Lets Dance

In The 21th Century

East Coast Swing
Exuberant dance popularized in the 1930's and 1940's, originating
in the U.S. and spread internationally by U.S. armed forces during
WW II. Its original free-whelling acrobatic and lifts were modified
for more conservative ballroom versions. Most versions are danced
while holding one or both hands.  Dance styles vary widely and
Single Swing-the simplest version of swing is dance to a 4/4 time music with six counts
      in a basic step {slow slow quick quick}.  This can be danced to a variety of tempos of 
      swing music in the medium to fast tempo range. It works very
  well for music tempos too quick for the jive.
Jive or Triple swing. This swing is danced in an overall circular motion
with the partners changing positions with each other. Jive-dancers 
take a step-close-step to each side and a rock step {one foot back,
one slightly forward}.  Also known as Triple time swing.  This is
danced to 4/4 time music with six counts in a basic step. Competition
Jive is danced to fast paced swing music and concentrates on a bounce
action in the knees.  Social Triple Swing can be danced to swing music 
in a variety of tempos.  Triple swing can be a circular dance or can
travel in a line with one or both partners moving down the line,
depending on the moves danced.

West Coast Swing-"slot" dance in which the man begins dancing by
facing the lady, steps off a "track" while he leads the lady to pass 
him, and then he steps back on the "track" to face the lady as she
turns to meet him.  The lady dances back and forth on this track,
executing turns,spins,and syncopated movements. Swing music with
a medium slow tempo and a blues feel epitomizes the style of
West Coast swing,but faster tempo swing music is also used, with
the swing taking on a Hustle feel.
Description of other Dances
Viennese Waltz
The Viennese Waltz is characterized by swift right and left turns, with 
hestitations every often to change direction, or to allow the dancers
a pause to catch their breath and to strike a "line"(pose). This is
oldest of the ballroom dances, originating in the 1700's and becoming
popular in the early 1800's.  The Viennese Waltz is one of the most
challenging dances to master, but also one the most exhilarating to dance.
Viennese Waltz is dance to 3/4 time music with a fast tempo.

Over time the lifting 3/4 time music of the Viennese Waltz was slowed 
down for less formal ballrooms and the dance adapted to the slower tempo.
This is the dance we think of when we hear "waltz or 3/4 time music.
A more varied set steps is performed at the slower tempo, but the dance
still contains the lifting sway of the quicker Viennese.

The Foxtrot originated in 1913 when a Vaudeville performer by the
name of Harry Fox performed a little trot which appealed to the social
dancer teachers in New York.  It has gone through many chaanges since
that time and is now comprised of soft and fluid linear movements.
The Foxtrot can be a most deceiving dance as it loos very easy but, at
the higher levels, is one of the most difficult dances to master.  
Foxtrot and Waltz share many moves in common, but the timing and style
differences in the music make each dance unique.  Foxtrot is danced to
medium slow to slow 4/4 time music.

Nightclub 2-Step
A dance devised by Swing Dance Champion and Teacher, Buddy Schwimmer.
The Nite Club 2-Step is danced to 4/4 time music with a slow to 
medium slow tempo, but without a latin syncopation. R&B music is often
perfect for this dance.  The tempo similar to that of Rhumba, but the
feel of the music is more fluid. The dance has a simple quick quick
slow side to side motion to which added turns, cuddles, spins and 
travelling pattern across the floor. "Lady in Red" is the quintessential
Night Club 2 Step song.

During the 1950s the Cha Cha was made famous by many Latino bands
such as Xavier Cugat and Prez Prado.  Cuban in origin, the Cha Cha 
rhythm is found in much of today's popular music.  The dance is related
to the Rumba and Mambo.  A rhythmic innovation in the dance music
changed the slow step held on the last beat of one measure through the
first beat of the next measure to step-close-step(three steps to two
beats of music). Cha Cha is danceed to syncopated 4/4 time latin and 
popular music with a medium to fast tempo.  The dance is characterized 
by a rhythmic tic in the upper body and "Cuban motion" of the legs and

Rumba a latin dance of Afro-Cuban folk dance origin that became
internationally popular in the early 20th century.  Best known for the
dancers subtle side to side hip movements with torso erect(Cuban motion)
the rumba is danced with a basic pattern of two quick side steps and
a slow forward step.  Three steps are executed to each bar of music.
The music, in 4/4 time, has an insistent syncopation and is slow to
medium in tempo.

A latin dance of Brazillian origin, popularized in western Europe
and the U.S. in the early 40's. Characterized by a simple forward and
backward step and tilting, rocking body movements, it is danced to music 
in 4/4 time with syncopated rhythm. Couples may dance in close latin
hold or seperate to dance variant steps.  Musical movies of the late
30's and early 40's featuring Carmen Miranda give many examples
of early Samba.

A latin dance of Cuban origin, internationally popular in the late
40's and early 50's.  It is danced as a quicker, off-beat Rumba in
which a step taken on the last beat of music in 4/4 time is held 
through the first beat of the next measure.  Mambo foot patterns and
breaks are essentially the same as in the rumba, the basic movement
being front, back, close.  Mambo is danced to syncopated latin music
in 4/4 time and a rapid tempo.  Salsa is similiar to Mambo and is
danced to the faster Mambo music, but is not syncopated and can be
danced without accenting any beat.

A slower version of Rumba, slowest latin ballroom dance. The movements
are drawn out and delayed, or held to release in an explosive movement.
The music is 4/4 time, of a slow, romantic flavor.

This dance originated in the Dominican Republic and / or Haiti. It
is danced with a limping step to driving 2/4 time music with an insistent

The Tango evolved in the bordellos of Buenos Aires, Argentina and was
refined during its travels to Europe and America. Ballroom tango is
more stylized than the more  intimate and inprovisational
Argentine Tango, but still retains the tension and sensuality of the
original.  Tango is danced in a slightly different manner than the other
smooth (non latin) dances.  The closed hold is closer, with the lady's 
left hand hooked under the right arm of the man, with the man's right
further around the back of the lady.  This creates a firmer hold for
quick staccato action and stylized poses. Tango is danced to 4/4
time music with an 8 count phrasing.

Clay demo with Virginia

Links of Interest
Clays Studio         Bridgetown Swing
Uptown Dance Studio           Doug Silton
Bushwhackers     Portland Swing Dance Club
Dance Vision        Dance With Joy
Ballroom Dance Co
Portland Dance Festival
Linda Springstead

Practice Session at the Old Clay's Dance Studio in Portland
circa 1999 (Hosted by Sher Jennings)

Bruce,Clay,Sher and JoyceJosh and Aaron George Kaady dancing
Photos from first annual Barbeque at Clay's Halfway House for Dancers
Josh doing the cookingDance PracticeMore Dancers
Back to Main Page

Bergfreunde Ski Club, Clay's Dance Studio, Mike Amateur Radio Page

(This page updated 3/13/2005)

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