Social Dance

Salsa

Salsa: One of the most popular Latin dances in the Singapore dance scene, it is easy to learn and a great way to make friends!  Salsa's hot spicy rhythm forces hips to sway and dance to the beat. You can find Salsa dancing in clubs and dance studios in every major city in the world and Salsa classes and dancing can be found every night in Singapore.

Salsa is a dance style associated with the salsa style of music now popular worldwide.  It's all about rhythm. For Cubans especially, music and dance has always had a very special place in society. Salsa music which is the "essential pulse of Latin music" is primarily played in Latin Dance Clubs. While not the easiest dance form, because of its fast tempo, it is not particularly difficult, and dancers of all skill levels should be able to gain proficiency within a matter of months. Salsa is usually danced with a partner and can be flirtatious in a fun way and sensuous in another. However, dancers may integrate solo breaks known as shines into their routines. Salsa shines involve lots of flamboyant movements and demonstrations of the body, and are intended as a way for a dancer to show off their full talent. While shines are in theory improvisational, there are many standard shines which dancers learn and can fall back on.

There are 3 different types of Salsa: the LA style Salsa On 1; New York style Salsa On 2 otherwise known as Mambo; and finally the Cuban style Salsa. All 3 types of Salsa have a pattern of six steps danced over eight counts of music. The LA and New York style Salsa are usually danced in a linear motion. Cuban Salsa on the other hand tends to go in a circular motion at all angles.

LA Style Salsa On 1
L.A. style is danced on 1 which literally means to dance on the first beat of the phrase, therefore gaining the name as "On 1". It is highly influenced by Hollywood showing many similarities with the lindy-hop, the swing and the hustle. In Salsa On 1, turns have become an important feature and also emphasizes theatricality and acrobatics.

New York Style Salsa On 2
Unlike LA style, New York style is danced on 2 which literally means to dance on the second beat of the phrase, hence taking on the name - "On 2". Many also refer to this style as "Mambo". On 2 timing emphasises the conga drum's tumbao pattern, and encourages the dancer to listen to percussive elements of the music.

Cuban Style Salsa
Cuban-style salsa can be danced either on the down beat ("a tiempo") or the upbeat ("a contratiempo"). Beats 1,3,5 and 7 are downbeats and 2,4,6 and 8 are upbeats. The Cuban Salsa is more commonly danced in groups of couples, with frequent exchanges of partner in which the style is that in many patterns, the leader and follower circle around each other and the patterns are synchronised by a caller. This form is also known as Rueda de Casino.

DID YOU KNOW?
Salsa means sauce in the Spanish Language, and carries connotations of the spiciness common in Latin and Caribbean cuisine. Salsa also suggests a "mixture" of ingredients, though this meaning is not found in most stories of the term's origin.

Related Classes: Bachata, Street Cha Cha, Zouk, Lumbia, Jazroc, Practica, Salsa Shines, Salsa Styling, Cuban Salsa, Merengue, Casino Rueda, Afro Cuban Rumba
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Argentine Tango

Tango is a classic dance that is widely known in Singapore and around the world as a passionately romantic dance.  A fondly beloved dance in Singapore, Argentine Tango classes are popular amongst couples and singles to indulge in their emotional, elegant and passionate side.  Romantic and sophisticated; classy and sexy: Tango is a dance that has won over the hearts of generations time and time again. Join us in Actfa Dance School Singapore and discover this dance that is a national pride of Argentina!

“The music goes in my ears, is filtered through my heart, and comes out through my feet.” - El Flaco Dany Garcia

Tango has entranced dancers and audiences with its beauty, passion, drama and excitement. The pure joy of dancing tango is found at the milonga. A milonga refers to the event where tangos, milongas and waltzes are danced.  Tango as a music and a dance originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay and spread to the rest of the world soon after that.

Tango dance and tango music originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the area of the Rio de la Plata, and spread to the rest of the world soon after. Tango is a dance that has influences from Spanish and African culture.

Argentine Tango is danced in an embrace that can vary from very open, in which leader and follower connect at arms length, to very closed, in which the connection is chest-to-chest, or anywhere in between. The pure and very typical part of the argentine Tango is the very rich footwork and legwork. In tango, the steps are typically more gliding, but can vary widely in timing, speed, and character, and follow no single specific rhythm. Tango is essentially walking with a partner and the music. A good dancer is one who makes you see the music.

A tango is a living act in the moment as it happens and relies heavily on improvisation. One of the very interesting parts of the argentine Tango is, that men and women do not dance the same part as in a mirror. He can lead her in other elements, then he will dance himself and combines them to new combinations.

Early tango was known as tango criollo, or simply tango. Today, there are many tango dance styles, including Argentine Tango, Uruguayan Tango, Ballroom tango (American and International styles), Finnish tango and vintage tangos. What many consider to be the authentic tango is that closest to that originally danced in Argentina and Uruguay, though other types of tango have developed into mature dances in their own right.

History of Tango
The dance originated in lower-class districts of Buenos Aires. The music derived from the fusion of various forms of music from Europe. Jorge Luis Borges in "El idioma de los argentinos" writes:"Tango belongs to the Rio de la Plata and it is the son of Uruguayan "milonga" and grandson of the "habanera". The word Tango seems to have first been used in connection with the dance in the 1890s. Initially it was just one of the many dances, but it soon became popular throughout society, as theatres and street barrel organs spread it from the suburbs to the working-class slums, which were packed with hundreds of thousands of European immigrants.

In the early years of the twentieth century, dancers and orchestras from Buenos Aires and Montevideo travelled to Europe, and the first European tango craze took place in Paris, soon followed by London, Berlin, and other capitals. Towards the end of 1913 it hit New York in the USA, and Finland. In the USA around 1911 the name "Tango" was often applied to dances in a 2/4 or 4/4 rhythm such as the one-step. The term was fashionable and did not indicate that tango steps would be used in the dance, although they might be. Tango music was sometimes played, but at a rather fast tempo. Instructors of the period would sometimes refer to this as a "North American Tango", versus the "Rio de la Plata Tango". By 1914 more authentic tango stylings were soon developed, along with some variations like Albert Newman's "Minuet" Tango.

In Argentina, the onset in 1929 of the Great Depression, and restrictions introduced after the overthrow of the Hipólito Yrigoyen government in 1930 caused Tango to decline. Its fortunes were reversed as tango again became widely fashionable and a matter of national pride under the government of Juan Perón. Tango declined again in the 1950s with economic depression and as the military dictatorships banned public gatherings, followed by the popularity of Rock and Roll. The dance lived on in smaller venues until its revival in 1983 following the opening in Paris of the show Tango Argentino created by Claudio Segovia & Hector Orezzoli. This show made a revolution worldwide, and people everywhere started taking tango lessons.

In 1990, dancers Miguel Angel Zotto and Milena Plebs founded the "Tango X 2" Company , generating novel spectacles and that a great current of young people incline for the dance of the tango, an unusual thing at the time. They created a style that recovered the traditional tango of the milongas, renewed it and placed it as central element in its creations, doing an archeological search of the diverse styles of the tango.

Many shows toured around the world, such as Broadway Musicals Tango Argentino & Forever Tango, Tango X 2, and Tango Pasion among others.

Tango styles
Tango consists of a variety of styles that developed in different regions and eras of Argentina and Uruguay as well as in other locations around the world. The dance developed in response to many cultural elements, such as the crowding of the venue and even the fashions in clothing. The styles are mostly danced in either open embrace, where lead and follow have space between their bodies, or close embrace, where the lead and follow connect either chest-to-chest (Argentine tango) or in the upper thigh, hip area (American and International tango).

Different styles of Tango are:
Tango Argentino
Tango Oriental (uruguayo)
Tango Canyengue
Tango Liso
Tango Salon
Tango Orillero
Tango Milonguero (Tango Apilado)
Tango Nuevo
Show Tango (also known as Fantasia)
Ballroom Tango
Finnish Tango
Filipino Tango

These are danced to several types of music:
Tango
Vals (the tango version of waltz)
Milonga (a related dance that usually has a faster tempo)
Tango Electronico
"Alternative Tango," i.e. non-tango music appropriated for use in the dance

The "milonguero" style is characterized by a very close embrace, small steps, and syncopated rhythmic footwork. It is based on the petitero or caquero style of the crowded downtown clubs of the '50s.

In contrast, the tango that originated in the family clubs of the suburban neighborhoods (Villa Urquiza/Devoto/Avellaneda etc.) emphasizes long elegant steps, and complex figures. In this case the embrace may be allowed to open briefly, to permit execution of the complicated footwork.

The complex figures of this style became the basis for a theatrical performance style of Tango seen in the touring stage shows. For stage purposes, the embrace is often very open, and the complex footwork is augmented with gymnastic lifts, kicks, and drops.
A newer style sometimes called "Tango Nuevo" has been popularized in recent years by a younger generation of dancers. The embrace is often quite open and very elastic, permitting the leader to lead a large variety of very complex figures. This style is often associated with those who enjoy dancing to jazz- and techno-tinged "alternative Tango" music, in addition to traditional Tango compositions.

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)

Finnish tango
The tango spread from the dominant urban dance form to become hugely popular across Finland in the 50s after the wars. The melancholy tone of the music reflects the themes of Finnish folk poetry; Finnish tango is almost always in a minor key.
The tango is danced in very close full upper body contact in a wide and strong frame, and features smooth horizontal movements that are very strong and determined. Dancers are very low, allowing long steps without any up and down movement. Forward steps land heel first, and in backward steps dancers push from the heel. In basic steps, the passing leg moves quickly to rest for a moment close to the grounded leg.
Each year the Tangomarkkinat, or tango festival, draws over 100,000 tangophiles to the central Finnish town of Seinäjoki, which also hosts the Tango Museum.

Tango Nuevo
In the late 1990s a new style of tango dancing began appearing worldwide. Tango Nuevo dance style features an open embrace, fluid partner movements, trading of lead and further regional reinventions of the tango dance. Tango Nuevo is largely fueled by a fusion between tango music and electronica, though the style can be adapted to traditional tango and even non-tango songs. Gotan Project released their first tango fusion album in 2000, quickly following with La Revancha del Tango, released in 2001. Bajofondo Tango Club, a Rioplatense music band consisting of seven musicians from Argentina and Uruguay, released their first album in 2002. Tanghetto's album Emigrante (electrotango) appeared in 2003 and was nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2004. These and other electronic tango fusion songs bring an element of revitalization to the tango dance, serving to attract a younger group of dancers.

Filipino Tango
This is a very interesting and more free form style of tango. It seems to be a combination of hustle and American style tango. Lots of open breaks and turn as in hustle.

Technique comparison
Argentine, Uruguayan and Ballroom Tango use very different techniques and vocabularies, to the point where some consider them related in name only. In Argentine tango, the body's center moves first, then the feet reach to support it. In ballroom tango, the body is initially set in motion across the floor through the flexing of the lower joints (hip, knee, ankle) while the feet are delayed, then the feet move quickly to catch the body, resulting in snatching or striking action that reflects the staccato nature of this style's preferred music.
In Argentine tango, the steps are typically more gliding, but can vary widely in timing, speed, and character, and follow no single specific rhythm. Because the dance is led and followed at the level of individual steps, these variations can occur from one step to the next. This allows the dancers to vary the dance from moment to moment to match the music (which often has both legato and/or staccato elements) and their mood.

The Argentine Tango's frame, called an abrazo or "embrace," is not rigid, but flexibly adjusts to different steps, and may vary from being quite close, to offset in a "V" frame, to open. The American Ballroom Tango's frame is flexible too, but experienced dancers frequently dance in closed position: higher in the elbows, tone in the arms and constant connection through the body. When dancing socially with a beginners, however, it may be better to use a more open position because the close position is to intimate for them. In American Tango open position may result in open breaks, pivots, and turns which are quite foreign in Argentine tango and International (English) tango.

There is a closed position as in other types of ballroom dance, but it differs significantly between types of tango. In Argentine Tango, the "close embrace" involves continuous contact at the full upper body, but not the legs. In American Ballroom tango, the "close embrace" involves close contact in the pelvis or upper thighs, but not the upper body. Followers are instructed to thrust their hips forward, but pull their upper body away, and shyly look over their left shoulder when they are led into a "corte."

In Argentine tango open position, the legs may be intertwined and hooked together, in the style of Pulpo (the Octopus). In Puplpo's style, these hooks are not sharp, stacco ganchos, but smooth ganchos.

In Argentine Tango, the ball or toe of the foot may be placed first. Alternately, the dancer may take the floor with the entire foot in a cat-like manner. In the International style of Tango, "heel leads" (stepping first onto the heel, then the whole foot) are used for forward steps.
Ballroom tango steps stay close to the floor, while the Argentine Tango includes moves such as the boleo (allowing momentum to carry one's leg into the air) and gancho (hooking one's leg around one's partner's leg or body) in which the feet travel off the ground. Argentine Tango features other vocabulary foreign to ballroom, such as the parada (in which the leader puts his foot against the follower's foot), the arrastre (in which the leader appears to drag or be dragged by the follower's foot), and several kinds of sacada (in which the leader displaces the follower's leg by stepping into her space).

Finnish tango is closer to the Argentine than to Ballroom in its technique and vocabulary. Other regional variations are based on the Argentine style as well.

Related Classes: Ballroom Tango, Kizomba, Zouk, Bachata
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Salsa Styling

Go for a Salsa "facelift" here! This Salsa Styling dance class in Actfa Dance School Singapore teaches the ladies and men how to make their dancing more unique by incorporating various isolations, hand and foot work.  This class is meant for both ladies & men, to teach real-time application of body movements, hand styling, fancy footwork into their social dancing. 

Learn easy steps like Latin hand and leg pops, to more complicated ones like shoulder rolls, shimmies and bodywaves that are popular styling moves in the Singapore Salsa dance scene; learn how to pose smartly and with great confidence; learn how to charm him or her with simple, yet stunning moves on the dance floor.

This Latin dance class is meant for Salsa beginners who are new to body movement techniques, but also useful for seasoned dancers who want to touch up on their dance style. Throughout the course you will learn fundamental body isolations for Salsa, simple hand styling, easy to use footwork and body movements while dancing and also simple Salsa shines.

It's a fun class, filled with smiles, laughter and lots of character.  So what are you waiting for - learn how to stand out in the crowd; learn how to blow your dance partner away! 

Mondays 7.15 - 8.15pm
$225 for 13 classes. Call 6225 0150, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

PS: This class is focused on newbies to styling. If you are looking for advanced styling, try our Salsa Practica class or private classes.
PPS: You will benefit more from this class if you are also taking our Salcaa Body Isolation & Conditioning class also on Mondays at 8.15pm.

Related Classes: Bachata, Street Cha Cha, Zouk, Lumbia, Jazroc, Practica, Salsa Shines, Salsa, Cuban Salsa, Merengue, Casino Rueda, Afro Cuban Rumba
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Bachata

Learn the smoking, sizzling Bachata dance from Basic to Advanced classes in Actfa Dance School Singapore.  Bachata lessons are taught from open to close embrace, including the unique body isolations and footwork that defines Bachata as a much beloved dance. 

Bachata, a form of music and dance that originated in the countryside and the rural neighborhoods of the Dominican Republic. Its subjects are often romantic; especially prevalent are tales of heartbreak and sadness. In fact, the original term used to name the genre was amargue ("bitterness," or "bitter music"), until the rather ambiguous (and mood-neutral) term bachata became popular. It has been compared to the blues, although in modern times it bears similarities to R&B.

Bachata was created primarily by servants, who played it after their work days ended. They made the music out of ordinary objects like those commonly found in a backyard such as trash cans and fences. In some rural areas of the Dominican Republic, bachata means trash, but most citizens also agree that it means a party. Others say that bachata is derived from the Italian ballata, which was a popular form of music in Italy centuries ago.[citation needed] Bachata did not begin as the popular dance music that it is today and it was not acceptable among higher society. Guitar (either electric or acoustic) whose sound has been doctored with a flanger, reverb, echo, or a combination of the three, is featured. The use of arpeggiated chords as the basis for the melody is almost standard. An additional guitar, called the segunda (rhythm guitar), is usually mixed at a lower volume and provides syncopation. An electric bass guitar and güira help anchor the rhythm, with the güira sounding a bit like a high-hat (in pre 1990s bachata, maracas were played instead of güira). The use of the bongo drum further solidifies the basic beat and provides percussive accents in transition points; for instance right before a chorus.

Bachata is a popular guitar music from the Dominican Republic. Now successful among Latinos in the United States, bachata took shape over a period of about 40 years in the bars and brothels of Santo Domingo, not gaining acceptance in its native land until the late 1990s. Young groups like Bronx-based Aventura have a similar relationship to original bachata as rock and rollers do to the blues, which has languished in the shadow of its more commercially viable descendant. In fact, the parallel between bachata and the blues is marked. Although bachata developed out of, and bachateros play, a variety of different rhythms, notably including merengue, the music which is specifically called bachata is a variant of the bolero. The bolero in Latin culture has traditionally been a romantic music, dealing with themes like deception and lost love. The bachatero, like the bluesman, sings about pain and trouble; one difference, though, is that while the bluesman hops on a southbound freight and keeps moving, the bachatero gets as far as the neighborhood bar and looks for solace in a bottle of rum in a dark corner!

The genre has passed through several phases since José Manuel Calderón recorded what is generally recognized as the first bachata single (“Borracho de amor” and “Que será de mi (Condena)”) in 1961. Indeed, long before Calderón, guitar music was the music of choice in the places of ill repute which became home to bachata. The guitar and guitar music like bolero and son were also the staples of the campo, the countryside, and with the death of dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1961 a number of musicians left the campo to record in the capital. The dictator’s family had virtually monopolized the music industry in the country, and when he was killed entrepreneurs began recording the first generation of bachateros. At this point the music was not yet referred to as bachata, but rather as “bolero campesino”. The word bachata originally denoted an informal party where guitar music was generally played; only later did it come to signify the music itself, and then in a denigrating manner.

When Calderón recorded, bachata was essentially a type of bolero, very little different from the Puerto Rican, Ecuadorian, Mexican and Peruvian music that inspired it. In subsequent years, the music began to define itself as a genre which, while still based principally on the bolero rhythm, is easily distinguishable from it. In order to understand these changes it is useful to divide the genre into the following categories, each of which roughly corresponds to a time period:
Bachata-bolero, Cabaret Bachata, Sexual Double Entendre Bachata, Tecno-bachata, Frontier Bachata, Romantic Bachata, Vallenato and Bachata, The New York School.

The bachata played today uses electric guitar and has phrasing which is more rhythmic and groove-like than in earlier styles. The evolution to electric has perhaps helped make bachata more accessible.  Some associate Juan Luis Guerra's Grammy winning 1992 release, Bachata Rosa, with bachata's rise in legitimacy and international recognition. Others argue that Guerra had very little to do with bachata's rise, and that, although he used the word bachata in an album title, he never actually even recorded a song in a typical bachata style.
In 2006, the Dominican group Aventura, based in New York City, was probably the best known bachata group worldwide, with its single "Obsesión" having dominated for a long time radio play both in Latin America, US Latino markets, and countries as distant as Italy and Sweden. While they are superseded at the international level by Aventura, for the Dominican audience, the most popular of the modern bachateros have been Antony Santos and Luis Vargas. Other artists of note include Raulin Rodriguez, Zacarias Ferreira, Frank Reyes, Monchy y Alexandra, Domenic Marte, Xtreme, Andy Andy, Elvis Martinez, Leonardo Paniagua, Los Toros Band, and Joe Veras.

The basic footwork is a series of simple steps that produce a back and forth or sideways motion. A schematic footwork would be as follows: starting with the right foot make a chasse to the right on counts 1,2. On 3, touch the left toe beside your right foot (alternatively, tapping the left toe in place, i.e., apart from the right foot, make an upwards jerk with the left hip). Then do the same from your left foot. The character of the dance is achieved through sensual hip and body movements. You can also add turns to spice it up a little or dance closer together or far apart depending on how comfortable you are with your dance partner. The more you dance with someone the more likely you will be able to lead them or be led. Usually the male leads and the female follows.

Related Classes: Salsa, Street Cha Cha, Zouk, Lumbia, Jazroc, Practica, Salsa Shines, Salsa Styling, Cuban Salsa, Merengue, Casino Rueda, Afro Cuban Rumba
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Practica

Practica is a class that practices social dancing, or dancing with a partner without any fixed choreographed routine.  The students practice leading and following and the instructor moves from student to student to correct any specific mistakes.

Practical: it's like a 5 min private lesson while social dancing where you are corrected on your lead/follow techniques, spins, styling, shines, body movements... depending on the dance that you are doing.  Actfa provides practical for Salsa, Tango, Bachata and other social dances.

It's a great course for those who
a) find it hard to bring their dance moves from the classroom to the dance floor ("it's ok in class but I can't do it while social dancing"...)
b) want some one-on-one criticism and direction that is specifically catered to your needs
c) wanna be a great social dancer but don't know how

Quite a few who have been through the course say that it is one of the classes that they have really benefited from.


Related Classes: Bachata, Street Cha Cha, Zouk, Lumbia, Jazroc, Argentine Tango, Salsa Shines, Salsa Styling, Cuban Salsa, Merengue, Casino Rueda, Afro Cuban Rumba
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Jazroc

Jazroc: It is a simple partner dance that great for beginners to learn and perform due to its simplicity in movements and catchy jazzy music.  Similar to Merengue or Swing, the lead and follow style introduces fundamental partner moves in an easy to learn way, which can be applied later in more difficult dances.

Related Classes: Salsa, Bachata, Street Cha Cha, Cuban Salsa, Merengue, Jive, Modern Jive, West Coast Swing, Night Club 2 Step
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Zouk

Zouk Classes Singapore DanceZouk is a Brazilian partner dance that is popular among Salsa and Bachata dancers in the social scene in Singapore. It has a deep rhythmic vibe and is characterized by the smooth sensual sway of the hips, head movements and full body dips, with an interesting and different feel as compared to other Latin dances, making it a fun dance to explore, especially if you are looking for something different and new to try.

The dance is characterized by distinctive head movements like Cabeça and Boneca with a lot of body and hip movements.  It is a style of rhythmic music originating from the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. It has its roots in compas music from Haiti,. Zouk means "party" or "festival" in the local creole of French with English and African influences, all three of which contribute the sound. In Africa, it is popular in franco/luso countries, while on the African islands of Cape Verde they have developed their own type of zouk. In Europe it is particularly popular in France, and in North America the Canadian province of Quebec.

Origins

The zouk music style was invented in the early 1980s when many different styles were fused, such as compas, balakadri, the Dominica based cadence and bal granmoun dances, mazurka and biguine, French and American pop, and kadans, gwo ka and other indigenous styles.

Zouk-Lambada (also called Lambada-Zouk) is a group of closely related dance styles based on or evolved from the lambada dance style and is typically danced to zouk music or other music containing the zouk beat. There are two dominant styles of Zouk-Lambada called (Brazilian) zouk and Lambazouk. The Zouk-Lambada dancing styles are among the most popular non-ballroom dances for couples in Brazil, others being Forró, Lambada, Samba de gafieira and Salsa.

Brazilian zouk

Brazilian zouk is mainly danced in Brazil (Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia), The Netherlands and some other European countries, It uses a modified, slower, smoother, even more sensual version of the lambada and is typically danced on Zouk-love style music. In the Netherlands this dance style goes under the name of zouk-love.

The Brazilian zouk dance style was first developed by Jaime Aroxa, Adilio Porto and Renata Peçanha in Rio de Janeiro around 1989. In the Netherlands it was first introduced (in the early 2000s) by Claudio Gomes. Today Brazilian zouk is also danced on R&B, Latin pop and Arabic music, mixed with a zouk music beat.

Unlike salsa, which is led with the hands; Brazilian zouk is led by more parts of the body, noticeably the glued-to-each-other hips of the partners. Thus, in a basic sideways movement, it is the hips that move first, followed by the rest of the body, and this is part of what makes the dance so sensual. However, in various moves the dance partners are also connected by eye contact, legs, arms, shoulders, head, etc.

When practicing zouk in dance classes, teachers generally warn women to be very careful with their backs and necks, as two of the most distinctive and commented-on movements are the cambré (arching backwards to a greater or lesser degree, sometimes even below the waist) and the specific 'hair movements' or ' head movements' for the woman. If not done properly this could lead to injury.
As of today Zouk is becoming well known and apart from the original styles Lambada (faster) and Zouk (latter development) some people distinguish other styles like Soulzouk, NeoZouk and Zouk-Revolution. Whether these are truly separate styles or just individual ways of dancing zouk is, however, still a point of debate.

Lambazouk

In many countries the term Lambazouk refers to the Lambada dance style or a variation of it, danced to Zouk music. It is mainly danced in North-East Brazil (Porto Seguro) and Spain. It differs from Brazilian Zouk in the way the steps are performed on the music. To put it simple, Brazilian Zouk is danced on the dominant beat ("toom-cheek-cheek"), while Lambazouk is danced on the small beats ("cheek-cheek-toom"). In general the Lambazouk/Lambada dancing style is more suitable for fast tempo music, while Brazilian zouk is more suitable for slow tempo music. It is also very common practice to switch fluently between these dancing styles during a single Zouk music song.

Related Classes: Bachata, Street Cha Cha, Salsa, Lumbia, Jazroc, Practica, Salsa Shines, Salsa Styling, Cuban Salsa, Merengue, Casino Rueda, Afro Cuban Rumba
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Lumbia

Lumbia is a slow salsa dance, which focuses on the social aspect of making friends, having fun, dancing to classic romantic and slow songs.  Lumbia as a dance highlights the culture and social aspect of the dance as much as the dance itself.  Salsa, danced to a slower beat, makes it conducive for beginners to dance and enjoy themselves.

Related Classes: Salsa, Bachata, Street Cha Cha, Zouk, Jazroc, Practica, Salsa Shines, Salsa Styling, Cuban Salsa, Merengue, Casino Rueda, Afro Cuban Rumba
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Casino Rueda

Salsa Rueda Dance Classes SingaporeRueda de Casino (Rueda, Casino Rueda, Salsa Rueda) is a particular type of round dancing of Salsa.  Lots of fun both on the dance floor and in class, Rueda is a great hit amongst Salsa dancers in Singapore and popular in Actfa Dance School Singapore because of its engaging and fun nature.  It is a great dance for Salsa beginner dancers who are scared to dance the whole song with a single partner because they cannot remember their steps : we change partners throughout the dance, and the leader will tell you what moves to do!

What is Rueda de Casino?  Rueda is a form of Salsa that is danced in a group and is great for making friends on the dance floor.  Pairs of dancers form a circle, with dance moves called out by one person, a caller (or 'Líder' or 'cantante' in Spanish). Many of the moves involve the swapping of partners.  

Rueda de Casino is as close to synchronized swimming - I mean Salsa dancing! - as you can get on the Salsa dance floor.  Gathered in a circle, Salsa dancers execute the same moves in what seems like a pre-determined set of choreographed moves. Then, getting closer, you realize that there is actually a leader calling out the moves for everyone to execute at the same time!

The Rueda was developed in Havana, Cuba in the late 1950s and early 1960s by the famous group Guaracheros de Regla and one of its main choreographers and creators was Jorge Alfaro from San Miguel del Padrón, a soloist of a comparsa.

The names of the moves are mostly in Spanish, some in English (or Spanglish; e.g., "un fly"). Some names are known in slightly different versions, easily recognizable by Spanish-speaking dancers, but may be confusing to the rest.

Rueda is not only popular in Cuba and the U.S.A., but in many other countries around the world - there are many active groups in at least Hungary, Israel, Norway, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Spain, Australia, Switzerland and the UK. At least in Germany and Israel, some of the calls are in German and Hebrew respectively.

Although the names of the calls are presently the same across the board, the different towns in Cuba use their own calls. This was due to the fact that when the pioneers of Rueda de Casino started, they wanted to keep others from participating in their Rueda. Nowadays many local variations of the calls can be found. They can change from town to town or even from teacher to teacher.

Nowadays, Rueda tries to be more "inclusive" and not "exclusive" and, in at least Singapore, Hong Kong, and Malaysia, Callers are choosing calls to coincide more with the regular calls made in Miami, parts of U.S.A., and Europe. Also, when instructors want to keep classes fresh and fun, they often make up new interesting calls. While this may decrease the fun of dancing rueda with people you just met, it makes for an expanding world of Rueda.

Casino Rueda scenes may be seen in the movie Dance with Me and in the music video clip No me dejes de querer by Gloria Estefan.

Related Classes: Bachata, Street Cha Cha, Zouk, Lumbia, Jazroc, Practica, Salsa Shines, Salsa Styling, Cuban Salsa, Merengue, Salsa, Afro Cuban Rumba
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Cuban Salsa

Cuban-style salsa (also called Casino) can be danced either on the down beat ("a tiempo") or the upbeat ("a contratiempo"). Beats 1,3,5 and 7 are downbeats and 2,4,6 and 8 are upbeats.

An essential element is the "Cuba step" (also known as Guapea), where the leader does a backward basic on 1-2-3 and a forward basic on 5-6-7. Usually the fourth beat is not counted. The follower does the same, thereby mirroring the leader's movement. Another characteristic of this style is that in many patterns the leader and follower circle around each other.

The cross body lead is an essential step in this style too and is referred to as Salida Cubana or as Dile que no in Rueda de Casino Dancing. This move becomes essential in the more complex derivative of Cuban Casino leading to the many moves of Rueda, or wheel dance. Here multiple couples exchange partners and carry out moves synchronized by a caller.

Cuban Salsa Dances: Performance at Student Recital, Performance at Esplanade


Related Classes: Bachata, Street Cha Cha, Zouk, Lumbia, Jazroc, Practica, Salsa Shines, Salsa Styling, Salsa, Merengue, Casino Rueda, Afro Cuban Rumba
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Afro Cuban Rumba

Afro Cuban Rumba Dance Class SingaporeCuban Rumba

The Afro Cuban Rumba is a dance that is closely linked to the Salsa dance community due to the similar origins of both dances.  In fact, the Afro Cuban Rumba style greatly influences the body movements and stylings of Salsa dancers in Singapore and around the world.  Many dance moves taught in the Salsa classes in Singapore, especially with regards to Shines and Styling have footwork, body and hand movements taken from Afro Cuban Rumba.  Locally, Actfa Dance School Singapore has performed various Cuban Rumba performances in the Esplanade Da:ns Festival and also shared the love of this dance through various dance classes around Singapore.

In Cuba, Rumba is a generic term covering a variety of musical rhythms and associated dances. The rumba has its influences in the music brought to Cuba by Spanish colonizers as well as Africans brought to Cuba as slaves.Rumba developed in the Cuban provinces of Havana and Matanzas in the late 19th century. As a energetic Afro-Cuban dance, Rumba was often suppressed and restricted because it was viewed as dangerous and lewd.Afro-Cuban rumba is entirely different than Ballroom Rumba, or the African style of pop music called rumba. Rumba developed in rural Cuba, and is still danced in Havana, Mantanzas and other Cuban cities as well as rural areas, especially those with a significant or predominant African community, although now it is infused with influences from Jazz and Hip hop. A Cuban Rumba song often begins with the soloist singing meaningless syllables, which is called 'diana(s)'. He then may proceed to improvise lyrics stating the reason for holding the present Rumba ('decimar'; span.: to make ten-line stanzas), or instead tunes into a more or less fixed song such as: "Ave Maria Morena" (Yambú, Anónimo), "Llora Como Lloré" (Guaguancó, S. Ramirez), "Cuba Linda, Cuba Hermosa" (Guaguancó, R.Deza), "China de Oro (Laye Laye)" (Columbia), "Malanga (Murió)" (Columbia)". Cuban Rumba can be broken down into three types: Yambú, Guaguancó and Columbia.

Dance Classes Singapore: Afro Cuban Rumba

Rumba Yambú
Yambú is the oldest and slowest known style of rumba, sometimes called the Old People's Rumba. It uses the slowest beat of the three Rumba styles and incorporates movements feigning frailty. It can be danced alone (especially by women) or by men and women together. Although male dancers may flirt with female dancers during the dance, they do not use the vacunao of Rumba Guaguancó.

Rumba Guaguancó
Rumba Guaguancó is faster than yambú, with more complex rhythms, and involves overtly flirtatious movements between a man and a woman in the roles of "Rooster" and "Hen".The woman both entices and "protects herself" from the man, who tries to catch the woman off-guard with a vacunao -- tagging her with the flip of a handkerchief or by throwing his arm, leg or pelvis in her direction in an act of symbolic sexual contact. To defend herself, she may cover with her hand, or use her skirt to protect her pelvis and whip the sexual energy away from her body. Guaguancó most likely inherited the idea of the 'vacunao' from yuca or macuta dances, which were both brought to Cuba by Bantú ethnic groups.

Musical Form of Rumba Guaguancó
The Rumba Guaguancó consists of two main sections. The first, the canto, features the lead vocalist, who performs an extended text that is sometimes partially improvised. Underneath the vocal three interlocking rhythmic parts are played: one or two drummers playing on differently tuned congas perform an ostinato (recurring pattern), while another musician taps a pattern on the side of one drum with two hard sticks, called palitos. Another, usually the lead singer, plays a standardized clave part.[1] This section usually lasts a few minutes, until the lead vocalist signals for the other singers to repeat a short refrain, in call and response. This signals the beginning of the second section, the montuno which features the dancers, as they engage in their "rooster and hen" antics, and also the band, with extended instrumental solos.

Rumba Columbia
Rumba Columbia (not "Colombia") is a fast and energetic Rumba, with a 6/8 feel, which is often accompanied by a 6/8 (Spanish 'seis por ocho') beat struck on a hoe or a bell. It is assumed that the Columbia originated in hamlets in the interior of Cuba rather than the suburbs of the larger cities from where other types of Cuban Rumba stem. Solo, traditionally male, dancers provoke the drummers, especially the player of the smallest drum (Quinto, here also soloist drum), to play complex rhythms that they imitate through their creative and sometimes acrobatic movements. Men may also compete with other men to display their agility, strength, confidence and even sense of humor. Columbia incorporates many movements derived from Congo dances as well as Spanish flamenco, and more recently dancers have incorporated breakdancing and hip hop moves. Women are also beginning to dance Columbia, too.According to Cuban percussionist, singer, composer and historian Gregorio 'el Goyo' Hernandez, who became widely accepted as a specialist in Cuban Rumba after his album "La Rumba Es Cubana: Su Historia" (2004, Unicornio No. 6004), Cuban Rumba Columbia has its origins in the drum patterns and chants of religious Cuban Abakuá traditions. Fact is that the 'cáscara' or 'palito' rhythm of Columbia, either beaten with two sticks on a piece of bamboo or on the rim of the congas, is the same as the one played in Abakuá chants, which is played with two small plaited rattles ('erikundi') filled with beans or similar objects. The drum patterns of the lowest conga drum is essentially the same in both Columbia and Abakuá as well.

Related Classes: Salsa, Bachata, Street Cha Cha, Zouk, Lumbia, Jazroc, Practica, Salsa Shines, Salsa Styling, Cuban Salsa, Merengue, Casino Rueda
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Kizomba

Kizomba Dance Class Singapore

The Kizomba dance in Singapore is danced to music similar to that of the romantic Zouk and is known for it's sensual style. Fondly known as Angolan Tango, it is a modern yet traditional dance. It shares the same intimacy and romance of Argentine Tango but with the flirty zest and twist of many modern Latin dances. Currently taking the dance world by storm, this dance celebrates a sensual passion for dance that you won’t be able to resist! It is currently a new and popular dance in Singapore and around the world.

Related Classes: Ballroom Tango, Argentine Tango, Zouk, Bachata
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Merengue

Merengue was made the official music and dance of the Dominican Republic by Rafael Trujillo. Partners hold each other in a closed position. The man holds the woman's waist with his right hand while keeping his left hand/her right hand at the woman's eye level. The merengue is a two-step beat requiring both partners to bend their knees slightly left and right. This in turn makes the hips move left and right. When danced correctly, the hips of the man and woman will move in the same direction throughout the song. Partners may walk sideways or circle each other, in small steps. They can further switch to a double handhold position and do separate turns without letting go each other's hands or momentarily releasing one hand. During these turns they may twist and tie their handhold into intricate pretzels. Other choreography is possible.

Some say it was derived from the "paso de la empalizada" (pole-fence step). There are also legends about a limping war hero (or El Presidente of a banana republic himself, in some versions) who had to step in this way while dancing because of wounds, and polite (or clueless) public imitated him.  Although the tempo of the music may be frantic, the upper body is kept majestic and turns are slow, typically four beats/steps per complete turn.

In the social dancing of the United States the "empalizada" style is replaced by exaggerated Cuban motion, taught in chain ballroom studios for dances of Latin American origin (Cha-cha-cha, Rumba, Mambo, Salsa).


Related Classes: Bachata, Street Cha Cha, Zouk, Lumbia, Jazroc, Practica, Salsa Shines, Salsa Styling, Cuban Salsa, Salsa, Casino Rueda, Afro Cuban Rumba
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Street 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.

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.


Related Classes: Bachata, Salsa, Zouk, Lumbia, Jazroc, Practica, Salsa Shines, Salsa Styling, Cuban Salsa, Merengue, Casino Rueda, Afro Cuban Rumba
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Modern Jive

Modern Jive is a dance style derived from Swing, Lindy Hop, Rock and Roll, Salsa and others.  It is danced to a steady 4/4 time, making it simple and easy to dance (by removing the syncopation in the steps).  It's great for beginners and largely danced to pop songs with a steady beat.

Related Classes: Salsa, Bachata, Street Cha Cha, Cuban Salsa, Merengue, Jive, Jazroc, West Coast Swing, Night Club 2 Step
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West Coast Swing

West Coast Swing is a partner dance with its roots in Lindy Hop. It is a relatively new social dance in Singapore, but is danced to pop songs, making it a favorite among young Singaporeans.  WCS is the 'Official State dance of California'. San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles all argue about what city West Coast Swing originated in, however Los Angeles California area tends to win the debate.

West Coast Swing originated from an earlier dance known as the Savoy Style Lindy, which was done at the Savoy Ballroom in New York in the early 1930's. Although WCS was not invented by, it was indirectly spawned by a man whose name was Dean Collins, who also danced at the Savoy while living in New York. It is characterised by a distinctive elastic look that results from its basic extension-compression technique of partner connection, and is danced primarily in a slotted area on the dance floor. The dance allows for both partners to improvise steps while dancing together.

The origins of the dance that became known as West Coast Swing can be traced to the swing era. During this period many jazz, blues, and western musicians incorporated, or emphasized, the “swing” in their music. Now, West Coast Swing is very popular with the pop music artistes such as: Neyo, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and many more.

Related Classes: Salsa, Bachata, Street Cha Cha, Cuban Salsa, Merengue, Jive, Modern Jive, Jazroc, Night Club 2 Step
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Night Club 2 Step

Night Club Two Step is an American style dance created in 1961 by Buddy Schwimmer. Evolved from other dances like the Rumba, and the New York Hustle. However, NC2S is much less structured than Latin Rumba because it was adapted for club-style environment and danced in a more casual, natural & relaxed manner.  Considered the romantic dance for the WCS community, it is done primarily to Contemporary Ballad music but can also be done to those music used for Zouk as well. One such popular song perfect for NC2S is “Lady in Red” Night Club Two Step follows a quick-quick slow rhythm, however several slow steps can be used in succession to emphasize the romantic feeling often associated with night club dancing.

The "Two Step", like all dances has gone through changes over time. It has evolved into two different feeling dances - "Night Club Two Step" and "Ballroom Two Step". These two variations have very different feelings. The "Ballroom Two Step" is very gliding, continuous, strong and powerful with a big sweeping feeling. It is precise and quite technical. "Night Club Two Step" feels more like a choppy Cha Cha and is quite compact. It has a more casual relaxed feeling.

The "Two Step" is a dance you can do in night clubs as well as ballrooms, weddings, cruises, etc. It's an alternative to the "Slow" dance. That's the dance where you stand, put your hands on your partner's waist and your partner puts her arms around your neck and you sway back and forth, back-and-forth etc. Night Club Two Step is one of the easiest dances to master.

Related Classes: Salsa, Bachata, Street Cha Cha, Cuban Salsa, Jazroc, Merengue, Jive, Modern Jive, West Coast Swing
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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


Bianca Actfa DanceBIANCA enrolled in the SFDF course after A-levels. Within 6 months she was dancing as a backup dancer for MTV. She has also traveled to many countries like Germany, UK, Taiwan & Hong Kong to teach & perform, & was offered a position to dance in a few Musical plays. 


 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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Actfa School of Dance & Performing Arts
Tel:  +65 6225 0150                        Location:  Map
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47A Chander Road, Singapore 219546
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