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Dances We Teach
Originating in the melting pot of cultures that was Buenos Aires, Argentina – from the compadritos with nothing to their name except macho pride, this dance has become an international sensation.
In the beginning men danced together as there were few women, but tango inevitably moved to where they could be found, and it is said that these "working women" would choose their clients by their dancing skill.
In the mysterious way that popular culture develops, this dance moved up the social scale, only to later fall out of fashion. But in the early 1980s a stage show, Tango Argentino, toured the world and stimulated a world-wide revival.
Tango is danced with immense feeling, with a sense of energy flowing between the dancers. It is a seduction — a quietly shared private conversation.
Tango is about a connection between two people, the need to embrace and escape in the arms of another, albeit for just a brief moment of time and to, in that moment, live a lifetime.
Tango music has a feeling all its own. Check out "Pa' Bailar - Siempre Quiero Mas" by Bajofondo or "Tropilla de la Zurda" by Carlos Libedinsky.
Though often overlooked in the realm of Nightclub Latin dances, Bachata has a bit of similarity to Merengue or Rumba. Originating in the rural fringes of the Dominican Republic, it is danced in various parts of the world, but interpreted differently depending on the country.
The club-style versions of dances, compared to their "Latin-Ballroom" style counterparts, vary by region – and Salsa is no exception. The three main club styles of Salsa are "LA Style", "New York Style", and "Cuban Style".
Cuban Salsa is more of a circular dance, where the partners move around each other. New York and LA styles of Salsa are linear, where dancers mostly remain in a "slot" similar to West Coast Swing.
In California, the dancing "on 1" LA Style is the norm. It is more high energy than New York style, with a stronger focus on musicality and theatrics. This is the style you see danced on popular shows such as "Dancing with the Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance".
Cumbia is a Colombian folk dance and dance music. Cumbia is the combination of three cultures that settled in Colombia at different times: the indigenous peoples, the Spanish/Moorish, and the African slaves. Some claim that Cumbia began as a courtship dance among the slave population. It has now spread to the "world music" community and is highly popular in the Latin music scene.
Cumbia is very popular in all of South America, and there are lots of different flavors of it. In fact, it is mostly popular with the lower social classes and often scorned by the upper classes. Cumbia is not only popular in South America, but all over Central America and Mexico.
Another genre of cumbia that is not especially identified with the lower social classes is called "The 90's Cumbia" or "90's Glamorous Cumbia", and emerged in Buenos Aires in the late 90's. Using synthesizers and creating a more modern sound has brought this music and dance style into mainstream. The most representative bands and singers of the 90's Glamorous Cumbia are Ráfaga (in first place), Potencia, La Rosa, Gilda, Antonio Ríos, Los Charros, Media Naranja, Gauchos Pesados (with the Vizia Brothers) and Amar Azul.
Hustle / Disco
Made famous by the hit movie "Saturday Night Fever", Hustle refers to one of several couples' disco dances that became popular during the 1970s. Today it mostly refers to the unique partner dance, similiar to swing, that is enjoyed by couples in ballrooms and nightclubs.
"The Hustle" is also a popular line dance often enjoyed at parties and celebrations, but which has little in common with "Hustle" the partner dance.
Check out all those great Bee Gees hits from Saturday Night Fever to dance your Hustle.
Nightclub Two-Step / Slow Two-Step
Nightclub Two-Step ("NC2S" for short), sometimes "Disco Two Step" or "California Two Step", was initially developed by Buddy Schwimmer in the mid-1960s. The dance is also known in some regions as just "Two Step" and was "one of the most popular forms of contemporary social dance" as a Disco couples dance in 1978. It is frequently danced to slow or mid-tempo ballads in 4/4 time that have a characteristic Quick-Quick-Slow beat.
As with many of the "club" style dances, the tempo, styling, and characteristics of Nightclub TwoStep can vary by geographic region. Here at The Ballroom, we dance our NC2S to slower ballads – a classic example being the song "Lady in Red".
Unless otherwise indicated, The Ballroom has no affiliation with any of the dancers appearing in these videos.
(We just found them on YouTube as good examples for you to see the characteristics of a particular dance.)