Cruising or spending vacation time in the Caribbean? This lesson will familiarize you with the basic steps in Merengue and Salsa so that you can get up and dance under the sunny skies of the Islands or around the pool of the ship.
WHAT IS A SOCIAL DANCE?
Social dance is the name given to dancing done in a social setting. This could be Disco and Rueda, danced in groups, or just two people enjoying moving together to a musical rhythm. It could be that you are at a house party, bar, nightclub, vacation resort, cruise or hotel ballroom. These are all great social dance venues. Though the dancers can output a lot of energy in some social dances, it is relaxed fun and should not be confused with Competitive Ballroom or Latin dancing, known as Dancesport.
This dance was discovered in Cuba in the 1950s and received its name from the shuffling sound that the dancer’s feet made. It developed into a saucy dance using varying rhythms to challenge the music. Today’s Pop music by such artists as Lady Ga Ga, Rhianna, Beyonce, Thaio Cruz lends itself to this fun dance.
A “little” faster version of Waltz brought to North America by the village folk in some European Countries. In the Maritimes this dance is found in Celtic and Country/Western music.
Actually there is not a dance called Jive. The dictionary explanation of Jive is “glib, deceptive or foolish talk” (Webster”s dictionary). The explanation of it being a dance is a modern day addition to the definition. The Swing Era music started a trend of different speeds and characters leading us to learn Lindy Hop, Rock and Roll, East Coast Swing and West Coast Swing. All are built on the use of a triple step combined with single steps. Baby Boomers would be very familiar with Jive music since the 50s and 60s were full of great bands and singers. Those were good old Rock’n Roll days. Having said this, don’t mistake that there is lots of great “jive” music out there today both in the Pop and Country genres.
The Polka is a lively dance with it's origin in Europe and can be found in North America's Celtic, Country and Ethnic musics.
The Quickstep is a bright, energetic, happy dance, developed in the 1920's.
Often referred to as “touch dancing”, these are the most used slow dances. They are meant for small dance floors as found in pubs and bars. It is a recommended for the gentleman’s dance repertoire because he will be able to lead anyone with it. It makes him a popular inclusion at gatherings as small as the “night out” or the dreaded convention dinner dance.
The Rumba originated in Cuba and is a dance of passion. Slow, rhythmical and sensual describe this Latin dance.
Salsa was the outcome of the movie Dirty Dancing though it wasn’t called Salsa in the film. Salsa means “spicy” and so we have spicy dancing based on an older latin dance called Mambo. Salsa is a “today” take on this dance because it is the version danced by the “street dancers” or true “social dancers”.
As the Puerto Ricans and Cubans found their way to North America, especially in the Florida and New York State areas, they brought with them their built in sense of balance and rhythm. Matching this with the fabulous authentic latin music played in the clubs turned everyone’s eyes to admire this genetic trait. Wanting to emulate that physical rhythm has created a huge Salsa wave everywhere. Adding rhythms such as Batucada has helped sustain the Salsa popularity.
There are only a few original latin American dances. This would include Rumba, Son, Samba, Merengue, Cha Cha, and Mambo. The Music and Movie industry have caused the rise of other dances which attach themselves to the exciting Latin flavour.
Considered the “Carnival” dance of Brazil and realizing its roots from African heritage, the dance is grounded, earthy and primal. Why did it become connected with Carnival? Because one can’t sit still when Samba music is playing Carnival goes on 24/7. This dance is full with rhythm and excites the human’s nerve endings causing the body to want to twitch and move.
Named after it's inventor and entertainer, Harry Fox, the Foxtrot is a slow, elegant, flowing dance. It is a standard or ballroom dance is not the same as the social Foxtrot or Rhythm dance.
Though there are different styles of Tango i.e. Argentine, International, American Style, it all boils down to the same dramatic passion portrayed by this dance.
A “fast” version of waltz with strong turning action moving continuously around the floor. Viennese Balls are becoming popular again all over the world.
This is an elegant slow dance using swing and sway to make it rotate while moving around the floor.