American Latin Dances
These dances, also called ‘Rhythm’ dances, feature many of the sensual, romantic, sexy Latin dances as well as the quintessentially American East Coast Swing. The Latin dances are “spot” dances, meaning the couples generally dance in the same spot on the dance floor as opposed to traveling around the dance floor in a counterclockwise circle, (as they do in the Ballroom or Smooth dances.) Rumba, Cha Cha Cha, East Coast Swing, Bolero, Jive, Paso Doble, Mamba, Samba.
Rumba is often called the “dance of love”, distinguished by its 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. Rumba is danced to music in 4/4 time and the count of the steps is slow-quick-quick.
Cha Cha Cha
Cha 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 Cha is more staccato than Rumba to reflect the music with emphasis on count 1. The Cha 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). There is also the concept of ‘drop and drift’ used on forward and back breaks, left-turning slip pivots and extended movements such as larger side steps. The Bolero frame is wider than a typical Rhythm frames and is a blend between the Smooth and Rhythm frame with the distance between the partners only a few inches apart or light body contact.
Jive is similar to a triple-step East Coast Swing. Jive, however, is much faster, arguably more elegant (and less earthy), and uses a lot of knee and hip action.
Paso Doble is a stirring and dramatic dance based on a Spanish bull fight. The leader in this dance represents the Matador and the lady symbolizes his red cape. Paso Doble features beautiful body shapes and sharp, flamenco-like footwork.
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.
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.