Ballroom Dance Styles
At the Sandra Cameron Dance Center we specialize in teaching Social Dancing. Social Dancing, as the name suggests, is designed to be a social activity that is a fun, a relaxed and an enjoyable experience for all of the couples on the floor. Anything interfering with that objective, such as extended elbows, the use of flight or a competitive attitude, is frowned upon.
In contrast, Competition Style Dancing, which some of our teachers do teach, is both an art form and a sport. Competition dancers want to perform in front of an audience, want to be ranked highly by the judges and, in the end, win. This style demands a high standard of technique, supported by beautiful costumes, makeup and approved choreography.
Our Ballroom syllabus is a combination of both American Style and International Style figures. International Style Standard (Ballroom) and Latin are danced throughout the world. This style was standardized by the English and is known for its high level of technique. In International Style Standard, the couple remains in frame throughout the dance. American Style Ballroom (Smooth) has an element of freedom not found in International Standard. The couple may change their frame, perform underarm turns and separate. Allowing for fun, individuality and self-expression, this style lends itself easily to social dance.
Foxtrot was named after Harry Fox, a vaudevillian whose trotting steps to ragtime music became know as Fox’s Trot. In the early 1900’s, the exhibition dancers Vernon and Irene Castle, with their elegance, subtlety and technique, popularized the Foxtrot and created many of the dance’s social figures. In their films Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers reached an even greater audience. With its combination of quick and slow beats, the Foxtrot can be danced as a traveling dance or in a crowded room as a crush dance. It allows for great flexibility and variety.
Rhumba & Cha Cha
Two of the classic social dances from Cuba. Learn the basic steps and turns, many of which can be used in Salsa. A must for any serious student of Latin dancing.
The Quickstep originated in England (International Style) as a fast Foxtrot. Danced in 4/4 time, it contains elements of Foxtrot, Peabody and Charleston but many of the figures are similar to those in the Waltz. The Quickstep is characterized by rhythmic surprises, flight, rotation, hops, skips and quick running steps.
The Ballroom Tango as we know it today originated as a social dance in Argentina. Today, Tango has evolved into three different Tangos: Argentine, International and American. Each style contains its own frame, poise, figures and interpretation of the music. In the 1920’s, in accordance with their culture and mores, the English standardized a formal version as International Tango. The American Style Tango, as per the American culture, allows for more freedom of interpretation than International Tango. It contains figures of both the Argentine and International Tangos but allows for underarm turns, shadow positions, etc.
Both of today’s popular Waltzes (Fast or Viennese Waltz and the Slow Waltz) are danced in 3/4 time. The Fast Waltz, developed in 17th century Austria, was based on the turning and gliding dances of the Austrian peasants. Its development in the Hapsburg ballrooms revolutionized social dancing forever. Instead of dancing in choreographed lines, the man put his hand on the woman’s waist and they danced as a couple facing each other throughout the dance. The Church felt that the Waltz was morally decadent. The dance position, as well as the excitement that arose in the dancers, was thought of as unacceptable. The Slow Waltz originated in the US in the late 1800’s and began as The Boston. The music’s slower tempo allowed long, gliding steps instead of fast revolutions. The Fast Waltz is characterized by its energy and element of risk; the slow Waltz is characterized by its rise and fall as well as its romantic quality.