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Learn to dance your first dance with confidence and style.
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Click any of the following links to read about each dance:
Cha Cha |Foxtrot | Merengue | Salsa | Samba | Rumba | Waltz

Types of Dances

Cha Cha

Bride and groom first dance at their reception

Cha Cha is great fun and is danced to medium tempo music with a Latin beat that is a bit slower than Salsa but faster than Rumba. It also works well with certain club music and Hip Hop of the past few decades. You can learn Cha Cha in both the Latin Ballroom Group Dance Class and Ballroom Sampler Group Dance Class.

History of Cha Cha

Like Mambo and Rumba, Cha Cha originated in Cuba. Cuban Mambo dancers would sometimes use a triple hip movement in their Mambo, which evolved into a triple-step and thus Cha Cha was born. Introduced in the US in the 1950s, Cha Cha rapidly gained popularity in a Desi Arnaz primed-America. (Unfamiliar with Desi's cultural contributions? Please check out this brilliant Babalu from I Love Lucy.)

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Bride and groom first beautiful lighting

Fox Trot is a perfect dance for parties and weddings. It is danced to the great Jazz Standards (think Sinatra). It uses songs in 4/4 rhythm, which are the bulk of songs you hear today. Fox Trot can be romantic and casual, or danced more formally depending on your partner, mood and the music.

It is traditionally danced as a traveling dance (meaning couples move around the dance floor). However, if the floor is too crowded or small, the Fox Trot can easily be adapted so you can do the dance without traveling.

Our Ballroom Sampler Group Dance Class covers the basics of Fox Trot. You don't need a partner for this group dance class and you will also learn a sampling of the other major dances.

History of Foxtrot

Fox Trot is commonly attributed to Harry Fox, who was a Vaudeville performer active in New York in the 1910s and became a nation-wide craze thanks to a number of popular dancers of the time including Vernon Castle and Oscar Duryea. The Fox Trot combines slow and quick steps which allow for a great variety in the steps and was originally danced to ragtime music.

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Bride and groom first dance turn

Merengue is the easiest dance in the world to learn and Merengue music can be heard in Latin nightclubs around the world. It is a one-step, meaning you take one step per beat, and while the music is upbeat, the moves can be executed without a rush.

Merengue is offered in both the Ballroom Sampler Group Dance Class and the Latin Ballroom Group Dance Class.

History of Merengue

Merengue is attributed to slaves in Haiti and the Dominican Republic and dates back to the late 1800s. The dance is characterized by a sort of clipped hip movement. As to the origins of the style of movement there are many varying histories. One story goes that a military captain was very fond of the dance and when he returned from battle wounded, he had a limp accounting for the unique hip movements used in the dance. Another story is that a king was born with a birth defect which caused a limp and in order to make him feel more comfortable, his court mimicked his movements. Most likely, the slaves working the cane fields had to wear shackles, which made them move with shortened steps, but who knows?

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South asian bride and groom first dance

Rumba is the most romantic of the Latin dances as well as one of the most popular ballroom dances. The slower tempo of Rumba makes it easy to learn, but the music is exciting enough as to prevent it from feeling like the valium shuffle.

This dance is so popular, it is offered in both the Ballroom Sampler Group Dance Class and Latin Ballroom Group Dance Class.

History of Rumba

Rumba originated in Cuba and was introduced in New York City in the early 1900s. At that time in Cuba, couples were enjoying a dance called Son. When it was brought to New York City, the name was changed to Rumba. In Cuba, the name Rumba was associated with a faster dance, not the slow, smooth dance presently connected to the name in the United States. The Rumba danced in the ballrooms of America is a direct descendant of Son, and the original Cuban Rumba morphed into Mambo and then Salsa.

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Father and bride dance

Salsa is one of the hottest dances around. It is danced to fast music that can be found at numerous Latin night clubs around town. You can learn Salsa in the Latin Ballroom Group Dance Class or the Ballroom Sampler Group Dance Class.

History of Salsa

Like many of the social dances alive today, Salsa's roots can be traced to a blending of European and African musical and dance traditions which occurred as a result of European descendants importing African slaves to the New World. Salsa's history reads like the family tree of Cuban music, Rumba gave birth to Mambo, which in turn gave birth to Salsa.

There is still much dispute about using the word Salsa verses Mambo to describe the music and dance. Tito Puente, one of the most famous Latin band leaders, was quoted as saying, "Salsa is what you eat."

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Bride and groom beautiful dip

Samba is a very energetic dance, danced to lively music. The Samba can whip you into shape like no other.

You can learn the Samba in the Ballroom Sampler Group Dance Class and in the Intermediate Latin Ballroom Group Dance Class.

History of Samba

Like many dances, as they travel the world and as time goes by, the dances change from their original form. The Samba's roots lie in Brazil. Like Jazz, the rhythms and dance of the African slaves and the Portuguese colonialists came together to create a unique and novel music and dance.

The first Brazilian dance imported to the United States around 1910 was the Maxixe (also known as the Brazilian Tango). Then, around 1917 the Samba was introduced and became popular in the 1940s.

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Classic bride and groom first dance

Waltz is a beautiful and graceful dance characterized by a gentle rise and fall as couples glide around the floor turning as they progress. Waltz is danced in 3/4 time with an emphasis on the one (or first beat of every measure).

Learn to Waltz in the Ballroom Sampler Group Dance Class or you can opt for private lessons.

History of Waltz

Waltz is one of the oldest partner dances still alive today. It's folk origins are said to be either Bavarian or Austrian. When the Waltz initially hit high society in the 1800s, it was scandalous due to the position of the man's hand on the woman's waist and the close proximity to the partner. Now, thanks to many ruined reputations before you, couples can dance Waltz freely without worrying about a loss of social standing.

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Learn about other types of dance at our sister site, www.TheRhythmRoom.net.


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Photos courtesy of Bill McCullough Photography unless otherwise noted.