Ballroom Dance Styles
Move With Me Dance Studio offers Group Classes & Private Lessons featuring a wide range of Ballroom & Latin dances.
Each dance has a unique feel, lending to the historical context from which the dance was created. You may fall in love with the whimsical 3/4 tempo of Waltz, or the catchy disco beat of a Hustle. At Move With Me, we encourage our dancers to fall in love with the style that suits them individually. Be careful however, our dancers will often fall in love with more than just one dance!
Standard / Smooth
The Smooth, Standard style focuses on the elegance, grace and fluidity of movement. Dancers rotate in a counter-clockwise direction, moving around the entire floor. The couple is constantly moving on the dance floor, transitioning from one place to the next in a fixed pattern. The Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz and Quickstep are danced in this manner.
Waltz is characterized by rise and fall and by sway on the side steps. The feet remain in contact with the floor at all times, creating a smooth, gliding look. Waltz is a progressive dance down the line of dance (counter-clockwise) and the Waltz frame is the typical Smooth frame essential for balance and control. Waltz has an elegant gracefulness with a romantic and sometimes sad, feel.
Tango is characterized by a close hold, a low center of gravity and an emphasis on Contra Body movement. Movement is stealthy, almost cat-like and has an unmistakable staccato feel and major dramatic attitude.
Foxtrot has smooth gliding steps with a heel lead, controlled movement and an easy going look. It has less rise and fall than the Waltz as the emphasis is on progression. The foxtrot is an all-purpose dance that can be performed to many different styles of music.
Viennese Waltz is characterized by its speed (twice as fast as Waltz) as well as a rise and fall and sway (less than Waltz). With its elegance and turns, Viennese Waltz has an air of magic about it.
The newcomer here is Quickstep, which is a fast, light, and elegant dance in which the partners seem to fly around the ballroom and execute a series of kicks, skips, jumps, and runs.
This is a dance for people with high energy and who like to have a lot of fun. It has a kid-like quality.
The Rhythm, Latin style focuses on a display of vibrant energy and a personal flair. The couple’s dancing pattern is syncopated to the rhythm of the music. The couple usually dances in one spot of the dance floor. Included in this style are the East Coast Swing, Jive, Rumba, Bolero, Cha Cha, Mambo, Samba and Paso Doble.
Rumba is often called the “dance of love”, distinguished by it’s romantic feel. It is a non-progressive dance with continuous, flowing Cuban motion which gives Rumba its sensual look. The rumba frame is a typical Rhythm frame.
Cha Cha is a lively, fun, cheeky and playful dance. It is a non-progressive dance that emphasizes Cuban motion, distinguished by the chasses (cha-cha-cha) typically danced during the 4&1 counts of the music. Cuban motion in Cha Cha is more staccato than Rumba to reflect the music with emphasis on count 1. The Cha Cha frame is a typical Rhythm frame.
East Coast Swing
East Coast Swing is a happy, fun, upbeat dance. Distinguished by its bounce, rock step (back break), Swing hip motion and triple steps, East Coast Swing is also a non-progressive dance. The Swing frame is typically in Closed Promenade position with the leader’s left hand at the waist level and the right hand is on the follower’s left shoulder blade.
Bolero is a slow dance characterized by smooth, gliding movement, dramatic arm styling and a romantic feel. Bolero is a mixture of 3 dances: Tango (contra body movement), Waltz (body rise and fall) and Rumba (Cuban motion and slow Latin music).
Mambo is a fast and spicy dance characterized by strong Cuban motion, staccato movement and expression of rhythm through the body. The dancer holds on counts 1 and break on count 2. Mambo also features press lines, many swivels and spins. The Mambo frame is the same as the Rhythm frame.
Club Dance is an umbrella term covering the dances that are not performed in “normal” ballroom competitions. All of the club dances have two similarities: the basics are relatively easy to learn, and they don’t require a lot of space to perform socially. Unlike the social forms of samba, waltz, or bolero, the club dances can be performed in very cramped spaces on very crowded floors.
Salsa is a Latin dance associated with the music genre of the same name which was first popularized in the United States in the 1960s in New York City. Salsa is an amalgamation of Cuban dances such mambo, pachanga, and rumba as well as American dances such as swing and tap.
Bachata originated in the Dominican Republic. The basics to the dance are three-step with a Cuban hip motion, followed by a tap including a hip movement on the 4th beat. The knees should be slightly bent so the performer can sway the hips easier. The movement of the hips is very important because it’s a part of the soul of the dance.
West Coast Swing
West Coast Swing is smooth (no bounce) and danced in a slot. The dance allows room for syncopated footwork and improvisation. Followers have more freedom than any other dance, performing their syncopations at will. West Coast Swing can be danced to a wide range of music including Rhythm and Blues, Country Western, Funk, Disco, Rock and Pop
Hustle is danced to the contemporary pop dance music of the last 20 years. It is a fast, smooth dance, with the lady spinning almost constantly, while her partner draws her close and sends her away. It is a non-progressive dance and mostly danced in a slot or rotational slot. It is one of the few dances that do not phrase evenly with the music: each basic occupies 3 beats of music, though the music is in 4/4 time.
Lindy Hop, also known as Jitterbug, is the authentic Afro-Euro-American Swing dance. It is an unabashedly joyful dance, with a solid, flowing style that closely reflects its music - from the late 20's hot Jazz to the early 40's Big Bands. Just as Jazz combines European and African musical origins, Lindy Hop draws on African and European dance traditions. The embracing hold, and the turns from Europe, the breakaway and solid, earthy body posture from Africa.
Samba is a fun, upbeat, lively dance that progresses counter-clockwise around the floor. It is characterized by its syncopated timing, bounce, rolling hip action and pelvic tilt and a great deal of rhythm is expressed throughout the torso. The Samba frame is similar to a bolero frame with more separation between the partners.
Nightclub Two Step is an easy dance that almost anyone can learn. Its key characteristic is a rock step (5th position break) followed by a side step with a slight sway. The frame is relaxed somewhere between a Latin and Ballroom frame – similar to a Bolero frame with a little more distance between the partners.
This gorgeous and improvisational style of dancing has its origins in the brothels of Buenos Aires in the late 19th century. Argentine gauchos (cowboys) would dance with the prostitutes in what was then the world’s first Milonga. Argentine Tango has evolved to become the extraordinary dance form that is today.
Merengue is a fun, fast and easy dance made up of simple steps. It is mainly a non-progressive dance but can also travel counter-clockwise around the floor. This dance encourages creativity as it’s fun and easy to create arms movements to go with the simple steps. Merengue is characterized by its marching rhythms and Cuban motion – strong side to side motion and ‘dragged leg’ with emphasis on counts 1 and 5. The Merengue frame is the same as the Rhythm frame.