Dance is a way of life! People are rarely wrong when they say this, as dance expresses many lively aspects and emotions. Be it love, anger, disputes, chastity, entertainment, surprise, bliss, sadness; dance can represent every shade of human emotion. The movement to a rhythm is emotionally soothing and one confers a sense of accomplishment. Dance helps one to build confidence and express oneself; two things that every individual finds essential.
The more romantic sort of a dance, however, is a ballroom dance. Ballroom dances are partner dances enjoyed socially and competitively worldwide. Love is an expression that can be shown beautifully in almost any ballroom dance form. Be it aggressively, possessively, intimately, softly, or delicately, a ballroom dance can show it all. It is considered an art form.
It is bodily movement synchronized with a rhythm provided by some form of musical instrument. While the music is itself an art form, in dancing one takes advantage of the rhythm. Through tradition certain rhythms that are synchronized with selected patterns of body and foot movement are adopted. These patterns are then given names such as Mambo, Waltz, Cha Cha or Tango.
Jive is a dance style that originated in the United States from African-Americans in the early 1930’s. It was originally presented to the public as ‘Jive’ in 1934 by Cab Calloway. Jive is one of the five International Latin dances. In competition it is danced at a speed of 176 beats per minute, although in some cases this is reduced to between 128 and 160 beats per minute. It is a lively form of Swing dance, and a variation of the Jitterbug. While there are many complicated versions of jive, some of which involve flipping the female dance partner, the basic dance is well controlled, with a six count foot pattern.
Paso Doble in Spanish, literally means double step. It is a traditional dance in Spain and is danced to the kind of music played when the bullfighter enters the bullfighting ring (Paseo) or during the passes(Faena) before the final kill, during a bullfight. Paso Doble is a lively style of dance to the duple meter march-like Paso Doble music. It is modeled after the sound, drama, and movement of the Spanish and Portuguese bullfight. Famous bullfighters have been honoured with Paso Doble tunes named after them.
The Cha Cha is danced to; a little obvious, Cha Cha music, introduced by Cuban composer and violinist Enrique Jorrín in 1953. Styles of the Cha Cha dance may differ in the rhythmical structure. The original Cuban and the ballroom Cha Cha count is “two, three, chachacha” or “four-and-one, two, three”. The dance does not start on the first beat of a bar, though it can start with a transfer of weight to the lead’s right. Partners work together to synchronize each movement in perfect alignment.
The Mambo is one of the most sensual and emotional Latin American ballroom dances. Swaying hip movements, facial expressions, arm movements and holds all add to the sensuality of the dance. Mambo music was invented during the 1930’s by Arsenio Rodríguez, developed in Havana by Cachao and made popular by Dámaso Pérez Prado and Benny Moré. In the late 1940’s, Perez Prado came up with the dance for the mambo music and became the first person to market his music as “mambo”. Prado moved his music to Mexico, where his music and the dance was adopted. The original mambo dance was characterized by freedom and complicated foot-steps. Some Mexican entertainers became well known dancers like Tongolele, Adalberto Martínez, Rosa Carmina, Tin Tan and Lilia Prado.
The Rumba is considered by many to be the most romantic of all Latin ballroom dances. It is often referred to as the “Grandfather of the Latin dances.” It is one of the ballroom dances which occurs in social dance and in international competitions. Among the five international Latin dances, Rumba is the slowest. It was derived from a Cuban rhythm and dance called the bolero-son; a genre of slow-tempo Latin music and its associated dance.
Tango, in Latin, means touch. This sensual ballroom dance originated in South America in the early twentieth century. It is one of the ballroom dances which is most fascinating to watch. The Tango consists of a variety of styles that developed in different regions and eras of 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 the dancers have space between their bodies, or close embrace, where the dancers connect either chest-to-chest (Argentine tango) or in the upper thigh, hip area (American and International tango).
The Waltz is one of the oldest of ballroom dances, dating from the mid-Eighteenth Century. The German “Lander”, which is a folk dance, is supposed to be its predecessor. The name; “Waltz” is a developed form of “Waltzer”, which was derived from the Latin “Volvere”, which means rotation. When The Waltz was first introduced to the world in the early Nineteenth Century, it was treated with resentment because it was the first dance where the couple was in close contact. The man’s hand was to be wound around the lady’s waist and they were to dance so close that their faces almost touched. This is called a Closed Position in dance terminology. Waltz dancers appear to glide around the floor with almost no effort, showing its grace and elegance.
Samba is a Brazilian dance, which originated in Bahia, Brazil. Around the world, it is known as the symbol for Brazil and the Brazilian Carnival. It has also become the symbol of Brazilian national identity and is considered to be one of the most popular Brazilian cultural expressions. Traditionally, the samba is played by strings and various percussion instruments such as tambourine. Influenced by American orchestras in vogue and the cultural impact of US music post-World War II, Samba began to use trombones, trumpets, flutes, and clarinets.