those who were seen dancing were thought to be
insane by those who could not hear the music.
(646) 271 6009
Tango: Tango: Born in the
African slums of Argentina it was stylized by
the slaves of Africa and
Gauchos to its present form. Tango is a very dramatic,
exciting dance and is known as the "Dancer's Dance".
Most people recognize Tango from the days of Valentino
to the "Tango Argentina". Tango is still very
popular today as movies like "Scent of a Woman"
& "True Lies" demonstrate. Tango is passionate,
aggressive, and fiery. Tango greatly improves
a man's lead and a woman's ability to follow (respond),
and develops a strong feeling for music. Move
with toe-leads instead of heel-leads. Hold the
lady much closer, and the man is expected to look
Tango Salon-style tango
is typically danced with an upright body posture
with the two dancers maintaining separate axes.
The embrace can be close or open, but it is typically
offset (with each dancer's center slightly to
the right of their partner's center) and in a
V (with the woman's left shoulder closer to the
man's right shoulder than her right shoulder is
to his left shoulder). When salon-style is danced
in a close embrace, which is common in Buenos
Aires, the couple typically loosens their embrace
slightly to accomodate the turns and allow the
woman to rotate more freely. When salon-style
is danced in an open embrace, which is uncommon
in Buenos Aires, the distance between the partners
allows the woman to execute her turns more freely
and pivot without requiring much independent movement
between her hips and torso. If the woman rotates
her hips through the turns independently of her
upper torso, the embrace need not be loosened
as much. Salon-style tango is typically danced
to the most strongly accented beat of tango music
played in 4x4 time, such as DiSarli. Those who
dance salon-style tango to Juan D'Arienzo or Rodolfo
Biagi typically ignore the strong ric-tic-tic
rhythm that characterizes the music. Salon-style
tango requires that dancers exercise respect for
the line of dance.
Tango Milonguero-style tango
is typically danced with a slightly leaning posture
that typically joins the torsos of the two dancers
from the tummy through the solar plexus (in an
embrace that Argentine's call apilado) to create
a merged axis while allowing a little bit of distance
between the couple's feet. The embrace is also
typically closed with the woman's right shoulder
as close to her partner's left shoulder as her
left shoulder is to his right, and the woman's
left arm is often draped behind the man's neck.
Some practitioners of this style suggest that
each dancer lean against their partner. Others
say that the lean is more of an illusion in which
each partner maintains their own balance, but
leans forward just enough to complete the embrace.
The couple maintains a constant upper body contact
and does not loosen their embrace to accommodate
turns or ochos, which can limit the couple to
walking steps and simple ochos until both partners
develop the skills for the woman to execute her
turns by stepping at an angle rather than pivoting.
Milonguero-style dancers typically respond to
the ric-tic-tic rhythm that is prominent in the
music of Juan D'Arienzo and Rodolfo Biagi and
also found in the playing of many other tango
orchestras. The milonguero style allows for a
more elastic approach to the rhythm when dancing
to music that has a less insistent ric-tic-tic
rhythm, such as that recorded by Di Sarli or Pugliese.
The ocho cortado is one the characteristic figures
of milonguero-style tango because it integrates
the embrace with rhythmic sensibilities of the
style. Milonguero-style tango can also be identified
as apilado-, cafe-, and confiteria-style tango.
Tango Club-style tango has
the rhythmic sensibilities of milonguero-style
tango, but it uses the posture, separate axes
and embrace of close salon-style tango. Club-style
tango is danced with an upright posture with the
two dancers maintaining separate axes while embracing
closely in an offset V. The couple loosens their
embrace slightly on their turns to allow the woman
to rotate more freely and pivot without requiring
much independent movement between her hips and
torso. If the woman rotates her hips through the
turns independently of her upper torso, the embrace
need not be loosened as much. Club-style tango
is typically danced to the ric-tic-tic rhythm
that is prominent in the music of Juan D'Arienzo
and Rodolfo Biagi and also is found in the playing
of many other tango orchestras. Club-style tango
uses the ocho cortado and other rhythmic figures
that are found in milonguero-style tango. Possibly
a rhythmic variation of the salon-style tango,
some people regard club-style tango as a mish
mash of the salon and milonguero styles rather
than a separate style.
the eighteen hundreds; towards the end of the
twenties and the beginning of the thirties another
social class, consisting mainly of the white population,
began to be interested in this dance of the blacks,
or 'morenos', and with them, slowly, the Canyengue
orillero evolved. Canyengue orillero is another
name for a style of tango. It is called orillero
because these descendants of European immigrants
lived in the orillas, or outskirts, of the towns,
where they came into close contact with the mixed
race families who were mixtures of white and black,
or of white and native peoples (indios).
It is danced with upright body posture with the
dancers maintaining separate axes, and the embrace
is typically offset in a V and can be either close
or open. In the turns, the woman is allowed to
move freely and pivot without requiring much independent
movement between her hips and torso. When orillero-style
tango is danced in a close embrace, the couple
loosens the embrace slightly to accommodate the
turns. If the woman rotates her hips through the
turns independently of her upper torso, the embrace
need not be loosened as much. Orillero-style tango
differs from salon-style tango because it adds
playful, space-consuming embellishments and figures
that do not always respect the line of dance.
Many of the playful elements are executed to the
ric-tic-tic rhythm that characterizes the music
of Juan D'Arienzo and Rodolfo Biagi.
is another name for a style of tango. It is a
very old style of tango from the 1800s danced
by the descendants of African slaves that lived
in the working class areas in towns such as La
Boca and San Telmo (but also in other catchment
areas of the Rio de la Plata, including Montevideo,
in Uruguay). In fact, in Montevideo, very interesting
forms and variations of it survive even to this
day. In this dance, there are lots of quebradas
and movements of the upper torso which are rooted
in the African dances.
The embrace is close and in an offset V, the dancers
typically have bent knees as they move, and the
woman does not execute a cross. At the time canyengue
was popular, dresses were long and tight. Consequently,
the steps were short and frequently executed in
the ric-tic-tic rhythm that is characteristic
of the tango music played by the old guard which
included Francisco Lomuto, Francisco Canaro (early
in his career), Roberto Firpo, and Juan de Dios
Filiberto. (The modern-era orchestra Los Tubatango
plays in the same style.) Some dancers of canyengue
use exaggerated body movements to accent their
Tango Nuevo tango is largely
a pedagogic approach to tango that emphasizes
a structural analysis of the dance in which previously
unexplored combinations of steps and new figures
can be found. As as it is frequently danced in
an open, loose embrace with a very upright posture
with the dancers maintaining their own axes. Although
the advocates of tango nuevo emphasize a new structural
analysis over specific figures, some of its most
identifiable figures are overturn ochos and change
of directions in turns, which are most easily
accomplished in a loose, elastic embrace.
(Show Tango) Fantasia is danced in tango stage
shows. It originally drew from the idioms of the
salon- and orillero-styles of tango but today
also includes elements of nuevo-tango. Fantasia
is danced in an open embrace with exaggerated
movements and additional elements (often taken
from ballet) that are not part of the social tango
vocabulary. These balletic elements integrate
well with salon-style tango because the way a
couple relates to each other's space in salon-style
tango is very balletic in nature, even though
tango movement is more grounded like modern dance.
Tango Liquid tango is an
emerging approach to dancing Argentine tango that
is danced with an embrace that shifts between
close and open to allow the integration of various
styles of tango, particularly the nuevo and club
styles. It is probably premature to consider this
a separate style of dancing because the approach
is largely compatible with nuevo and doesn't have
an identfiably separate group of adherents.
Milonguero Nuevo milonguero
is a relatively new approach to Argentine tango
that adds some nuevo movements such as change
of direction in turns, cadenas, and volcadas to
milonguero-style tango. It would probably be a
stretch to regard nuevo milonguero a separate
style of dancing because the approach is fully
compatible with milonguero-style tango and doesn't
have an identifiably separate group of adherents.
Cha Cha · The music is always 4/4 with
the characteristic "cha-cha-cha" drumbeat at 3&4
of the bar. This social dance can be executed
with or without holding. There is no fixed routine,
and dancers can perform any step that comes to
mind. The secret of doing a good Cha Cha is to
focus on the hip action, and stretch your toes
on the foot your weight is not resting on. Good
body form is absolutely essential.
is a smooth dance introduced
in 1913 by Harry Fox. It is characterized by smooth,
walking-style movements and can be adapted to
fit a variety of musical tempi and style, or to
fit onto small, crowded nightclub dance floors.
· Slow Foxtrot: also known as the "get acquainted"
dance, as it is frequently the first dance a couple
who has not danced with each other before would
do. A travelling English progressive dance done
to slow to moderate 4/4 beat, so can be danced
only in halls.
· Hustle is a fast but smooth-moving
dance which originated in the nightclubs during
the 1970's disco era, as a modified version of
swing. Hustle is the perfect dance for dance-beat,
nightclub music including everything from pop
to rap and hip hop.
HOP: A social dance of the
US, originating in the late 1920s in New York
City and at first associated with the Savoy Ballroom
in Harlem. It was danced to music (principally
Swing) in fast duple meter ("8 to the bar") and
was characterized especially by "breakaways" in
which partners in a couple separated and improvised
steps individually. It incorporated movements
in which partners swung one another around and
sometimes took on an acrobatic character. It is
said that a "downtown" reporter saw the dance
being performed in 1927 and asked whether it had
a name; "Shorty" George Snowden, a Lindy pioneer,
saw an opportunity and said that the dancers were
celebrating Charles Lindbergh's flight across
the Atlantic with "Lindy's Hop." Known from the
1930s as "Jitterbug", it was widely danced until
the late 1950s when prevailing taste in music
shifted to a six beat format (the "Motown" beat).
The Lindy Hop owes much to Charleston, Jazz and
Tap steps, Ballet, and complex movements from
Vienese Waltz. In 1943, Life Magazine characterized
Lindy Hop as "America's National Folk Dance."
As the dance spread from Harlem throughout the
US, it mutated into variations that survive today
including Jive, Bop, Shag, Balboa, and the Imperial.
A close relative of Lindy Hop is "DC Hand Dancing",
a form unique to the Washington D.C. metropolitan
COAST SWING: A triple-step
Swing derived from Lindy Hop and Jitterbug, making
use of refined (American Style) ballroom technique
that is typically danced to jump blues or to country
swing songs. Foxtrot ·
A dance that began in the US but took root in
war-time Europe. Also known as the Lindy, swing,
or jitterbug. Jive music is usually the "big band"
swing music, with a lot of brass and woodwind.
Essentially a non-progressive dance, but competition
styles can be progressive and very very athletic.
· Rock'n'Roll: Began in
US Harlem, this Black dance became popular with
the young people particularly in the 50's, and
spread to the rest of the world. Energetic dance
done to 4/4 music but with 6 steps. A social dance
that two dancers of different skills can easily
do together. Strong leading by the man is important,
and if done well, can make the lady do new tricks
without prior practice. · Kicking Rock: The more
advanced Rock'n'Roll dancers do the kicking version
where instead of the toe taps. Competitive dancers
almost always do the kicking rock.
A style of Swing (also known as Jitterbug) danced
in single-rhythm, to very fast big band jazz music
of the thirties, forties and fifties.
Coast SWING: A cool, sexy,
slotted swing dance that spotlights the lady and
is characterized by its smooth and linear style.
This dance is perfect for nightclubs because it
can be danced to many styles of music including
pop, rap, blues, big band, disco, country and
Exciting to watch, the Cuban Mambo looks like
a faster Rumba, but it has a more staccato character,
caused by the dancers' slight pause at the end
of each step. Moderate to fast 4/4 music at 36bpm.
This is a [routines] for basic dancers.
Captivating dance from Haiti. National dance of
the Dominican Republic. Music is 2/4, 55 - 60
bpm. Looks like a slow Bolero.
Doble: The "matador's" dance.
The man is the matador (bull fighter), and the
lady his cape. Lively. Surprisingly, this is not
a Spainish dance, but originated from the nightclubs
of Paris, where it is a performance dance. Done
progressively to 2/4 music at 60-82 bpm (very
fast!). This dance shows off the control of the
man and the subservience of the woman. The only
dance where lady gets to kneel before man. To
do this dance well, the man must be able to get
into the "Spanish" line posture, puff his chest
out, and look "proud"! This is a [routine] for
· This fast and lively dance
is of Polish origin, but is now very popular in
the Country Western clubs. Triple steps characterize
Developed from the Charleston and One-step, but
formalized into an international dance by the
English. Done to 4/4 music at 50 bpm. Lots of
gliding and back-lock steps, plus rise and falls.
Good dancers look as if they are "floating" as
they move around. Advanced steps include a lot
of kicking and toe snapping. Rhythm · Social foxtrot.
Crush. rhythm. 4/4. 30 bpm. stationary. · Quick
rhythm. Social quickstep. 4/4. 52 bpm.
Who can ignore the sensual Rumba! Of Cuban, African
and Spanish origin. Music at 4/4, 27-31 bpm. Fairly
quick, but sometimes also done to slower music,
in which case it is more of a Bolero or Son. Rumba
is truly a lady's dance, as the focus is on her
hands and postures. Good dancers are very flexible
and able to appear "slow" and in control, when
in actual fact they are moving quickly.
. · A popular Latin nightclub dance which evolved
as a modified form of Mambo. Salsa displays a
lot of shakin', shimmying, and hip action
Brazil's national dance, with millions of dancers
performing every Fiesta. Lively. A progressive
dance that moves around the hall. Done to 2/4,
50 bpm music with heavy syncopated drums. Secret
of Samba is to do the knee action correctly.
TWO STEP: The most popular style of Country
Western dancing. It is characterized by multiple
underarm turns executed while swiftly traveling
along the line of dance.
TWO STEP: A very popular
Country Western dance that incorporates triple
steps and walking steps and includes variations
of Swing and Two Step into its smooth peppy movement.
WALTZ: This dance was born
in the suburbs of Vienna and in the alpine region
of Austria in the 1700's. Like the slow waltz,
it uses ¾ time music, but the tempo is much faster.
It is great for fast ballroom Waltz music or fast
Country Waltz music.