Dancing - moving the body in time to music
Classes in Ballroom & Latin American style dancing tuition, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

Ballroom

Ballroom

Ballroom dances are usually partner dances, each danced with its own unique style for social and competitive purposes. There is gathering evidence that dancing, in particular ballroom dancing, has measurable long term benefits in that it can help keep at bay and relieve some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and other mental disorders where memory is affected, be that remembering faces or muscle memory.

Dancing is very much a social activity, it can be experienced and enjoyed at many levels from simple social beginners to high flying competitor standards. Dancing can be made to suit whatever level you desire it to suit.
It’s also a great way to keep fit, you can walk several miles in one session of ballroom dance, but have had a lot more fun than that at the gym. It’s a non-aggressive activity, not impact based but improves stamina and general muscle development, including the brain body co-ordination. You can certainly get the heart beating a bit faster than normal, but without too much strain either and of course there is always laughter, which again has been shown to improve general health and wellbeing.

Different styles of Ballroom dance include the Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep, Jive, Tango and Viennese Waltz.

Waltz


 A flowing, elegant dance in 3/4 time, usually played at a steady rate of 28-30 beats per minute. It’s a sliding, gliding dance and references to this style can be found from the 16th Century onwards.

 The International style Waltz requires couples to maintain contact, whereas the American style allows for couples to separate during the dance and indeed for the feet to leave the floor in lifts and other fancy moves. However, most people start with the International style which in itself is equally as beautiful to dance and watch when done correctly. The Waltz is a dance which can be danced almost anywhere in the world, be it on a dancefloor in Brazil, Australia or China – when waltz music is played you will recognise many similar characteristics of the figures used and be able to join in.

 The basic figures in a Waltz are made up of closed changes where the weight is changed on each step; as dancers become more proficient, chasses and open turns are also introduced, but all maintaining the closed elegance and smoothness of overall look.

Quickstep


As the name suggests is a faster dance, light-hearted and joyful, but generally made up of walks, chasses and syncopations. It is danced in 4/4 time at around 50 beats per minute. The dance can be traced back to the 1920s where it evolved from a combination of the Foxtrot, Charleston, Shag and One-Step, as well as a few other popular dances of the time. It was standardised in 1927 and is essentially English in origin.

The Quickstep is a dynamic dance with lots of movement around the floor, however despite the speed and complexity of the steps, it should still appear elegant and controlled!

Foxtrot


The walking dance, characterised by long, continuous movements across the dancefloor with an appearance of elegance and sophistication. It is danced in 4/4 time, slow, quick, quick beats and although originally was danced to the ‘big band’ sounds of Joe Loss and Victor Sylvester there is now also very good modern music, usually vocal, to which the Foxtrot can be danced in many dancehalls – once you get to know a few of the steps you’ll start to recognise the tunes you can dance it too.

The exact origins of the name Foxtrot are unclear, although there is some evidence linking it back to the vaudeville actor Harry Fox. Overtime, the Foxtrot split into two difference versions, a slow version and a quick version. The quick version became known as the Quickstep; today, the Quickstep and Foxtrot are quite different dances though.

The basic figures in the Foxtrot are; feather, 3 step, natural turn, reverse turn and closed impetus.

Tango


 A very different dance to the majority of the ballroom dances, in many ways slightly the odd one out, the hold and style of the dance being quite different from Waltz, Quickstep and Foxtrot. The Ballroom Tango branched away from its Argentine origins to form a completely different style of dance heavily influenced by the European, American and Hollywood styles. The International dance style is that of a closed dance position with partners in close contact with each other throughout the figures. It has a regular tempo of 2/2 and is danced at around 30-32 beats per minute. The style is often referred too as being cat-like in that the dancers are asked to keep close contact with the floor with no rise or fall at all. A quite dramatic dance which often tells a dramatic story!

    The basic figures in the Ballroom Tango include Walks, closed promenades, open promenades, reverse turns and reverse cortes. As dancers progress they will begin to include flicks and kicks along with oversways.

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