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DANCE STYLES

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.

~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

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Argentine 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 at lady.

Salon-Style 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.

Milonguero-Style 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.

Club-Style 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.

Canyengue Orillero-Style Tango During 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.

Canyengue Canyengue 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 steps.

Nuevo 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.

Fantasia (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.

Liquid 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.

Nuevo 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 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.

Foxtrot 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 · 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.

LINDY 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 area.

EAST 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 ·

Jive: 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 · 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.

SWING: 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.

West 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 dance-beat techno.

Mambo: 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.

Merengue: Captivating dance from Haiti. National dance of the Dominican Republic. Music is 2/4, 55 - 60 bpm. Looks like a slow Bolero.

Paso 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 basic dancers.

POLKA · This fast and lively dance is of Polish origin, but is now very popular in the Country Western clubs. Triple steps characterize it.

Quickstep: 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.

Rumba: 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.

Salsa . · A popular Latin nightclub dance which evolved as a modified form of Mambo. Salsa displays a lot of shakin', shimmying, and hip action

Samba: 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.

TEXAS) 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.

TRIPLE 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.

VIENNESE 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.

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