Ballroom Dance Lessons
Introduction to Social Dancing:
Latin, Nightclub and Ballroom
By Phil Seyer
For Private Dance Lessons in Roseville, Sacramento and the Bay Area click here.
Just holding each other and swaying to the music is nice,
but it is fun to add some structured steps to your dancing. For years
I enjoyed free style dancing at singles parties. But I was really missing
something all those years by not learning structured dancing. There is
something really pleasurable about learning new steps and being able to
do them together with a partner. The interaction with your partner is
what makes it so much fun I think and the opportunity to constantly keep
learning something new. As a follower you are thrilled with being able
to do various fancy steps, all the time not knowing exactly what is coming
next. As a leader, you have the pleasure that comes from being able to
improvise on the spot and sometimes lead your follower to do steps that
she didn't even know she knew.
Around 1990 I decided to study partner dancing more seriously
and took as many lessons whenever and wherever I could. Then around 1995
I started teaching dance myself and later took formal dance teacher training.
I now know that dancing makes my life much more enjoyable and helps to
keep me healthy as well. It's also a great way to meet new people.
There are different wants to categorize social dancing.
I like to think of the nighclub, Latin, and ballroom categories.
Nighclub dances include swing, nightclub
2-step, and hustle.
Latin dances include: salsa, mergenge, rumba, bolero, and Argentine
Traditional ballroom dances include: Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, and
These categories overlap. For example, fast Latin dances
are often done in nightclubs. Most all styles of dancing are now done
However, Argentine tango
is most often done at special Argentine tango parties, where nothing but
Argentine tango is danced all night. (Argentine tango is not done much
in American ballrooms much yet -- American tango is the usual choice.
But Argentine tango is an exciting, creative, unique dance. Because
it can be so romantic, Argentine tango it is specially good for that first
dance for a bride and groom.) American style tango is not so romantic
Let's consider each of these general categories in some
Smooth ballrom dances include Foxtrot and Waltz and Quick
step. They are called smooth because there is little hip motion and the
music and dance steps look very smooth, not sharp and angular like say,
swing or hustle.
To see some simple Foxtrot steps (from the Leader's perspective),
click on the following link. It may take a while for your computer
to download the movie, because the file size is rather large! When first
viewing the video it may appear somewhat jerky because of the file size.
However, on second viewing, the video will be better. You may also may
also want to save the file to your hard disk.
Foxtrot Movie - Basic Steps
Nightclub Style Dancing
Nightclub dances include nightclub 2-step, hustle, swing,
and fast Latin dances like salsa, cha-cha, merenge.
Nightclub two step is an excellent choice for a newly
married couple's first dance. Popular ballads and country love songs that
are medium slow in tempo often have a strong beat at fits nicely with
night club two step. For more details on night
club two step, see my article in which I interviewed the creator of that
dance, Buddy Schwimmer.
Here are examples of music suitable for nightclub two step:
(You can listen to a sample of these tunes right online!. Here is how
you do it: after first accessing the info about the album by click a link
below, click again on more product details. Then scroll down and
look for the link that lets you listen to the music.)
You Loved Me: --Celine Dion
(on All theWay..album)
of Dawn: Invincible -- Michael Jackson
Again: Tony Braxton
Wings of Love: Ultimate Collection-Osborne)
the Years: Love Songs: Kenny Rogers
NOTE: to help support the free dance and music lessons
on this website, please do your Amazon ordering here rather than going
directly to Amazon. We receive only a small commission from Amazon, but
Please return to www.lovemusiclovedance.com for all your
dancing and music education needs.
We can break swing into two main subcategories: West coast
swing and East Coast swing.
West Coast Swing(WCS)
WCS is done to rhythm and blues music. A lot of this music
comes from the 50's and 60's. . The music has a medium slow tempo with
a strong thumping beat. Mustang Sally is a good example of a WCS
tune.You can hear a sample of Mustang Sally and even buy the Album that
it on by clicking
here. (NOTE: you may need to click see more product details
before you can hear the tune.)
If you are just learning to dance, I suggest you save WCS
for later. Although I have a way of teaching it that makes it fun immediately,
it usually takes a a couple of months to feel comfortable with this dance
-- as it is traditionally taught. Although this is true, I can take a
lady who has never danced WCS before and have her smiling and having fun
on the first dance. But this is an exception. I have a special beginners
style that I teach that makes this possible. And since I am a dance teacher,
I can assist the follower and dance the followers part along side her
for a while in a special side-by-side configuration -- before switching
to the leader's part. But two beginners trying to do WCS is just a ticket
for frustration. WCS is a great dance and I know you will enjoy it; however,
I suggest you learn it after mastering some other dances, first.
East Coast Swing (ECS). East cost swing is usually
done to older swing music from the 20's 30's and 40's, although some rock'n'roll
music is also East coast swing in style and some recent popular tunes
have an East Coast Swing beat. There are several different varieties of
ECS. One good version for beginners has been dubbed "City Swing"
(by dance teachers in San Francisco). In this version of ECS, the leader
takes a slow step to the left, then a slow step to the right. Each step
is done to two beats of music. After that, the lead does a rocking step
-- stepping back on a quick with his left foot, then replacing his weight
back to his right foot on the second quick. This is done to 6 beats of
music, like this:
NOTE: Beats 5 and 6 are the "rock step."
||Draw right foot to left, but keep weight on left foot.
||Draw left foot to right, but keep weight on right foot.
||Step back with left foot.
||Replace weight back to right foot.
[You can see more details and a video demonstrating this "City Swing" style as well as another style called "Triple Step" swing by clicking here.. ]
The follower does the mirror image of the steps describe above, stepping first to the right,
then to the left and then rocking back on her* right foot.
*NOTE: Usually, but not always, the follower is female.
For simplification, I'll assume the follower is a female in this discussion.
In a variation of City Swing, usually just called East Coast
Swing, you do a "triple step" to the side (left, right, left)
stead of just steping slow to the side. This gives the dance a peppier,
energetic feel. This style is good for swing music that has a medium fast
Other swing styles include: Lindy and Shag. These styles
are a little more difficult than "city swing" and I recommend
you study them after first learning city swing.
My favorite swing style, currently, is Saint Louis shag
because it has some fancy syncopated steps
and always brings a smile to my partner's face. Shag is especially
good for fast swing music. Lindy is better for a medium fast tempo.
That's a wrap for now. Please see my home page which
focus on music and dance education.
Also please see my blog which offers detailed descriptions of some of my favorite dance steps.
.Thanks for your interest in...