Dance Steps Lists

Information About the Dances

Cha Cha Cha

This was an exciting fusion of Latin Mambo and the American Swing. It was so well received that almost everybody ran to learn the Cha-Cha about 1950. The music is so distant that the dancers can't sit still – they are lead through the syncopated steps by merely following their musical interpretation.

Easy to learn and truly exciting – Cha-Cha "lets you let go."


In the 1930's American Style Rumba appeared in Europe and it was not accepted until 1955 in London. Originally a courtship and marriage dance. The romantic sounds of the Latin instruments flowed across the water of the United States from Cuba in the early 1930's. It met a bit of resistance from the upper crust society because of the suggestive body and hip movements brought about by the transferring of weight from one foot to the other with knees bent causing the hips to sway from side to side. Once tried it was so popular that dance teachers became the busiest people in town. Many variations have since been introduced. The Rumba of today still has the same movements, so basic and enjoyable.


A lively Brazilian dance and known to all as their native dance. It is characteristic of the people full of life and vitality. There are many forms since it was started about 1917 and came to the United States in the golden 20's. The style is to bounce steadily and smoothly in 2/4 meter. They say that the Samba was introduced in the United States in 1939 by the late Carmen Miranda. The dance movements follow basic Waltz patterns and have the style that sways with soft bounce giving the dancers a very different appearance and feel.

Paso Doble

Paso Doble is the International Latin dance of Southern France. Spanish Gypsy Music has breaks in fixed positions in the song example (two breaks at syllabus levels, three breaks and a longer song at open levels). Dance routines are choreographed to reflect these breaks as well as musical phrases. This is suitable for competition dancing. Presently, Paso Doble is not danced socially here in North America but only for competitions with choreographed routines. It is known to have been danced socially as a lead in parts of Germany, Spain, France, Vietnam and left of the river Rhine.


The Merengue is a popular dance from Haiti and the Dominican Republic and is a fun and easy dance to learn. There is an old tale about a very brave and famous military officer who was wounded in battle and developed a limp. A celebration dance was given for the great hero returning from the war. Rather than embarrass their hero, who limped on his wounded leg while dancing, all the men present favored their leg as well, and thus the Merengue was born. It was introduced in the early 1950's in the United States where a more Latin hip style was added.


This spicy dance grew out of the Rumba and took a hold on the American dance scene at the close of World War II. The fast swing and up-beat Latin music joined to form the uninhibited Mambo. In 1938 Oresta Lopez composed a danzon he called the "Mambo". He combined African rhythms and Perez Prado added the Jazz mix in the 1950's to suit the white audience. So in the late 1930's New York was blessed with the music and dances such as Mambo, Salsa and Cha Cha which originated in Cuba. Of course like fashion the sounds and steps migrated to the rest of the world. As it spread the mixture of Jazz and Latin music became one. It became popular in Europe and America in the 20th century. In 1938 Oresta Lopez composed a danzon he called the "Mambo".


Did Salsa originate from Cuba or Puerto Rico? Salsa is a compilation of many Latin and Afro-Caribbean origins. The drum beats and music migrated to the Spanish Harlem of New York City in the 1930's. This played a big part in its evolution. Salsa is similar to the Mambo in that both have a pattern of six steps danced over eight beats of music. The dances share many of the same moves. In Salsa turns make it the important feature over all making the look and feel different. Mambo moves forward and backward whereas Salsa has more of a side to side feel. Some Latin groups such as The Fania All Stars and artists like Victor Paz, Willie Colon, Bobby Valentin and Cheo Feliciano performed at Yankee Stadium in New York in the Autumn of 1973 and since then has become an accepted style in our music industry. Salsa is basically 4/4 time (4 quarter beats per bar of music). Using Afro-Latin rhythms particularly a clave or referred to as a "Son" clave. This is a 5-note rhythm tapped over 2 bars of music often by wooden sticks also called "claves". The Son clave is known to be the heart and soul of both the traditional Mambo and Salsa music. Salsa can be danced to a wide range of tempos in social setting, from hot new Latin dances to the slightly mellow slower rhythms. Today, Salsa is a result of years of rhythmical evolution. It is a musical dance form that keeps on evolving to stay fresh and exciting.


The slow romantic guitar played an important part in the rise of the Bachata in the early 1960's. In the 1970's the rhythm had increased to a faster pace and they developed a new dance step called "Bachata". Cuba – (Bolero) Puerto Rico and Columbia as well as the Dominican Republic were the most influential developers of the Bachata as it spread through their small town and cities. The Bachata music has four beats per measure. Three steps are taken to four beats of music. As with Salsa, the step timing is three steps and then a one-beat pause. The basic footwork pattern is three steps in one direction (side-close-side) and then a hip motion. Repeat going in the other direction. Some people call out the timing as "one, two, three, touch; one, two, three, touch." Some teachers use 123 lift; 123 lift; (that is lifting the hip). It is a simple dance but without the hip and body action you are not dancing "Bachata".


In England in the 1800's, the Waltz was denounced by the church and state for its vulgarity and immorality. This was the first time society had seen an outrageous dance position, a man holding a lady so close to his body. The very thing that brought it such criticism also made it appealing. The Waltz has undergone may changes through the years. By the middle of the eighteenth century, the dance had grown in popularity and spread throughout Europe and the United States. The standard Waltz tempo at this time was still very fast and quite demanding to the average dancer and before long, composers were writing music which was much slower. Now the Slow Waltz had slower turns, and longer gliding movements. Throughout the 20th century, the English refined the movements and modified the technique into the competitive International style Slow Waltz. The Waltz is a smooth progressive dance characterized by long, flowing movements, continuous turns, and rise and fall. 28-30 measures per minute, the tempo is slow, but the expressive quality of the music often invites very powerful and dynamic movement from dancers.


You can hear Foxtrots being played in any jazz clubs today. In the 1920's, the Foxtrot emerged as a lively, bouncing dance which America's youth went wild over. The Foxtrot was popularized by Harry Fox; a young vaudeville comedian who incorporated a bouncy, trotting step nicknamed the Foxtrot. The energy of the dance was what teenagers were looking for, and subsequently the only truly American ballroom dance spread like a forest fire across the states. Today the Foxtrot has evolved into a dance of social elegance, characterized by smooth, graceful and gliding movements and enjoyed by people of all ages. Written in 4/4 time, it can be danced to most music types, whether slow or fast. It is enjoyed by all age groups for its ease of movements and smooth style.


Back in the 1800's African slaves were brought to Argentina and began to influence the local culture. In the 1800's, Argentina was undergoing a massive immigration and Buenos Aires had a population of 180,000. By 1914 its population grew to 1.5 million. The intermixing of African, Spanish, Italian, British, Polish, Russian and native born Argentines resulted a big mesh of cultures and each borrowed dance and music from one another. The worldwide spread of the tango came in the early 1900's when wealthy sons of Argentine society families made their way to Paris and introduced the tango into a society of eager, young, wealthy Latin men. By 1913, it was a hit in Paris, London and New York. It was more accepted in the United States once Rudolph Valentino became popular in the 1930's.


During World War 1 in suburban New York, the Quickstep was performed by Caribbean and African dancers. It was then that it made its debut onto the American stage. The Foxtrot was too fast for people to dance so two dances were born from one. In the 1920's some people preferred to dance it slow and other fast. Thus, the Quickstep was born. Now we have two different dances. Foxtrot with a slow tempo and Quickstep with a faster beat. In 1925 the Charleston fever began and it had a great influence on the evolution of the Quickstep. In 1927 it became very popular with the English and they turned it into a dance without kicks and mixed in some fast Foxtrot so that a couple could dance it. Very popular in Britain, the 60 second Quickstep was regarded as being equivalent to running a mile in record time. Easy to learn and fun today it is a popular and competitive dance.

Viennese Waltz

Germany, Austria and France are the major countries that the Viennese Waltz originated from dating back from the 17th century. Danced at (50-60 bars or measures per minute; a bar or measure is three beats. 60 bars or measures per minute are the international standard). The true Viennese Waltz consists of turns and change steps to switch between right and left turns and swaying side to side. The American-style consists of moves such as fleckerls and underarm turns which are modern inventions and not normally danced at the annual balls in Vienna. After long alterations, by the 19th century it became popular in England and the United States and it was recognized as a competition dance.


During the Second World War GI's brought the Jitterbug to Europe and the French and British put their own spin into it. This wild acrobatic Jive which made the previously popular ballroom dances seem dull and conservative was not well received. The young people of Britain loved the new dance, particularly the young women who spent long hours in the factories or on the land playing their part of the war. In 1945 as the American GI's went home and the Jitterbug became a little less wild and energetic and eventually became what we all know as rock'n'roll.

Download Kids Registration Form

Download Complimentary Coupon

Download Complimentary Coupon