Waltz is a slow dance with measured steps that moves around the room in a controlled fashion with lots of figures. Waltz is a progressive dance, which is characterized by the pendulum swing body action, rise and fall, contra body movement and sway. The American Smooth version of Waltz allows for both open position and separation of partners.
American style Tango’s evolutionary path is derived from Argentina to the United States, when it was popularized by silent film star Rudolph Valentino in the early 1920′s. The American Tango syllabus incorporates steps with Argentine, Hollywood, and socially popular influences and techniques. International Standard and American styles share a closed dance position, but the American style allows its practitioners to separate from closed position to execute open moves, like underarm turns, alternate hand holds, dancing apart, and side-by-side choreography.
The Viennese Waltz is a rotary dance where the dancers are constantly turning either toward the leader’s right (natural) or toward the leader’s left (reverse), interspersed with non-rotating change steps to switch between the direction of rotation. A true Viennese waltz consists only of turns and change steps. American Style Viennese Waltz has much more freedom, both in dance positions and syllabus, as compared to its International Standard counterpart.
Foxtrot is a dance of grace and style, which is customarily danced to Jazz, and the same Big Band music to which Swing is also danced. From the late teens through the 1940s, the Foxtrot was certainly the most popular fast dance and the vast majority of records issued during these years were Foxtrots. Over time, the Foxtrot split into slow and quick versions, referred to as “Foxtrot” and “Quickstep” respectively. The American Smooth Foxtrot is built around a slow-quick-quick rhythm at its slowest tempo, and the social American style uses a slow-slow-quick-quick rhythm at a somewhat faster pace.
The Cha Cha is a dance of Cuban origin, and may be either danced to authentic Cuban music, or Latin Pop or Latin Rock. The music for the ballroom Cha-cha-cha is energetic and with a steady beat. In traditional American Rhythm style, Latin hip movement is achieved through the alternate bending and straightening action of the knees, though in modern competitive dancing, the technique is virtually identical to the International Latin style.
American style Rumba is derived, both in music and in dance, from what the Cubans of an older generation called the bolero-son. All social dances from Cuba involve a hip-sway over the standing leg, and this is more pronounced in the slow ballroom Rumba. In general, steps are kept compact and the dance is danced generally without any rise and fall. This style is authentic, as is the use of free arms in various figures. American Rhythm Rumba is faster and more compact than International style.
East Coast Swing
East Coast Swing is a basic Swing dance which can be danced to slow or fast Swing music, including Rock and Roll and Boogie-Woogie. The dance evolved from the Lindy Hop in the 1940′s, and is typically taught with a Single or a Triple step, Rock-step pattern. This form of Swing dance is strictly based in six-count patterns that are simplified forms of the original patterns copied from Lindy Hop. In practice on the social dance floor, the six count steps of the East Coast Swing are often mixed with the eight count steps of Lindy Hop, Charleston, and less frequently, Balboa.
Bolero is the slowest of the American Rhythm dances, and can be danced to Latin, as well as popular music. The first step is typically taken on the first beat, held during the second beat with two more steps falling on beats three and four (cued as “slow-quick-quick”). This dance is quite different from the other American Rhythm dances in that it not only requires cuban motion, but also rise and fall, and contra body movement, as is found in Waltz.
Mambo is is a Latin dance of Cuban origin that corresponds to Mambo music. Mambo music was invented during the 1930s in Havana by Cachao and his contemporaries and made popular around the world by Perez Prado and Beny Moré. Perez Prado is often credited for coming up with the dance for Mambo music and became the first person to market his music as “Mambo”. After Havana, Prado moved to Mexico, where his music and the dance were adopted. The original Mambo dance was characterized by freedom and complicated foot work, and is often equated with “Salsa on 2″.