federation Internationale de Dance pour Amateurs – FIDA was organized in Prague. In 1956 the organization broke up, but a year later International Council of Amateur Dancers (ICAD) was founded.
At the end of the 40s of the 20th century, five Latin American dances (cha-cha-cha, samba, rumba, pasodoble, jive) joined the European ones.
In the early ’80s the term “dance sport” was introduced to denote a competitive form of ballroom dancing.
The 1990s – recognition of ballroom dance as a sport
Further development of ballroom dancing is closely connected with the process of its recognition as a sport and ICAD activities. ICAD was renamed the International Dance Sport Federation (IDSF) in 1990.
In 1995, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) provisionally recognized IDSF and DanceSport. And two years later, in 1997, the International Olympic Committee recognized dance sport and IDSF became a member of the IOC.
2011 – IDSF renamed to World DanceSport Federation – WDSF.
To date, there are two directions of ballroom dancing – sports, that is, competitive and social. A strictly defined dozen dances of the European and Latin American programs belong to sports dance. Social dances also include bachata, salsa and other types of pair dance.
In modern sports dances, there are many different figures, movements, ligaments, lines that can be used to create a program. The technique of athletes is constantly improving, absorbing the most significant technical aspects of the performance of the best dancers of the past and present. Outstanding dancers and their followers form various schools with their own individual styles. Some of them unite to form their own directions in sports dances. Competition rules strictly regulate the number and complexity of movements and figures in combinations for each of the categories. There are also rules for competitive suits and dresses.
The future. The tasks of the World Federation for the next fifty years are to include dance sport in the program of the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, and Youth Olympic Games.
Confused about the number of styles of ballroom dancing? Let’s figure it out together why in some sources they write about 12 or more directions of ballroom dancing, and in some – only about 10. We will tell in detail about each of the styles with the best video examples that we found on YouTube.
Well, let’s get started.
American VS International Ballroom Dance Program
For starters, let’s point out that ballroom dancing is a pair thing. There are two programs of ballroom dancing: American and International. American Program is danced mostly only in the U.S., International – around the world.
The International ballroom dancing program is strictly standardized and is a sport. For it is assigned a candidate for master of sports and therefore a master of sports. Competitions are held with the qualifying division of dancers into categories:
Each category also implies a division between beginners and professionals.
Typically, couples, when they begin their journey in ballroom dancing, dance and try to compete in both programs – and Latin American and standard. That is, they dance the so-called ten dances. But in the future, most often they choose one of the directions and professionally engaged only in it.
Let’s analyze each of the directions in more detail and start from Latin Styles.
– a dance that is characterized by frequent changes in partners’ positions, hip movements, the so-called bounce (springing movement in the knees at every step) and expressiveness. The rhythm of the dance is syncopated, which is typical for African American music in general.
The main movements: Samba-Walk, Whisk, Botafogo, Volta. Partners do not always dance the samba as a couple inseparably, they can perform some elements at a considerable distance from each other, such as Batucada or Crusade Walk.
Let’s see how beautiful samba performed by champions Riccardo Cocchi and Yulia Zagoruychenko.
Musical size – 4/4. Tempo moderately fast, 30-32 tact per minute. It is performed energetically and playfully, with movements around the hall.
The country of origin of this style in Cuba. The dance has received the name because of special repeating basic rhythm: cha-cha-1-2-3. The main movements: New York, Fan, Opening Out, Alemana. The movements are characterized by clarity and accuracy.
Musical size – 4/4. The tempo is moderate. Tactics per minute: 27-31. Emphasis: on 1 and 3 (1 stronger) kick. Performed in pairs, sensually and passionately, with movements around the hall. The rumba is characterized by hip movements and syncopic rhythm of steps, it emphasizes body movements more than legs. During the performance, the dancer as if fills the music with movements of the hips, arms, torso.
It is worth noting that rumba is a very romantic dance. It is a dance about love and all its movements are filled with sensuality. The main movements: Rumba Basic Movement, Alemana, Fan, Cucaracha, Natural Top, Opening Out, Spot Turn.
– a Spanish bull toreador dance. The partner in this dance plays the role of the cloak, which wriggles around the toreador. Musical size – 2/4. The tempo is moderately fast, 60 beats (120 beats) per minute. Performed following the dramatic nature of the music, with active movements on the stage.
The pasodoble is characterized by expressive strokes of hands, “Spanish” poses, causing a marching rhythm of the music. The main movements: Appel, Appel, Huit, Flamenco Taps, Spanish Line, Coup de Pique, Separation.
Musical size – 4/4. The pace is fast, 44 beats per minute. This is the last dance of the obligatory competitive Latin American program. It’s fervent, inflammatory and often very fast. In the course of dance steps, partners often open out of the pair, move away from each other, a lot of work with his hands and body. The steps are made from the toe.
Jive can be conditionally divided into swing and jump. In jumping jive figures are made with jumps, kicks, and flicks. In swing – by movements of the body, knees, and thighs. However, this division is conditional and usually during performances the figures of jumping and swing jive are combined.
5 dances of the European Programme
The Slow Waltz was formed on the basis of the Viennese (classical), which was quite often criticized. Dissatisfaction was caused by its exhausting and fast pace, constant rotation. Gradually, the music of the waltz became slower, a new kind of ballroom dancing appeared – the slow waltz. The slow waltz at balls is performed much less frequently than the Viennese one.
The musical size is ¾. The pace is moderate, 32 beats per minute. Performed smoothly and quietly, with movement in a circle. The dance is characterized by climbing the half fingers and lowering the whole foot with softening the knee, long and sliding movements, as well as slow turns.
The main movements: Whisk, Impetus Turn, Reverse Turn, Weave, Natural Turn, Natural Spin Turn.
Musical size – 2/4, 4/4. The tempo is moderate, 33 tacts per minute. Performed in close contact with a partner, with the advancement of the line of dance. The dance is characterized by the absence of ups and downs – tango dances almost constantly with bent knees.
For the tango of the sports ballroom international program is characterized by sharp changes in position, expressive movements, full contact partners in the hips, sharp elbows, in contrast to other dances of the European program.
Slow foxtrot is a long line, continuous, smooth progression, restrained force and flight. This dance requires good balance and constant control over each movement.
Slofox is the most difficult ballroom dance to study. The biggest difficulty is to perform fast steps without acceleration, and not too much to delay the step on the account of “slow”. It’s performed as a pair moves in a circle.
– is a special dance in which the dancing couples demonstrate graceful and smooth movements, the ability to control space at high-speed rotation and movement in the hall.
Musical size – ¾. The pace is fast, 60 beats per minute. Performed in pairs, the sixth leg position, with a wide movement in a circle. During the competition, unlike other dances of the European subgroup, the performance of the Vienna Waltz is only one minute.
– is light, lively, cheerful, filled with jumps, jumps with turns right and left.
Currently, the quickstep is dancing at a pace of 200 beats per minute. The main movements are progressive steps, chassis, turns, many other movements borrowed from foxtrot. The basic movement for beginners is the quarter turn. But the main it’s difference from other European dances are “jumping”, as in promotion, when a couple as if “poured along the parquet”, with or without turns, and on the spot, with the original kicks and more complex movements.
Quickstep is a very beautiful and elegant dance. Its movements are performed in the rhythm of “slow, slow, fast, fast, slow”. When performed correctly, they show great legwork. The lively steps, combined with light syncopated jumps, look very attractive and give the impression of fluttering.
The American ballroom dancing program:
East Coast Swing;
West Coast Swing;
Ballroom dancing – both sports and social – makes the body stronger, more resilient, sensual and plastic. Dance on an amateur level or professionally. But the main thing is to have fun with it!
If this article was useful for you and you finally understand the differences between the different lists of ballroom dancing, share your impressions in the comments or share the article in your social networks.