The Dance Lab specialises in the Ballroom series of dances, which means dances performed by two people in partnership with one another. The dances are divided into two categories, known as Standard (or "Ballroom") and Latin American. The following is some background on these dances:
This is the best known and most popular of the ballroom dances. Slow and romantic, characterised by lots of turns and smooth rise and fall. The waltz is derived from folk dances originating in Bavaria and Vienna from as early as the 16th Century. Initially considered scandalous and sinful by English high society because of the close hold, the dance slowly evolved into what we now know as the "English Slow Waltz".
Hailing from South America - particularly Argentina - Tango is a passionate dance with staccato action, sharp turns of the head and plenty of emotional power! It is widely thought that the elements of Tango came from the realities of the partnership. The "gauchos", or cowboys, of Buenos Aires would wear chaps hardened from sweat, causing their knees to be flexed. They would ask local girls to dance, but they smelled so bad the lady would hold her head as far back as she could with her right hand held as low as possible so she could discretely receive payment for dancing with him!
A beautiful and elegant dance, the Viennese Waltz is the classic waltz seen in many movies. It only has a few steps, and its beauty comes from the constant turning and graceful movement across the floor. Like the English Waltz, it has its roots in the Viennese high society of the 1700s.
Developed by Broadway showman Harry Fox in 1914 and popularised by Vernon and Irene Castle, it was gradually slowed in tempo to accentuate the style of movement that makes it so smooth and fluid. Hence the "Slow Foxtrot"! It is a difficult dance and requires skill to master.
A fun and lively dance derived from the popular Charleston in the 1920s, combined with elements of Foxtrot. The Quickstep is all about energy, with lots of hops, skips and runs. Couples have to keep their wits about them as they move so fast around the floor.
An exciting, syncopated Latin dance which originated in the 1950s as a slowed-down Mambo. The Cha Cha gets its name and character from its distinct repetitive rhythm and foot action. Cha Cha can be danced to many of today's popular chart songs.
From the carnivals of Brazil, the Samba is a true party dance. With plenty of signature Samba bounce and rhythm changes, it requires dancers to move around the floor in a similar way to Ballroom.
Known as "the dance of love", the Rumba is a slow, sensuous dance of passion which originated from Cuba. In the 1920s, an orchestra headed by Xavier Cugat playing the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles brought the Latin dances to life and made the Rumba famous.
A spanish dance that originated in France. The Paso is based on a bullfight where the man plays the role of the matador, and the lady his flowing cape. It's a strong, masculine dance that draws heavily from flamenco.
The jive came from dances like the Jitterbug and Lindy Hop which were popular with American GIs in the 1940s. Jive is very fast with lots of kicks, spins and syncopated actions. Typically danced to rock and roll music the dance has bags of energy and is a great workout!