Argentine tango refers to the original tango from Buenos Aires, Argentina. It originated in the 1880’s but was discouaged by different political regimes in the country and died out after a time. In the 1980’s, the show Forever Tango traveled across the globe re-introducing this sensual style of tango dancing. Audiences across the world were excited and ready to dance this sensual form of the tango. In the tango, the lead and follow must be connected and respond to the music in spontaneous movement to the music. There are no set rhythm units but the dance is composed of walks and rocks. There are several different positions including closed embrace and a salon style embrace.
Salsa - characterized by vibrant, energetic hip swinging inflamed by an intense beat - coalesced in the 1960s as a blending of Cuban mambo and Latin jazz infused with choreographic and stylistic imprints from Puerto Ricans living in New York City. In Colombia and Venezuela salsa gave expression and identity to the marginalized barrios of urban centres. Salsa dancers constantly manipulate and vary steps to create new ones, and competition becomes part of the fun. Salsa has broken the barriers of ethnicity and class to become the epitome of Latino pride and sentiment. By the 21st century, salsa was considered a world beat, a variety of music and dance performed throughout the world.
The swing dance was discovered by a black community during the 1920’s through dancing to contemporary jazz music. Swing dance was inspired by a revolution of jazz music that kept audiences dancing and thus music was known and described as ‘Swing Jazz’ to befit the effect of the music to its audiences. Soon, the dancing evolved to fit the music and vice-verca, causing the development of the name ‘swing dance’ in the mid 1920’s.
The dance came in many styles including the Balboa, Lindy Hop, Lindy Charleston and Collegiate Shag. The Lindy Hop remains the most famous of the swing dances today. Most of the dances originated from African American communities, but some like the Balboa came from other communities.
Bachata arose around the middle of the 20th century in the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean. Its roots are in some African rhythms, Cuban son and bolero. In the beginning this musical style was valued and listened to by the most popular social classes, and rejected by high level society.
Etymologically, the word bachata was known in the Dominican Republic as reunion or party, where people played and listened to popular music. Where were these dancing meetings held? Wherever you are, street corners, courtyards, public parks, etc.
Around 1950, the rhythms that would form the bachata that we know today developed, replacing different initial instruments with others such as the so-called "guira" and some guitars. Therefore, at that time these rhythms were called "guitar boleros" in some areas.
The Merengue is the national dance of the Dominican Republic, and also to some extent, of Haiti, the neighbor sharing the island.
There are two popular versions of the of the origin of the Dominican national dance, the Merengue. One story alleges the dance originated with slaves who were chained together and, of necessity, were forced to drag one leg as they cut sugar to the beat of drums.
The second story alleges that a great hero was wounded in the leg during one of the many revolutions in the Dominican Republic. A party of villagers welcomed him home with a victory celebration and, out of sympathy, everyone dancing felt obliged to limp and drag one foot.
Merengue has existed since the early years of the Dominican Republic (in Haiti, a similar dance is called the Meringue or Mereng). It is possible the dance took its name from the confection made of sugar and egg whites because of the light and frothy character of the dance or because of its short, precise rhythms.
By the middle of the nineteenth century, the Merengue was very popular in the Dominican Republic. Not only is it used on every dancing occasion in the Republic, but it is very popular throughout the Caribbean and South America, and is one of the standard Latin American dances.
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A line dance is a choreographed dance with a repeated sequence of steps in which a group of people dance in one or more lines or rows, all facing either each other or in the same direction, and executing the steps at the same time. Unlike circle dancing, line dancers are not in physical contact with each other.
Line dancing is practiced and learned in country-western dance bars, social clubs, dance clubs and ballrooms. It is sometimes combined on dance programs with other forms of country-western dance, such as two-step, western promenade dances, and as well as western-style variants of the waltz, polka and swing. Line dances have accompanied many popular music styles since the early 1970s including pop, swing, rock and roll, disco, Latin (salsa suelta), rhythm and blues and jazz.
Dances like the Cha Cha Slide, Electric Slide, and Cupid Shuffle are a few of the line dances that have consistently remained part of modern American culture for years.
The term "modern line dance" is now used in many line dance clubs around the world to indicate the styles of dance that will be taught will include a mix from all genres, including pop, Latin, Irish, big band and country. It indicates that these are clubs who no longer wear western style clothing or boots. Participants dress in casual clothing and often wear dance trainers. The modern clubs are helping to encourage younger people into the pastime by often dancing to music they will be familiar with.