Viennese Waltz

Viennese Waltz (German: Wiener Walzer) is the genre of a ballroom dance. At least three different meanings are recognized. In the historically first sense, the name may refer to several versions of the waltz, including the earliest waltzes done in ballroom dancing, danced to the music of Viennese Waltz.

What is now called the Viennese waltz is the original form of the waltz and the first ballroom dance in the closed hold or "waltz" position. The dance that is popularly known as the Waltz is actually the English or slow waltz, danced approximately at 90 beats per minute with 3 beats to the bar (the international standard of 30 measures per minute) while the Viennese Waltz is danced at about 180 beats (58-60 measures) a minute. To this day however, in Germany, Austria and France, the words "Walzer" (German for "waltz") and "valse" (French for "waltz") still implicitly refers to the original dance and not the slow waltz.

The Viennese Waltz is a rotary dance where the dancers are constantly turning either in a clockwise (natural) or anti-clockwise (reverse) direction interspersed with non-rotating change steps to switch between the direction of rotation. A true Viennese waltz consists only of turns and change steps. Other moves such as the fleckerls, American-style figures and side sway or underarm turns are modern inventions and are not normally danced at the annual balls in Vienna. Furthermore, in a properly danced Viennese Waltz, couples do not pass, but turn continuously left and right while travelling counterclockwise around the floor following each other.
As the Waltz evolved, some of the versions that were done at about the original fast tempo came to be called specifically "Viennese Waltz" to distinguish them from the slower waltzes. In the modern ballroom dance, two versions of Viennese Waltz are recognized: International Style and American Style.

Today the Viennese Waltz is a ballroom and partner dance that is part of the International Standard division of contemporary ballroom dance.

History

The Viennese Waltz, so called to distinguish it from the Waltz and the French Waltz, is the oldest of all ballroom dances. It emerged in the second half of the 18th century from the German dance and the Ländler in Austria and in the beginning was disapproved-of on account of its "lasciviousness", e.g. because the ladies' ankles were visible. Later it gained official acceptance and even popularity due to the Congress of Vienna at the beginning of the 19th century and the famous compositions by Josef Lanner, Johann Strauss I and his son, Johann Strauss II.

In the 1920s in Germany the Viennese Waltz became outdated as more modern and dynamic dances emerged. In England the Viennese Waltz acclimatized, there Boston and later Waltz were preferred.

At the beginning of the 1930s the Viennese Waltz had its comeback as a folk dance in Germany and Austria. The former military officer Karl von Mirkowitsch made it acceptable both for society and ballroom, since 1932 the Viennese Waltz has been present on ballroom dance floors. About the same time, the Viennese Waltz had its comeback also as a (folk dance) in The Greater Cleveland Ohio U.S.A. Area. It was because the greatest number of Slovenians (60,000 - 80,000) settled in that area. Slovenia, being right below Vienna Austria, was influenced in their folk dance by the Viennese Waltz. Frankie Yankovic, Slovenian from Cleveland Ohio traveled the world playing his version ("Cleveland Style" as per Polka Hall of Fame, Euclid Ohio)of the Viennese Waltzes. His Blue Skirt Waltz went Platinum 1949. Even in 2007, there are several opportunities to waltz each week in The Greater Cleveland Area. In 1951 Paul Krebs, a dance teacher from Nürnberg, combined the traditional Austrian Waltz with the English style of waltzing and had great success at the dance festival in Blackpool in the same year. Since then the Viennese Waltz is considered a full privilege member of the International Standard ballroom dances; in 1963 it was added to the Welttanzprogramm which is the fundament of European dancing schools.
The Viennese Waltz has always been symbol of political and public sentiments. It was called the "Marseillaise of the heart" (Eduard Hanslick, a critic from Vienna in the past century) and was supposed to "have saved Vienna the revolution" (sentence of a biographer of the composer Johann Strauss I), while Strauss I himself was called the "Napoleon Autrichien" (Heinrich Laube, poet from the north of Germany).

Technique and styles

Musical Form
Fast triple time (usually 3/4 time) - as opposed to typical waltzes which can be between 60-90 beats per minute, Viennese Waltz music (such as the well-known "On the Beautiful Blue Danube" by Johann Strauss Junior) is typically in the range of 120-180 bpm.
Slow harmonic pace - same chord is used throughout a whole bar and usually repeated for several bars.
Simple Harmonies - occasionally uses chromatic or dissonant appoggiaturas.
Homophonic texture
"Um-Cha-Cha" accompaniment - bass note on first beat then other notes on second and third.
Ternary form ABA style - Waltz 1-Waltz 2-Waltz 1
Vamp base - the first beat of one bar is the key note, and in the following bar it is the dominant note. This pattern continues until the chord changes. This only occurs in some waltzes.

International Style Viennese Waltz
International Style Viennese Waltz is danced in closed position. The syllabus is limited to Natural and Reverse Turns, Changes, Fleckerls, Contra Check, Left Whisk, and canter time Pivots (Canter Pivots).

American Style Viennese Waltz
American Style Viennese Waltz has much more freedom, both in dance positions and syllabus.

Related Classes: Slow Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Argentine Tango, Quickstep
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Ballroom Tango

Ballroom Tango, divided in recent decades into the "International" (English) and "European" styles, has descended from the tango styles that developed when the tango first went abroad to Europe and North America. The dance was simplified, adapted to the preferences of conventional ballroom dancers, and incorporated into the repertoire used in International Ballroom dance competitions. English Tango was first codified in October 1922, when it was proposed that it should only be danced to modern tunes, ideally at 30 bars per minute (i.e. 120 beats per minute - assuming a 4/4 measure).

Subsequently the English Tango evolved mainly as a highly competitive dance, while the American Tango evolved as an unjudged social dance with an emphasis on leading and following skills. This has led to some principal distinctions in basic technique and style. Nevertheless there are quite a few competitions held in the American style, and of course mutual borrowing of technique and dance patterns happens all the time.

Ballroom tangos use different music and styling from Argentine tangos, with more staccato movements and the characteristic "head snaps". The head snaps are totally foreign to Argentine and Uruguayan tango, and were introduced in 1934 under the influence of a similar movement in the legs and feet of the Argentine tango, and the theatrical movements of the pasodoble. This style became very popular in Germany and was soon introduced to England, one of the first proponents being Mr Camp. The movements were very popular with spectators, but not with competition judges (Source: PJS Richardson, History of English Ballroom Dancing, Herbert Jenkins 1946, page 101-102)

Related Classes: Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Slow Waltz, Argentine Tango, Quickstep
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Slow Waltz

Waltz is a smooth and progressive dance where couples dance in a closed position and in circles around the room.  It has a 3/4 timing, where the steps are executed in triple time rather than in the standard 4/4 timing.

Slow Waltz is the term applied to waltz in countries where Viennese Waltz is the form of waltz commonly practiced. Some confusion occurs when dancers come from these countries to places like the United States where "waltz" events and invitations are not what they might expect.

Slow Waltz was also the name of a dance in the International Standard dance category of ballroom dances. Now it is officially called simply "Waltz", but "Slow Waltz" is still in the informal use, to distinguish from other types of waltzes.

Related Classes: Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Argentine Tango, Quickstep
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Latin Samba

Samba is a lively, rhythmical dance of Brazilian origin in 2/4 time danced under the Samba music. However, there are three steps to every bar, making the Samba feel like a 3/4 timed dance. Its origins include the Maxixe. There are two major streams of Samba dance that differ significantly: the modern Ballroom Samba, described in this article, and the traditional Samba of Brazil. The Brazilian Ballroom Samba is called "Gafieira".

The ballroom Samba is danced to music in 2/4 or 4/4 time. The basic movements are counted either 1-2 or 1-a-2, and are danced with a slight downward bouncing or dropping action. This action is created through the bending and straightening of the knees, with bending occurring on the beats of 1 and 2, and the straightening occurring on the "a".

As a ballroom dance, the samba is a partner dance. Ballroom samba, like other ballroom dances, is very disconnected from the origins and evolution of the music and dance that gives it its name. It is a form created for its suitability as a partner dance. The dance movements, which do not change depending on the style of samba music being played, borrows some movements from Afro-Brazilian traditional dances such those used in candomblé rituals and the chamadas of capoeira angola.

Related Classes: Latin Cha Cha, Latin Rumba, Salsa, Jive, Paso Doble, Brazilian Samba
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Latin Rumba

Latin Rumba is a Latin-style partner dance that is slow, elegant and precise.  Students will learn a choreographed routine for their graduation performance.

Rumba is a dance organically related to the rumba genre of Afro-Cuban music. Throughout the history one may trace several styles of dances called "rumba".

Some dancers considered rumba the most erotic and sensual Latin dance, for its relatively slow rhythm and the hip movement. Rumba is actually the second slowest Latin dance: the spectrum runs bolero, rumba, cha-cha-cha, mambo in order of the speed of the beat.

Ballroom rumba derives its movements and music from son, just as the salsa and mambo. When son was brought to the United States it was renamed rumba. It is thought that this occurred due to the name rumba being more exotic and more marketable than Sòn.
Prohibition in the United States caused a flourishing of the relatively tolerated cabaret American rumba, as American tourists flocked to see crude sainetes (short plays) which featured racial stereotypes and generally, though not always, rumba.
American rumba is thought to have contributed to the origin of the cha-cha-cha, and indeed most figures (if not all, somehow) can be reinterpreted in cha-cha-cha.

Early American rumba
This kind of rumba was introduced into American dance salons at the beginning of the 20th century, characterized by high tempo, nearly twice as fast as the modern ballroom rumba, typical examples being the tunes The Peanut Vendor and Siboney.

Ballroom rumba
American style rumba is characterized by the Cuban hip motion or hip sway arising from the bending and straightening of the knee, as opposed to Latin hip motion stepping on a straight leg, which is used in international style rumba.
Additionally, the same move in terms of footwork often goes by a different name in American versus international.

Related Classes: Latin Cha Cha, Latin Samba, Salsa, Jive, Paso Doble
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Quickstep

Quickstep is the fun and flirty dance of the 5 standard ballroom dances.  It is characterized by quick and flowing steps with syncopated footwork and danced to light-hearted numbers that gives it it's fun and upbeat feel.  It is developed in the 1920s in New York and first danced by the Carribbean and African dancers who mixed Foxtrot & Charleston together.

Related Classes: Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Argentine Tango, Slow Waltz
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Paso Doble

Paso Doble or Pasodoble is a lively style of dance to the duple meter march-like pasodoble music. It actually originated in southern France, but is modeled after the sound, drama, and movement of the Spanish bullfight. Paso doble means "two step" in Spanish.

Traditional
Pasodoble is based on music played at bullfights during the bullfighters' entrance (paseo) or during the passes (faena) just before the kill. The leader of this dance plays the part of the matador. The follower generally plays the part of the matador's cape, but can also represent the bull or a flamenco dancer in some figures.

Ballroom
Paso Doble, like Samba, is a progressive International Latin dance. The Paso Doble is the Latin dance most resembling the International Standard style, in that forward steps are taken with the heel lead, the frame is wider and more strictly kept up, and there is significantly different and less hip movement.

A significant number of Paso Doble songs are variants of España Cañi. The song has breaks in fixed positions in the song (two breaks at syllabus levels, three breaks and a longer song at Open levels). Traditionally Paso Doble routines are choreographed to match these breaks, as well as the musical phrases. Accordingly, most other ballroom Paso Doble tunes are written with similar breaks (those without are simply avoided in most competitions).

Because of its inherently choreographed tradition, ballroom Paso Doble for the most part danced only competitively, almost never socially — or at least not without sticking to some sort of previously-learned routine. This said, in Spain, France, Vietnam and some parts of Germany to the west of the river Rhine, it is danced socially as a lead (not choreographed) dance.

Related Classes: Latin Cha Cha, Latin Samba, Salsa, Jive, Latin Rumba
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Jive

Jive is a dance style in 4/4 time that originated among African-Americans in the early 1940s. It is a lively and uninhibited variation of the Jitterbug, a form of Swing dance.

In Ballroom dancing, Jive is one of the five International Latin dances. In competition it is danced at a speed of 44 bars per minute, although in other cases this is reduced to between 32 and 40 bars per minute.  Many of its basic patterns are similar to these of the East Coast Swing with the major difference of highly syncopated rhythm of the Triple Steps (Chasses), which use straight eighths in ECS and hard swing in Jive.

Swing Dance
The term "swing dance" commonly refers to a group of dances that developed concurrently with the swing style of jazz music in the 1920s, '30s and '40s, although the earliest of these dance forms predate swing jazz music. The best known of these dances is the Lindy Hop, a popular partner dance that originated in Harlem and is still danced today. While the majority of swing dances began in African American communities as vernacular African American dances, a number of forms (Balboa, for example) developed within Anglo-American or other ethnic group communities.

The earliest forms of swing dance, such as the Black Bottom, charleston and tap dance, are associated with Dixieland jazz, which developed in New Orleans in the south of the United States. These sorts of dances traveled north with jazz to cities like New York, Kansas City, and Chicago in the Great Migration that began in the 1920s, where rural blacks traveled north to escape persecution, Jim Crow laws, lynching and, later, high unemployment in the South during the Great Depression.

Swing jazz features the syncopated timing associated with African American and West African music and dance — a combination of crotchets and quavers (quarter notes and eighth notes) that many swing dancers interpret as 'triple steps' and 'steps' — yet also introduces changes in the way these rhythms were played — a distinct delay or 'relaxed' approach to timing.

Today there are swing dance scenes in many developed countries throughout the world. Lindy Hop is often the most popular, though each city and country varies preferences various dances in different degrees. Each local swing dance community has a distinct local culture and defines "swing dance" and the "appropriate" music to accompany it in different ways.

Forms of Swing
In many scenes outside the United States the term "Swing dancing" is used to refer generically to one or all of the following swing era dances: Lindy Hop, Charleston, Shag, Balboa and Blues. This group is often extended to include West Coast Swing, East Coast Swing, Hand Dancing, Jive, Rock and Roll, Modern Jive, and other dances developing in the 1940s and later. A strong tradition of social and competitive boogie woogie and acrobatic rock and roll in Europe add these dances to their local swing dance cultures. In Singapore and other scenes, Latin dances such as salsa and Tango are often taught and danced within the "Swing scene", and for many scenes tap dancing and a range of other jazz dances are considered key, as are hip hop and other contemporary African American street dances. The variations continue, dictated by local dance community interests.

Many swing dancers today argue that it is important to dance many styles of partner dance to improve technique, but also to reflect the historical relationship between these dances in the swing era of the 1920s and 1930s. In the Savoy Ballroom, for example, bands would often play waltzes, Latin songs and so on, as well as swinging jazz. Dancers were often familiar with a wide range of popular and traditional dances.

Early forms from the 1930s and 1940s
Lindy Hop evolved in the late 1920s and early 1930s out of Partnered Charleston. It is characterized by an 8-count break away or "swing out" and has an emphasis on improvisation and the ability to easily adapt to include other steps in 8-count and 6-count rhythms. It has been danced to almost every conceivable style of music with blues or jazz rhythm (with the exception of jazz waltzes), as well as non-traditional styles of music such as hip hop.

Balboa is an 8-count dance that emphasizes a strong partner connection and quick footwork. A product of Southern California's crowded ballrooms, Balboa (or "Bal") is primarily danced in close embrace. A library of open figures, called Bal-Swing, evolved from LA Swing, another Southern California dance that was a contemporary of Balboa. While most dancers differentiate between pure Balboa and Bal-Swing, both are considered to be part of the dance. Balboa is frequently danced to fast jazz (usually anything from 180 to 320 beats per minute), though many like to Balboa to slower tempos.

Collegiate Shag was danced in the early thirties to dance music that emphasized a 2-beat rhythm, and was danced in the varieties of single, double, and triple shag. The variety of names describe the amount of slow (step, hop) steps executed before being followed by a single quick, quick rhythm. The most common form recognized as Collegiate Shag is double shag rhythm.

St. Louis Shag done in the "side-by-side" Charleston position. The steps are: rock step, kick forward, step down, kick forward (other leg), stag, step, stomp (repeat). The "stag" is bringing the leg up with the knee bent. As a variation, when repeating, one can do two forward kicks (or "switch, switch", referring to switching feet) in place of the rock step.

Jitterbug dancers in 1938
Jitterbug is often associated with one form of swing dance, but is in fact a general term for all swing dances and is more appropriately used to describe a swing dancer rather than a specific swing dance (i.e. a jitterbug can dance Lindy Hop, Shag, or another swing dance). The term was famously associated with swing era dancers by band leader Cab Calloway because, as he put it, "They look like a bunch of jitterbugs out there on the floor" due to their fast, often bouncy movements.

Later forms from the 1940s, 50s and later
Lindy Hop continued into the 40's and 50's and is featured in many movies of the era featuring Whitey's Lindy Hoppers with Frankie Manning, Dean Collins (whose style would lead to the creation of West Coast Swing), and Hal Takier and the Ray Rand Dancers.
Boogie-woogie developed originally in the 1940s with the rise of boogie woogie music. It is popular today in Europe, and was considered by some to be the European counterpart to East Coast Swing, a Six count dance standardized for the American ballroom industry. It is danced to rock music of various kinds, blues or boogie woogie music but usually not to jazz. As the dance has developed it has also taken to 8-count variations and swing outs similar to Lindy Hop, while keeping the original boogie woogie footwork.
Eastern Swing is an evolution of Fox Trot and the precursor to the more modern East Coast Swing.

East Coast Swing is a simpler 6-count variation. It is also known as Single-Time Swing, Triple-Step Swing, 6-Count Swing, or Rock-a-billy. East Coast Swing has very simple structure and footwork along with basic moves and styling. It is popular for its simple nature, and it is often danced to slow, medium, or fast tempo jazz, blues, or rock and roll.

Imperial Swing is a cross between East Coast and West coast as it is done in slot and in the round. It started at the Club Imperial in St Louis. George Edick, who owned the club, let teenagers dance on the lower level and the swing dancers of the time taught them what was learned from their trips to the east coast. As people traveled around they added parts of west coast,bop and Carolina shag to complement the dance and make it distinctive. People can tell the difference between St Louis dancers and dancers from other parts of the country. "The Imperial" has elements of "East Coast", West Coast", "Carolina Shag", and "Bop".

Carolina Shag originated along the strands between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Wilmington, North Carolina, during the 1940s. It is most often associated with beach music, which refers to songs that are rhythm and blues based and, according to Bo Bryan, a noted shag historian and resident of Beaufort County, is a term that was coined at Carolina Beach, North Carolina.

Washington Hand Dancing originated in the Washington, D.C., Area in the mid-1950s as D.C.’s own version of swing dancing. From its very beginning, D.C. Hand-dance was referred to and called “D.C. Hand-Dance/Hand-Dancing”, “D.C. Swing”, “D.C. Style” (swing) and “fast dance” (meaning D.C. Hand-Dance). This is the first time a version of “swing” dance was termed “hand-dance/hand-dancing”. D.C. Hand-Dance is characterized by very smooth footwork and movements, and close-in and intricate hand-turns, danced to a 6-beat, 6 to 8 count dance rhythm. The footwork consists of smooth and continuous floor contact, sliding and gliding-type steps (versus hopping and jumping-type steps), and there are no aerials.

Jive is a dance of International Style Ballroom dancing. It initially was based on Eastern swing brought to England by Americans Troops in World War II and evolved before becoming the now standardized form of today.

Push and Whip are Texas forms of swing dance.  Western Swing, also called Country Swing or Country/Western Swing (C/W Swing) is a form with a distinct culture. It resembles East Coast Swing, but adds variations from other country dances. It is danced to country and western music.  Skip Jive A British variant, popular in the 50s and 60s danced to trad jazz.

West Coast Swing was developed in the 1950s as a stylistic variation on Lindy Hop. It is a slotted dance which is danced to a wide variety of music including: blues, rock and roll, country western, smooth and cool jazz. It is popular throughout the United States and Canada but is uncommon in Europe and much of Asia. West coast swing communities are developing in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Rock and Roll - Developing in the 1950s in response to rock and roll music, rock and roll is very popular in Australia and danced socially as well as competitively and in performances. The style has a long association with Lindy Hop in that country, as many of the earliest lindy hoppers in the early 1990s moved to Lindy Hop from a rock and roll tradition. There are ongoing debates about whether rock and roll constitutes swing dancing, particularly in reference to the music to which it is danced: there is some debate as to whether or not it swings. Despite these discussions, many of the older lindy hoppers are also keen rock and roll dancers, with rock and roll characterised by an older dancer (30s and older) than Lindy Hop (25 and under).

Acrobatic Rock and Roll Popular in Europe, acrobatic rock and roll is popularly associated with Russian gymnasts who took up the dance, though it is popular throughout Europe today. It is more a performance dance and sport than a social dance.

Modern Jive - also known as LeRoc and Ceroc - developed in the 1980s, reputedly from a French form of Jive.

Blues Dancing today is an informal type of dance with no fixed patterns and a heavy focus on connection, sensuality and improvisation, often with strong body contact. Although usually done to blues music, it can be done to any slow tempo 4/4 music, including rock ballads and "club" music. "Blues dancing" is popular in many swing dance communities.

Related Classes: Latin Cha Cha, Latin Samba, Salsa, Latin Rumba, Paso Doble, West Coast Swing, Modern Jive
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Foxtrot

Foxtrot, a type of ballroom dance has it's origin from Harry Fox in the 1940s. It is characterized by long, smooth flowing movements across the dance floor.  The steps usually consist of a combinations of chasses, walks like most ballroom dances. It is similar to the waltz but danced in the 4/4 time rather than the 3/4 time.

Related Classes: Viennese Waltz, Slow Waltz, Tango, Argentine Tango, Quickstep
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Latin Cha Cha

The Cha-cha-cha (in Spanish cha-cha-chá) is a Latin American dance of Cuban origin. It corresponds to the Cha-cha-cha music introduced by Cuban composer and violinist Enrique Jorrín. See Cha-cha-chá (Cuban dance) for a description of the Cuban evolution of the dance.

In ballroom dancing, it is increasingly popular to call the dance cha-cha.  The cooler dance teachers Pierre Margolie from the United Kingdom, a founder of the Latin American Faculty of the ISTD, visited Cuba in 1952 to discover mambo (some say, rumba) danced with the triple step in place of the slow one. He brought this dance idea to Europe and eventually created what is known now as ballroom Cha-cha-cha.

There are three flavors of Cha-cha-cha dance, differing by the place of the chachacha chasse with respect to the musical bar. Ballroom Cha-cha and street Cha-cha-cha in Cuba count "two-three-chachacha". Country/western Cha-cha-cha and Latin street Cha-cha-cha in many places other than Cuba count "one-two-chachacha" or "chachacha-three-four".

Guajira, a product of triple Mambo via Danzon predates all the "social" versions. The Guajira rhythm, is still used as the basis by Cubans and Puerto Ricans, who are of the belief, that the other versions were anglicised to suit the American market. As is usual with the more authentic forms of dance, a very limited variety of steps is used. It can still be seen danced in many South Florida night clubs.

Cha Cha is either danced to authentic Latin music, or more contemporary Latin Pop or Latin Rock. The music for the ballroom Cha-cha-cha is energetic and with a steady beat. The "Latin" cha-cha-cha is slower, more sensual and may involve complicated rhythms. "Cowboy" Cha-Cha-Cha is danced basically to any "four to the floor" music; in addition there are a number of C/W novelty dances with the names that include "cha-cha-cha".

Footwork: In general, steps in all directions should be taken first with the ball of the foot in contact with the floor, and then with the heel lowering when the weight is fully transferred; however, some steps require that the heel remain lifted from the floor. When weight is released from a foot, the heel should release from the floor first, allowing the toe to maintain contact with the floor.

Hip movement: 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. In the International Latin style, the weighted leg is almost always straight. The free leg will bend, allowing the hips to naturally settle into the direction of the weighted leg. As a step is taken, a free leg will straighten the instant before it receives weight. It should then remain straight until it is completely free of weight again.

International Latin style Cha Cha
Cha cha cha is one of the five dances of the "Latin American" program of international ballroom competitions (where it is officially has become known as "Cha cha").  The basis of the modern dance was laid down in the 1960s by Walter Laird and other top competitors of the time.

In general Cha cha steps should be kept compact and the dance is danced generally without any rise and fall. The modern ballroom technique of Cha-cha (and other ballroom dances) is a result of gradual evolution, and in many respects the technique differs significantly from the earlier days. Also, the International Style diverged from the technique of the American Style Cha-cha.

Basic step of cha-cha-cha
The basic pattern involves a checked forward step with the left foot retaining some weight on the right foot, the knee of the right leg being allowed to flex and close to the back of the left knee, the left leg having straightened just prior to receiving part weight. This step is taken on the second beat of the bar. Full weight is returned to the right leg on the second step (beat three.) The fourth beat is split in two so the count of the next three steps is 4-and-1. These three steps constitute the Cha-cha chasse. A step to the side is taken with the left foot, the right foot is half closed to the left foot (typically leaving both feet under the hips or perhaps closed together), and finally there is a last step to the left with the left foot. The length of the steps in the chasse depend very much on the effect the dancer is attempting to make.

While one partner dances the bar just described the other partner dances as follows. A step is taken back on the right foot, the knee being straightened as full weight is taken. The other leg is allowed to remain straight. It is possible it will flex slightly but no deliberate flexing of the free leg is attempted. This is quite different from technique associated with Salsa, for instance. On the next beat (beat three) weight is returned to the left leg. Then a Cha cha chasse is danced RLR. Each partner is now in a position to dance the bar their partner just danced. Hence the fundamental construction of Cha cha extends over two bars.

The checked first step is a later development in the International Chacha. Because of the action used during the forward step (the one taking only part weight) the basic pattern turns left, whereas in earlier times chacha was danced without rotation of the alignment. Hip actions are allowed to occur at the end of every step. For steps taking a single beat the first half of the beat constitutes the foot movement and the second half is taken up by the hip movement.

Over the history there has been two schools of dancing the Cha-cha chasse. In one school both knees are allowed to be flexed on the count of `and' to eliminate an increase in height as the feet are brought towards each other. In the other school the leading foot is placed with the checked knee and the "bopping" is eliminated by hip action.

Related Classes: Latin Rumba, Latin Samba, Salsa, Jive, Paso Doble
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Starlinn Actfa DanceSTARLINN CHOO YANQING joined the SFDF program in 2004 while studying in NUS, training 12 hours a day; she completed her SFDF, Diploma & IHDC courses in 3 years, using her teaching income to finance her classes in Diploma & IHDC. In 2008 she pursued her IMDC Dance Business & is now doing her 3 years IPHDC Dance Product Research. While pursuing her IHDC she was already traveling around the world for assignments. more


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 Libin Actfa DanceLB, a masters degree holder working for a MNC, decided to do a career switch after he completed his SFDF. He then worked as an International Sales Manager in dance products, an international artist & dance instructor. He is the Singapore Bachata Champion 2008 and the 1st runner up in the Asia Salsa Championship behind Serge and Polina from Russia in 2010. more


manfred Actfa DanceMANGGOH was one of the elite few selected for the Mediacorp Dance Academy in 2000. He graduated from NTU with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and used to work as a Project Manager in the IT Industry. He passed his examination & evaluation for SFDF and is currently doing his Diploma & IHDC. more


maricel Actfa DanceMARICEL, a professional dancer from the Philippines, joined SFDF in 2009. In less than a year, she has performed at the Esplanade Da:ns Festival 2009, Salsa Cruise Asia 2009, & has also been to China to teach & perform. In 2010 she was offered a full time dance instructor job in Singapore. She has since gone on to set up a dance studio in the Philippines and comes back periodically to upgrade her skills.


rachel Actfa DanceRACHEL an undergraduate in NTU joined the SFDF in 2010 and was offered to open a dance studio in China.  She has taught and performed in Guang Zhou, Shen Zhen, Hong Kong, Singapore.


 derrick actfa danceDERRICK has over 20 years of dance instructor experience with more than 30 types of dance. He was granted an exemption from SFDF after taking an examination & evaluation and signed up for the diploma & IHDC simultaneously.


tamil actfa danceTAMIL, a professional dancer & teacher actively involved in competitions & performances for Hip Hop, Bollywood, Indian Dance. He was teaching dance in secondary school and choreographing for SYF. He joined the IHDC program to further his training as a dancer & teacher in 2009.  Since joining the IHDC, he has taught, performed & competed in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan.


brenda actfa danceBRENDA joined the SFDF when she was 13 years old and was hired to teach and perform both locally and overseas after 6 months. She was also financing her own dance study while teaching private dance classes.  Under the SFDF, she was the 1st runner up in the Asia Salsa Championship 2010 and Singapore Bachata Champion 2009.  She was given opportunities to teach in Malaysia, Hong Kong, China.

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Contact Details

Actfa School of Dance & Performing Arts
Tel:  +65 6225 0150                        Location:  Map
Email:  i@actfa.com                      Inquiries:  Ask Us
47A Chander Road, Singapore 219546
(3min from Little India MRT, exit E
Parking at Grand Imperial Hotel)