The Foxtrot is still one of the most popular social dances in the United Staes. It is a smooth dance where the dancers travel across the dance floor. Invented by Vaudeville actor Harry Fox (AKA Arthur Carringford) in 1914, was referred to as “Fox’s Trot”. The Foxtrot is one of easier dances to pick up, but one of the hardest to master. The Foxtrot is a favorite among ballroom dancers of all skill levels, it is a popular social dance, and due to its versatility, remains popular today, making the dance a popular choice for wedding couple’s first dance. Popular Foxtrot music includes artists Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, to modern songs by Sam Smith, John Legend, and Katy Perry.
The slow Waltz was introduced in Boston, MA, in 1834 by master Lorenzo Papatino. His Boston Waltz blended with the Hesitation Waltz to create the American Waltz.
The American waltz has more freeform dance moves than the other styles and has a large variety of arm movements and foot patterns. Similar to the Viennese waltz, dancers move counterclockwise around the dance floor. to the 3/4 time, the Waltz is an elegant dance,. Famous modern Walts songs include Journey’s “Open Arms” and Norah Jones’ “Come Away With Me”.
American Style Tango evolved as a ballroom dance from the sultry Argentine Tango danced by gauchos and prostitutes in the brothels of Buenos Aires. Tango was one of the first dances to bring couples intimately together in a passionate embrace and is likely one of the reasons that it has been shared and transformed in different areas all over the world. American Tango features sharp movements, head snaps, and a staccato, cat-like and stealthy foot action. Popular American Tango music includes songs like “Hernando’s Hideaway”, by Archie Bleyer, “Poker Face”, by Lady Gaga, and “Mi Confesion”, by Gotan Project.
The Viennese Waltz is a classic dance style that is featured in many romantic movies and animated films. Emerging in the 18th Century, it is characterized by sweeping, graceful turns that rotate quickly around the floor. The American Smooth Viennese Waltz features more freedoms in the dance holds, arm movements, and step patterns. Although it shares many similarities to the slow Waltz, such as 3/4 timing, it is danced at a much faster tempo—twice the speed of the slow Waltz. American Smooth Viennese Waltz music includes “Que Sera Sera," by Doris Day, “Blue Danube," various artists, to the modern songs like “A Thousand Years," by Christina Perry and “Kiss From A Rose, by Seal.
The American Rhythm Bolero arrived in the US in the mid 1930s and has very similar origins to the Rumba, often called “the Cuban dance of love”. The Bolero is a hybrid of Tango, Waltz, and Rumba, and is characterized by smooth gliding movements, dramatic arm styling, and a very romantic feel. A bolero dance between two people would be a representation of a romantic love song. Modern Bolero music includes songs like “Hands On You,” by Ashley Monroe, “Y Que Creias," by Jose Feliciano, and “Walk On By," by Diana Kroll.
An offshoot of the Mambo, originally called the Cha-Cha-Cha, the Cha Cha became popular in the1950s. In the slower mambo tempo, there was a distinct rhythm in the music that people began dancing along with, calling the step the “Triple Mambo," which eventually evolved into the modern Cha Cha. The Cha Cha is a quick and flirty dance characterize be three quick steps, and two slow steps, accented by the cuban motion of the hips. Cha Cha music includes “Oye Como Va,’ performed by various latin artists, “24K,” by Bruno Mars, “Havana,” by Camila Cabello, and “Smooth,” by Santana.
Rumba is universally recognized as the “dance of love,” distinguished by its romantic feel. It is a non-progressive dance to slow music with a Latin feel and features flowing “Cuban Motion,” which gives the Rumba a sensual feel. Popular Rumba music includes songs like “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps,” by Mari Wilson, “Photograph,” by Ed Sheeran, and “Rayito de Luna,” by Jose Feliciano.
The East Coast Swing developed from the Lindy Hop during the 1940s. It is one of the most popular of all the swing dances and tends to be one of the easiest to learn. East Coast Swing is known by many different names and has numerous variations: Jive, Jitterbug, Shag, Lindy Hop, and Charleston, and includes three different speeds in use: single, double and triple time. Although traditionally danced to big band style songs, many are swing dancing to current pop, rock, and country music tunes. Songs like “All Shook Up,” by Elvis Presley, “Jump, Jive, and Wail,” by The Brian Setzer Orchestra, and “You Shook Me All Night Long,” by AC/DC.
The Mambo is one of the most vivacious of all the Latin dances. Originating in Cuba, the Mambo has stylistic origins in Cuban Danzon, Son cubano, and swing. The Mambo is characterized by exciting energy, enticing rhythms, strong hip movements, quick footwork and unique wraps and turns. Additionally, the Mambo is considered sexy and flirty. Mambo music includes the likes of “Ran Can Can,” by Tito Puente, “Guaglione,” by Perez Prado, and “Mama Wanna Mambo,” by Meghan Trainor in 2022.
Two-step is a Western dance whose popularity has spread all over the world. There are many variations of the Two-Step influenced by local dancers and music. Typical Two-Step consists of two fast steps forward, followed by two slow steps forward. Two-step can be danced to contemporary country music and is a very popular dance at many country western clubs and social events. Two-Step songs and artists include: “Heartland,” by George Strait, “Rita Ballou,” by Vince Gill, and “Indian Outlaw,” by Tim McGraw.
The Country Western Night Club Two-Step, sometimes referred to as the “Nite Club”, or the Country Western Rumba, is a new social dance sweeping the country western night clubs. It is danced to slower, romantic country songs, and is characterized by slow side step incorporating sway, and a progressive, cross-over step. Typical Country Western Night Club Two-Step Songs and artists include: “I Hope You Dance,” by Lee Ann Womack, “ Simple Song,” by Lyle Lovett, and “For My Daughter,” by Kane Brown.
The Triple Two-Step is one of the newest dances of the Country Western genre. The Triple Two-Step is also called the country shuffle or the Fort Worth Shuffle. It gets its name because the footwork requires two traveling triple steps, followed by two walking steps. It is typical danced to medium speed ballads such as: “There’s No Way,” by Alabama, “Smooth,” by Florida-Georgia Line, "Leaving' the Light On" by Darius Rucker, and “Human,” by Cody Johnson.
The Country Western Waltz shares it's origins with the American Waltz and is similar in its execution with a few exceptions. Typically incorporates more open positions as well as passing footwork. Songs and Artists include: "Tennessee Waltz" by Patti Page, "When I Said I Do" by Clint Black & Lisa Hartman Black, "Over Drinking" by Little Big Twon, and "Austin" by Blake Shelton
Viennese Waltz is a new addition to the country western competition circuit. Essentially the same dance as American Smooth Viennese Waltz, just to country music. Songs and Artists include: “Alcohol,” by Brad Paisley, “Strawberry Wine,” by Deanna Carter, and “Tennessee Whiskey,” by Chris Stapleton, and "If You See Him, If You See Her" by Reba McEntire.
Country Western Cha Cha, the partnership version, is basically identical to the American Rhythm Cha Cha. It is fun and flirty, and uses the same technique as the Rhythm version. Some Country Western Cha Cha songs and artists include: “Drunk On Love,” by Brooks and Dunn, “Tequila Little Time,” by Jon Pardi, and “Islands In The Stream,” by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers.
The Polka originated as a Czech peasant dance, developed in Eastern Bohemia (now part of Czechoslovakia). The word “pulka” is derived from the Czech phrase for “half step,” which refers to the dance pattern of lightly stepping from one foot to the other. Polka is characterized by its lilting action and triple steps. It is popular social dance and a competitive dance on the Country Western circuit. Country Western Polka is danced songs and artists like: “5-1-5-0,’ by Dierks Bentley, “Rollercoaster,” by Keith Urban, and “Burnin’ the Honky Tonks Down,” by Alan Jackson.
Country Western East Coast Swing is the same as American Rhythm East Coast Swing, but danced to up beat, fast paced country hits. Some songs and artists include: “T-R-O-U-B-L-E,” by Travis Tritt, “God Blessed Texas,” by Little Texas, and “Why Don’t We Just Dance,” by Josh Turner.
Country Western West Coast Swing is essentially the same dance, with the exception that it is danced to country music. A popular social and competitive dance on the country western circuits. Some songs and artists include: “Dirt Rich,” by Brothers Osborne, “Oklahoma Breakdown,” by Toby Keith, and “Party Girl,” by Craig Morgan.
The Slow Foxtrot originally developed out of the faster version, simply called the Foxtrot (the American dance), between 1910-1915. It is characterized by long, flowing strides and gentle curves, with the bodies moving smoothly and continuously in contact. This version needs a lot of space to be danced properly and is considered be the most difficult of dances. It can be danced to Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald of old and Michael Buble and Diana Kroll of the modern era of singers.
The Slow Waltz, or the English Waltz, is the first and perhaps the most famous of the International Standard dances. It is a performed in 3/4 time and the dancers are in almost continuous contact or closed position. The Slow Waltz is characterized by rise and fall and by sway on the side steps. The dance progresses counter-clockwise and travels smoothly, gliding across the floor. Slow Waltz songs “Moon River,” various artists, “Come Away With Me,” by Norah Jones, and “Evensong,” by Secret Garden.
Similar to the American Smooth Tango, Standard or International Tango diverged from the Argentinian Style, the culture of the country was injected into the Tango creating another style altogether, now known as the Standard Tango.Although American and Standard (International) Tango were developed in much the same ways, Standard Tango is much more disciplined.
The Standard Viennese Waltz is very similar to the American Smooth Viennese Waltz. The major difference is the Standard Viennese Waltz remains in closed hold (contact) and is more disciplined. The speed of the Standard version is slightly faster. Standard viennese waltz is danced to classics like “The Blue Danube,” by Johann Strauss ,Jr., and “The Second Waltz,” by Dmitri Shostakovich.
The Latin (International) Rumba is considered to be one of the most beautiful Latin style dances, earning its nickname as "The Dance of Love." It is characterized by swaying hips, a still upper body, and close partner connections. Although it is traditionally danced to slow Latin music, it is now common to dance the Rumba to current, popular ballads. The main difference in Latin Rumba compared to American is step patterns and technique.
The Latin (International) Cha Cha is very similar to the American Rhythm Cha Cha. The big difference is in the technique and steps used. Latin Cha Cha music is usually slightly faster. The Latin Cha Cha is flirty and playful, like a first date dance, and expresses its character through dynamic changes and strong body lines. While there is some overlap in figures, they are not typically socially interchangeable. Latin Cha Cha Music is essentially the same as American Rhythm Cha Cha, “Tacones Rojos,” by Sebastian Yatra, is a good example.
The Samba is a Brazilian dance that has become popular all over the world. It is characterized by its lively, rhythmical, and energetic steps and is performed to music with a strong beat. The origins of the Samba date back to the 19th century when it was first danced by slaves in Brazil. The most distinctive feature of the Samba is the “bounce”.Popular modern Samba music may include Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita,” Enrique Iglesias’s “Baliamos,” and Danilo Rosero’s “Dejare la Puerta Abierta.”
The strongest and oldest dance lineage of the Jive dates back to the American dance genre known as Lindy Hop. The Jive is lively and fast-paced dance that is typically danced to up-beat swing or contemporary music. Some popular modern Jive music include Cristina Aguilera’s “Candyman,” Adam Ant’s “Goody Two Shoes,” and Kenny Loggins’s “Footloose.”
The Paso Doble is a passionate dance based on a Spanish bullfight. The leader represents the proud Spanish matador and the woman or follower is the Matador’s cape. The follower will sometimes also represent the bull, picador or flamenco dancer. It is a dramatic dance that tells a story through sharp, staccato movements, striking body poses, and flamenco style footwork. The most famous Paso Doble composition is the “Espana Cani”