Royal Palace Dance Studio offers you a wide variety of Ballroom and Latin style dances. The descriptions of each following dance comes from the DIVIDA Syllabus. Take a look at just some of the dances that we offer.
Waltz was originally derived from the Italian word, “volver” in the 18th century, which means to turn or revolve. Named after a peasant dance out of Germany and Austria called the Landler, it was the first widely popular dance seen in closed position. The formality of it went as far as the women wearing gloves as to never have bare skin touching another during the dance. The classic box step dominates the dance that we know as the Waltz today in 3/4 timing.
American Tango, otherwise known as Ballroom Tango, originated within the slums of Buenos Aires during the late 19th century. It derived from a melting pot of cultural rhythms from Argentine gauchos and African Americans that were exchanged amongst the popular brothels int he area. Before WWI, Tango flourished in the United States by performers, Vernon and Irene Castle. Rudolph Valentino further popularized the dance with the making of the film “The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse in 1921. The dance is still continuously evolving today.
At the turn of the 20th century, there was a wide spread influence of African American Musicians with syncopated ragtime music. The evolution of the Foxtrot has changed from the Turkey Trot, to the Monkey Dance, the Horse Trot and the Grizzly Bear along with many more. in 1914, a Vaudeville performer by the name Harry Fox dance a trot that became the popular dance amongst New York dance instructors. This smooth, gliding dance allows for it to look quite simple, but is actually one of the hardest dances to learn.
Cha Cha is a dance that evolved from three versions of the mambo which came from Cuba. The word “chasse” meaning to chase, was a step that was inserted between forward and back breaks when a slower version of Mambo style music was being played. When it made its way over to the United States during the early 1950s, big-band instruments began to create music influenced by Enrique Jorrin, a Cuban violinist, who was known to create the very first Cha Cha song to coincide with the craze.
Rumba, also known as the “Dance of Love,” is a romanticized Latin style of dance with Afro-Cuban origins. It is a blend of cultures including the African slaves and Spanish. In the late 1920s, the people of the United States were craving more of the Latin style music. Xavier Cugat was a popular orchestra leader that popularized Rumba msuic and dancing in the 1930s and 1940s. By 1950, Rumba finally became a standardized style of ballroom dance.
East Coast Swing
In the late 1920s, African American youths created a dance known as the Lindy Hop in the ballrooms and clubs of Harlem. Heavily influenced by jazz music and big bands such as Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and Benny Goodman, the Lindy Hop also became known as the Jitterbug and Swing. After WW2, the dance was widely popular in the United States and in Europe, but evolved into a more tame version known as East Coast Swing.
West Coast Swing
The origination of West Coast Swing has a few variations although it is not exact on where it came from. One of the most popular descriptions is that Big Bands started playing in blues clubs and they had to modify the Lindy Hop into smaller spaces and to be done to slower music. Whatever the true origin, West Coast Swing came from California in the 1940s. It has more a blues vibe to it and is now a popular dance in the United States and in Canada. It is also known as California’s official state dance.
Salsa is presently known as a more generic term that describes most Latin styles of music, rhythms and dancing. Mambo is known as the grandfather of Salsa, where Mambo normally breaks on 2. With Salsa, you can break on the 1, 2, 3 or even on the 4 count. There are various styles of Salsa depending on where you go to in the world, such as the Cuban, Mexican, Miami, Puerto Rican and many more. It’s spicy flavor and style is what makes Salsa as popular as it is today.
Also known as the national dance of the Dominican Republic, Merengue is a dane where the true origin of it is unknown. Some say it was attributed to a war hero who had returned with a wounded leg. Out of respect for the wounded soldier, others would dance with a limp alongside him. Regardless of how Merengue came about, it did start in the 1800s and arrived to the U.S. in New York in the 1940s as it grew to become extremely popular with the Latin dance and music community. It’s extremely popular due to it’s easy-to-follow beat and steps.
The Hustle is mostly known for the disco era style of music and dance. In 1973, women were dancing a new style of dance referred to as “the touch dance.” Younger men in the discotheque clubs were interested in this style of dance as a fun and great way to meet women. The Hustle then began to evolve into a faster and more difficult style of dance throughout the years. As the Hustle phase started to slow down due to the extreme difficulty of the dance, it started to slightly simplify to draw the crowd back in. It is still an extremely popular style of dance today.
Mambo was greatly influenced by Cuban Haitians and American Jazz. In 1943 in Havana, many Latin American Orchestras of the time picked up and developed their own style of Mambo music. After it was picked up in New York in 1947, Mambo was than taught at various dance schools, night clubs and resorts. It then led to the creation of the Cha Cha, a dance that was developed from the Mambo. Also known as a fast and spicy dance with strong Cuban Motion.
On Brazilian plantations, African rhythms of the slaves were combined with European music to create the Samba music we know today. From the 1920s until present time, Samba was performed and demonstrated in various Broadway musicals and movies such as Street Carnival, Flying Down to Rio and that Night in Rio. In 1956, Samba transformed into a partner dance in the United States and became an official ballroom style of dance.
The “Cuban Dance of Love,” also known as Bolero, is what many consider to be a mix between Waltz and Rumba. Originally a Spanish dance with Moroccan roots, Bolero’s romantic characteristics arrived in the United States in the mid-1930s and is now mostly known as a dancesport or competitive dance style. It is believed the Bolero evolved from Afro-Cuban and Spanish folk dances including Danzon, Beguine and Fandango.
Bachata is a flirtatious style of Latin dance that originates from the Dominican Republic the Caribbean. While there are various styles of Bachata dependent upon the culture, the basis of Bachata is off of 8 counts moving with a square. It is an extremely popular dance style within the Latin clubs today. In the 1990s, Bachata became a popular ballroom style of dance that developed in the West.