It’s no secret that rhythm and Latin dances are a staple of performing arts, and you don’t have to be a professional dancer to confidently perform these types of routines. Each dance shares key characteristics of self-expression and improvisation while maintaining individuality through set steps and movements throughout. We’ll cover all of this in our rhythm and Latin dance classes to have you leaving the studio feeling confident that you can perform these dances on your own.
- Swing/East Coast Swing: This relaxed and carefree style features varying speeds for the exciting challenge of perfecting quick footwork and the art of leading and following with your partner. It features a signature beat pattern of two consecutive triple-step moves, followed by a rock step.
- West Coast Swing: This slotted dance is meant for partners, as the leader stays in one spot while the follower moves around a rectangular “slot” area. It can be performed to practically any genre of music and includes signature dance steps like coaster steps, taps and shuffles.
- Jive: Considered a freeform style of dance, the Jive is defined by high-energy movements and a very fast beat, of which the standard is 176 beats per minute. Each move starts with a back step and links many more complex moves that tend to make dancers move in a clockwise motion.
- Hustle: A dance straight from the disco era of the 1970s, the Hustle involves a rapid yet smooth movement that involves the constant spinning of one partner, who is being led by the other partner. There are four steps – two forward and two backward – made into just three beats of music through alternating sets, which our certified instructors will walk you through.
- Lindy: This subcategory of swing dance is highly improvisational in nature to allow dancers with the creative freedom to truly express themselves. It is based on different American dances, including Jazz, tap, the breakaway and the Charleston, and mixes in African-American styles with a traditional European eight-count beat structure. It can be performed solo or with a partner.
- Cha-Cha: Fun and lively, this dance is famous for its “One, Two, CHA-CHA-CHA” beat that is hard not to recognize. It features a flirty and cheeky style that is similar to the Mambo and Rumba but is unique with its triple step movements at the end of each beat pattern. There are many syncopated steps and open movements that allow for variations in the Cha-Cha, which our certified instructors will take the time to demonstrate for your full understanding.
- Rumba: The African word for “party,” Rumba’s style of dance is quite literal, as it is the most expressive Latin and rhythm dance in terms of sensuality, passion and flirtation. It’s been around for over 400 years and features distinguished side-to-side hip movements that follow a basic pattern that’s easy to learn.
- Merengue: Originating in the Dominican Republic, this dance is one of the simplest to learn, thanks to quick rhythm that makes it easy to pick up on the hip-sway motion. It combines one-step timing with Cuban Motion, the foundation of many Latin dances, and a march-type beat that helps sharpen dancers’ timing and coordination.
- Samba: Known as a spot dance, you can learn this dance’s basic one-and-two steps first before building upon them. Leading partners step forward with their left foot on “one,” while followers step back with their right foot at the same time. “And-two” means both dancers close their feet and switch weight with every count. The most important and unique aspects you’ll learn is bouncing with an upswing to the motion and the stepping high enough as if going over a log.
- Mambo: Translating literally to “conversation with the gods,” the goal of the Mambo is to allow sound and movement to flow naturally through the body in a way that emulates freedom. Its complicated footwork involves a signature three-beat step and the hip-swaying motion that is a true signature of Latin dance.
- Salsa: The national dance and music of Puerto Rico, Salsa implies a spicy style that combines jazz and Afro-Cuban beats for an aggressive, high-energy pulse. Partners move together as one and must embody passion for the music and one another in order to be truly convincing on the dance floor. There are more complex variations of the dance depending on where you live that adds more forms of beauty and technique to the world of dance.
Your Local Dance Experts
Whether you’re a beginner or advanced dancer, these rhythm and Latin dances are useful to know, as they are a popular style of dance for ballrooms and many other occasions. Our passionate instructors take you through the process of learning precise footwork and muscular control during our rhythm and Latin dance classes in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. You’ll also develop a clearer interpretation of musical rhythm that can carry over into other types of dances. For more information, give us a call today at 414-877-0799 or stop into Arthur Murray Whitefish Bay Dance Center on 109 East Silver Spring Drive.