Please click on each type of dance for a description.

 

West Coast Swing

West coast swing is my favorite style of dance, so it is no coincidence that I teach west coast swing more frequently than other styles.

 

In terms of a description… Historically, west coast swing was called the ‘sophisticated swing’ and, perhaps, that is the best way to describe the dance.  This popular style of swing is all about being smooth (not bouncy) and is easily recognizable by its linear or ‘slotted’ movement.  It has its roots in blues and jazz music, but is currently danced to a wide variety of musical genres (pop, hip-hop, R&B, soul, funk, country, etc.).  When west coast swing is danced well, it is playful, creative, sassy, and stylish, having its own subtle attitude that students find addictive!

Single-time Swing

Single-time swing (AKA Basic Swing) is a style of swing that has a unique 50ies feel and is often danced to the “be-bopping oldies.”  The rhythm is basic (step-step-rock-step or slow-slow-quick-quick).  It is a spot dance (meaning it stays in the same general area, rather than traveling around the floor).  This style is easy for beginners and is meant to put a spring in your step and a smile on your face.  If you are new to dancing, this is a great place to start!

East-coast Swing

East-Coast swing (AKA Triple Time Swing) is a style of swing with springy triple steps (triple-step, triple-step, rock-step).  While it is very similar to single-time swing and most patterns are transferable between the two styles, the triple steps allow for more diversity of movement.  Much like single-time swing, it is a spot dance (meaning it stays in the same general area, rather than traveling around the floor).  It tends to be a lively dance with a fun personality!

Hustle

Hustle became famous in the 70ies for its disco flavor, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s outdated.  Hustle is a modern style that is danced to vibrant and contemporary music with a pulsing beat.  At its core, it is a lot like swing, but with its own unique blend of smooth and energetic movement.  Although there are many ideas about hustle timing, I teach hustle by breaking on the “&” (&-1-2-3).

Nightclub 2-step

Nightclub two-step is a smooth style that is danced to a wide variety of contemporary music.  Students find the dance very approachable and love its flowing lateral movement.  It is often the dance of choice for a couples’ first wedding dance, but can be danced in any number of other social settings.  There are 2 distinct styles of nightclub 2-step; one that is traditional (starting on the rock-step) and one that is more contemporary (starting on the side-step).  Patterns and much of the technique are transferrable between the two.  Students should be aware that in group classes, I tend to teach the more contemporary style because of its emphasis on lateral travel and body sway.

Country 2-step

Country two-step is pure fun!  It is a progressive dance (meaning it travels around the dance floor in a counter-clockwise fashion).  The music is lively and the steps are easy (quick-quick-slow-slow).  When it is danced well, it is beautiful combination of spins and turns with a country flare.  If you are interested in country dance, this is one of the pivotal dances to learn.

Salsa

Salsa is a dance that is full of Latin flavor and attitude!  It is danced to lively music, and is characterized by its up-beat personality.  Despite its speed, salsa is still approachable for beginners, as the basic rhythm is very accessible (quick, quick, slow – quick, quick, slow).  Students should be aware that there are many regional variations of salsa in terms of its style and timing.  I typically teach salsa on the 1 (this refers to the count on which the leader breaks forward) and teach slotted or “LA Style” patterns.  The bottom line is that the unique rhythm of every salsa song will be enough to make your feet and hips want to move!

Merengue

Merengue is an up-tempo dance with a marching feel (1-2, 1-2).  It is really more of a party style of dancing and is easy to learn.  It is a spot dance (meaning it doesn’t travel progressively around the floor), so it is well suited to crowded venues.  Locally, you are most likely to see merengue at salsa venues.  A dj will often play a set of salsa songs and then change pace with a merengue before going back to more salsa.

Waltz

Waltz is characterized by a graceful and flowing movement with a specific rising and falling motion.  The dance is progressive (meaning it travels around the floor in a counter-clockwise fashion) and is danced to music with 3/4 timing.  If you are looking for a classic and timeless ballroom dance, waltz is a perfect option.

Foxtrot

Foxtrot is a versatile form of ballroom dancing.  I typically teach foxtrot with a slow-quick-quick timing, although foxtrot can also be danced slow-slow-quick-quick.  This style is progressive (meaning it travels around the floor in a counter-clockwise fashion) and is danced to music with 4/4 timing.  If you are looking for a classic and timeless dance, foxtrot is a perfect option.