LatinTeacher: Victor Kanevsky / Oksana Zolotarevskaya / Ana Chacon
Samba is a lively, rhythmical dance of Brazilian origin in 2/4 time danced under the Samba music. It’s an old Brazilian style of dance with many variations of African origin. It has been performed as a street dance at carnival, the pre-Lenten celebration, for almost 100 years. Samba has a very specific rhythm, highlighted to its best by characteristic Brazilian musical instruments: originally called tamborim, chocalho, reco-reco and cabaca. Much of Samba music came from daily life in Rio, the first famous example being “Pelo Telefone” composed by Donga. To achieve the true character of the Samba a dancer must give it a happy, flirtatious and exuberant interpretation. Principal characteristics of the Samba are the rapid steps taken on a quarter of a beat and the pronounced rocking motion and sway of the dancing couple.
The cha-cha-cha, or simply cha-cha, is a very beautiful and expressive dance. Being a dance of Cuban origin, it is danced to the music of the same name introduced by Cuban composer and violinist Enrique Jorrín in 1953. It has also been suggested that the name Cha Cha is derived from the vocal imitation of the sound of the feet in the chasse, which included in many of the steps. This would account for it being called the “Cha Cha Cha” by some people whereas others call it the “Cha Cha”. To this day, the Cha Cha has remained one of the most popular dances in competitions and dance halls. It is a dance that has never gone out of style and is a favorite at weddings. The dance is very easy to learn, and once you have the basic pattern down, you can use as much of the dance floor or as little as you like.
Rumba is a slow, sensual, flirty dance. The Cuban style is characterized by forward and backward steps. The American version is done in a box pattern with “Cuban motion” as it’s chief characteristic. “Cuban motion” is a discreet, expressive hip motion achieved by bending and straightening the legs and carefully timed weight changes. American Rumba is one of the most popular ballroom dances today.
Jive is one of the five International Latin dances. Like many forms of dance still alive and thriving today, Jive came from African-American cultural dance. In the case of Jive, it actually originated in the United States, hitting its first wave of popularity during World War II. It was recognized as a much more energetic version of the Jitterbug, which was already well known as a swing dance style. When Jive began to enter social dance competitions, it became a bit more choreographed and went through a “maturing” process where professionals slowed down its energetic style to a reasonable, universally-accepted pace.
Paso Doble, or pasodoble, (literal meaning in Spanish: double-step) is a traditional couple’s dance from Spain. It is danced to the type of music typically played in bullfights during the bullfighters’ entrance to the ring (paseo) or during the passes (faena) just before the kill. It corresponds to the Pasodoble dance (traditional and ballroom). PasoDoble is a lively style of dance to the duple meter march-like pasodoble music. The dance is lively and dramatic, with long sweeping steps and aggressive movements. It is modelled after the sound, drama, and movement of the Spanish and Portuguese bullfight. Famous bullfighters have been honoured with pasodoble tunes named after them. Other tunes have been inspired by patriotic motifs or local characters.