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Dances I know.
Victor Jean Ouellette cell texting 905-546-6310
Updated July 29, 2018
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My Dance List of dances I know, some better than others.
1. FoxTrot, social (Slow, slow, quick, quick), around the floor. Vaudvillian Harry Fox is said to have invented this dance in 1914.
The waists of each partner should touch and the chests of each should be apart. The couple should be jogged with the lady a bit to the man's right side. This is usually the first dance anyone learns in the ballroom genre. There is an International FoxTrot, a Social Foxtrot and an American Foxtrot, all a bit different from each other. And that, friends, is terribly confusing to the beginners. The social Foxtrot becomes quite boring quite quickly, to those into ONLY ballroom so, the international flavour adds some interest to this crowd. Also, I see online that there is an International Quick Step that is also a Slow, Quick, Quick, Slow, Quick, Quick, Slow, sequence rather than the standard social sequence of QQSSQQSS. Best to find an instructor. In Guelph there is Michelle Ariss at BallroomClass.ca. I'm sure most cities will have instructors somewhere. Be aware that in different parts of the world instructors teach different things even though the international stuff is supposed to be the same everywhere. I am not a dance instructor so remember that.
Something interesting now about this QQSSQQSS. You are actually dancing four cycles of the QQSS's to make three 8 beat sections of music. So, dancers dance to the beats and don't worry about the actual music counting, of course, until one would get to competitive level that is.
You can do a count that would be 123, pause, Step, 567 Pause, Step without the pause being counted as a beat. But, that will get confusing so forget about it. When you look at the Salsa count it is 123, Pause, 567 Pause. AND further, when you look at Bachata you see the count as 123,Tap, 567 Tap. Rumba is 123 Pause, 567 Pause and Club Step 2 (or Club 2 Step) is also 123 Pause, 567 Pause. So, you can Pause, Tap, Step, or Kick on the 4 and 8 counts. Each type of dance moves the body and feet differently. Learning those differences is the key to dance.
Then someone comes along and says, OKAY, now we will do 123, Step Step, 567 Step Step, BUT, they will count it 1&2, 3,4, 5&6, 7,8. They will call it Lindy Hop. They will also do a 1&2, 3&4, 5,6 and ALSO call that Lindy Hop too. Gees! Then someone will come along and say No, No we count 1,2, 3&4, 5,6, 7&8. Well they are the same thing aren't they, just starting the count in a different place.
We are drafting a new set of dance lessons to try and teach a basic set of moves 123, Something, 567, Something then add a variation as 123, Something, Something, 567 Something Something. We will teach the Cadence for each of the traditional different dance types. MOVING ON NOW.
2. Social waltz (Square box in spot, 123,456) International Waltz is the same count but, different movements.
3. Slow waltz (123,456) no pauses, around floor. The waists should be touching and the chests apart.
4. Viennese waltz (123,456) no pauses, around floor. The waists should be touching and the chests apart.
5. Cross step waltz (123,456) no pauses, around floor, or in spot.
6. Quick step (Slow, Slow, quick, quick), around the floor with contra body motion on the second slow.
7. Rumba social (slow, quick, quick, slow), in spot, or, as we have said above 1,2,3, Pause 5, 6,7, Pause. It is even more confusing than this because the International Rumba instructors count 2,3,4 Pause, 6,7,8. Pause. Weird.
8. Rumba International (quick, quick, slow, quick, quick, slow [234 pause, 678 pause]) in spot or travelling.
9. Club Step 2 (slow, pause, quick, quick, slow, pause), in spot. The Quick Quicks are done with a back step. So why do we start the Club Step 2 on the 3 count? Ah, gees again. Because we want to start the Leader with his Left foot going left FIRST. Then we teach Slow, Quick, Quick, Slow, Quick, Quick Slow and show where the Pause comes in. The second Quick and the first Slow after that are both TRAVELLING steps where the body moves sideways. So, that first travelling step is a cross-over in front to move the opposite way that the foot is on. The left foot moves to the right taking the body with it. (We are talking about the Leaders here.) You can see from this that as a beginner you are not going to be able to figure it out from this text. You need to be in a lesson.
10. Blues (Push, tap, push, tap & 121212) In spot, closed position, as tight as you dare. The closer the better.
11. Social, (Step, tap step, tap), in spot. The High School dance.
12. Cha Cha Cha social (12, 123, 12, 123) or (12, 3&4, 56, 7&8), in spot.
13. Cha Cha Ballroom (123 cha, cha) or (123, &4, 567, &8), in spot starting by going LEFT first.
14. Tango Social (Spell out T A N G O) Start and finish on the same foot, man's left, lady's right, around the floor.
15. Salsa (123 pause, 567 pause) There is a Cuban Salsa too that puts a little kick in on the pauses. In spot.
16. Columbian Salsa (1,2, tap on 3, 4, then 5,6, tap on 7, 8. Feet go down on each count.). In spot.
17. Meringue (12121212), in spot.
18. Bachata (123tap, 456 tap), in spot. If you pause instead of tap then you are doing the Salsa or Mambo.
19. East coast swing (ECS) (123, 123 Rock Step), in spot. Some schools start with the Rock Step.
20. West coast swing (WCS) (12, 3&4, 5&6), in spot in the slot. But, the cadence is different than ECS.
21. Lindy Hop swing (Rock Step, 3&4, 5,6, 7&8), in spot. This is where ECS and WCS came from.
22. Charleston swing 1920's no kicks (Tap, step) 8 beat count, in spot.
23. Charleston swing 1940's kicks, 8 beat count, in spot.
24. Charleston 6 beat kick step (Rock, Step, Kick, Step, Kick, Step), in spot.
25. Balboa (123, tap, 567 kick Man's steps.) (Ladies do a 123 kick, 567 Tap.)
-----In spot, do not need any room. The tap is toe touching the other foot's heal. Then there is Bal Swing too.
-----The chest should be touching and the waists apart. The waists then go together and out like an accordion.
26. Hustle (Rock & Roll) (AND 123, AND 123), in spot, but, the Hustle is a slotted dance like WCS.
There is also a a four beat Hustle variation too.
27. Country 2 step (12 step, step, 12 step, step), around the floor. This Step Step is not done like the FoxTrot's. The feet pass each other on every step, especially the Quick Quick steps. So, if you do just a little shuffle on the QQ's in the Country 2 Step then you will destroy the followers connection to the lead as the follower will be trying to keep going forward on the QQ's while you will be stopping on the shuffled QQ's.
28. Disco (12, 12, 12) in spot, need a lot of room.
29. Free style (any crazy thing you want to do), in spot.
30. Kizomba (12345678 feet down on the odd), in spot. And, Step Tap, Step Tap. (Two basic steps.)
31. 123 Kick (Vic's fun dance) Like the Cuban Salsa but the sole of the shoe stays on the floor for the kicks.
32. Slow dance social (Step, Tap & 121212 mixed in.), in spot.
33. Jive -Single step East Coast Swing 12 Rock Step, 12 Rock Step, in spot.
34. Twist (Well, it’s the twist.), in spot.
35. Mambo (much like the Salsa but different LOL), in spot.
36. Samba (much like the salsa but different), in spot but also travels a lot.
37. Polka (What can we say about that. There is the basic step and the spin. 123, 123), around the floor.
The NEW DANCE
38. Vic's Ballroom "Cha Cha, Lindy Hop, Charleston" dance the ChaLinCharl, in spot.
Okay, why am I doing this to such a nice Ballroom Cha Cha music? Well I'm an intermediate level dancer and know maybe a half dozen or so basic Cha Cha moves. The basic forward and back ward, the ladies right under arm turn, the ladies cross body lead to left under arm turn, the sideways opening move, the backward opening move, and then some turns at the ends of those moves. When looking at a Cha Cha dance floor you see these moves most exclusively. The advanced dancers have more moves under their belt they look nice but, one needs to have a knowledgeable leader and follower to do those moves and most people do not know them. So, I got bored on the floor.
That's pretty much it. Boredom with a music theme, the Cha Cha, that is played repeatedly at some venues. No, I didn't want to take more Cha Cha lessons. It struck me one day like a bolt of lightening that Cha Cha and Lindy Hop were the basically same steps. Thus, history was borne. My history that is.
The evolution of dance continues.
I invented a new dance in 2014 I am calling Vic's Ballroom "Cha Cha Lindy Hop Charleston" dance the ChaLinCharl, for lack of a better name. It is danced to ballroom Cha Cha music and combines moves from the ballroom Cha Cha dance, the Lindy Hop dance and the Charleston dance from the 1940's era. The Lindy Hop without the hop and the Cha Cha are essentially the same steps just with a few modifications and different body movements. I sometimes throw in some Salsa moves, (the turns and cross-body leads), then switch back and forth from East Coast Swing moves, West Coast Swing moves and also Balboa sometimes too, if a lady knows those, all mixed in for good measure. Cool. This dance is for people who have no ambition to become competitive ballroom dancers so they have the time to learn new things rather than focussing on ballroom floor craft and competition form over and over again.
I am presently building Charleston dance moves into the ChaLinCharl dance from both the 1920's Charleston and 1940's Charleston repertoire. I don`t see why not. I'm working out the transitions now. Recall that the 1920's Charleston had no kicks while the 1940's added many kick moves that people love to learn. Most ladies don't mind sparkling up the staid ballroom Cha Cha dance if they have advanced to the advanced ballroom skill set stage. A ballroom follower beginner though, is probably not the one to try to teach this dance to on the dance floor. However, some ladies claim they can follow anything. Well, here is your opportunity to test them out.
And, another thing I have found, is that it is not so intimidating to dance this dance with the ballroom INSTRUCTOR as they may be learning some new moves for the Cha Cha. Just make sure you know your transitions properly that`s all if you are trying to make an impression on a dance instructor with these moves. Most dance instructors are very, very good at covering up the transitions from the 6 beat counts to the 8 beat counts. I have danced with some very smooth female instructors indeed in this regard.
Most ladies who are proficient at the Ballroom Cha Cha can follow the Lindy Hop moves after a few tries on the dance floor, especially if you call out the Cha Cha Cha steps while spinning the Lindy moves together. This is a time to break the rule and teach a move on the dance floor, something that is usually frowned upon in Ballroom but willingly accepted even encouraged in Lindy Hop and Charleston. However, a warning here. Even Advanced ballroom followers will not know the Lindy Hop style throw out. Don't expect the Lindy foot work from the follower please as that is just too much to expect.
The lead has to know the Lindy Hop well though. Ladies all seem to love the spins and the throw out Lindy Hop move. They will also love the Charleston moves too when we have those ready. I`m working out the transitions now. It makes the Cha Cha a more exciting dance and sparkles up slow and plodding Cha Cha music, and it breaks up some of these very long Cha Cha songs too. Some dances play Cha Cha's every third song. I have noticed when I dance this dance at ballroom events there is often a crowed watching these moves, then there are ladies coming over to ask to dance later. That's cool. There are more and more bold ladies out there now willing to ask men to dance. I like that.
If you are a leader on the dance floor try the moves once and if the follower does not know East Coast Swing (most Ballroomers do) or West Coast Swing moves, (most Ballroomers don't), then skip them after you have tried them once. Talk to the follower and ask if they want to learn them. If not, then stay away from those moves. You can ask a ballroom East Coast Swing dancer if she knows the Lindy Spin. If she does, then you will have a very good time with this. If she doesn't and wants to learn, then you can teach it on the floor after just a few tries. You just have to say to her, "STEP, STEP" after the first set of triples in the East Coast spin. She will catch on fast. But, only if she wants too. Some ladies just want to look good no matter because they think people are watching them, so they just want to do what they know.
Oh, and I am launching the ballroom Cha Cha moves at Lindy Hop dances I go to. Curiously, these young people seem to love the ballroom moves interspersed with the Lindy moves. They see me doing these moves and often come over and ask ``what was that``. But, then the young people are known for being more open to the new, and willing to try new moves. Us older folk should take note as the new moves are very good for our older brains you know. They massage the memory somewhat. At Lindy Hop dances people are learning, and teaching, new moves on the dance floor all the time. That is the Lindy Hop culture. It's relatively unheard of in Ballroom to try to teach a move on the floor especially at the very advanced staid dances.
If you see me at a dance then just ask me to dance and I'll be happy to show you the dance.
I can do the Gay Gordon if my arm is twisted and I'm dragged onto the floor kicking and screaming. Some people like it though. I used to know several line dances but don't dance them any longer by preference.
Don't know Argentinean Tango well, just a bit.
Don't know the Salsa Casino Rueda well, just a bit but it was fun to learn.
I don't know the Paso Doble (Bullfighter) dance well, just a bit.
Don't know the Cuban Salsa well, or Columbian Salsa well.
Don't know the Bal Swing well.
Dancing transitions a person across four of Dr. Ouellette’s Five Pillars of Optimal Health Secrets. Dance is a good form of exercise and it’s good for practicing good spinal health. Dance is great for Rest & Relaxation and dance helps one have a stable Attitude and Perspective in life.
There are four basic kinds of dancing that we see popular with the general public. Lead and follow dancing, freestyle dancing with no physical connection on the dance floor, no touching, Called dancing as in Square Dancing, Round dancing, Salsa Casino Rueda, and lastly, pattern dances that follow a set pattern around the floor as in the Gay Gordon dance.
Lead and follow has a memorized structure, a physical connection, a frame and dance patterns either in place or around the floor, while for freestyle one gets up and bops around any old way in place on the dance floor and never touches the partner. Lead and follow require thinking whereas freestyle just requires you to be there in body, but not necessarily in mind. Many of the lead and follow dances have several basic steps. For instance the Bachata has 5 basic steps (sideways, forward and backward, in spot sideways, in spot forward and backward, and the square box.)
Most dances have multiple sequences. Some dances are done in spot and some you go around the floor in a counter clockwise direction. The Fox Trot and Waltz can be done in spot OR around the room. Quick Step and Country Two Step are always done around the room. Fox Trot, Waltz and QuickStep are often danced in a zig zag down the wall with the lady’s back to the outside wall and the man’s back to the centre. West Coast Swing is unique in that it is always done in spot, in a straight line called the SLOT.
Most all slow dances can be danced at two speeds. The lead picks the speed and can vary the speed in a single dance. Followers usually like it when the speed is changed several times in a dance. But, it depends on how close the lead and the follower want to get. The slower speed allows for more intimacy. The faster speed adds variety. Part of the trick in slow dancing is not to bore your partner. That is true for both the ladies and the men. The ladies can introduce body language and hip movement to their moves like the Latino ladies are famous for.
Ladies can also do what is called Back Leading. That is when the lady directs the dance from the lady's position. The lady's position is right arm up and left hand on the man's shoulder or arm. If a lady takes the man's position (her left arm up and her right hand on the man's shoulder blade) then she is leading, not back leading. He then needs to learn how to follow and that's not so easy for the man. The lady is the one who establishes how close together slow dances are. If she does not come close then the man should not be pulling her close unless he asks first. Same thing goes for specialty dance moves and what is called dirty dancing.
The man can dip the lady to his right or to his left but, there are rules and there is an etiquette.
Rule 1. for the man: Don't dip a lady unless she wants to be dipped. So, how does the man know if a strange lady wants to be dipped? Well, that's where the etiquette comes in. He does a very slight dip into a very slight dip position to see if she knows what move he is doing. She will tell him if she does not liked to be dipped. He can then talk about it with her.
Rule 2 for the man: Always dip a lady onto your thigh so as not to drop her. Dropping a lady is a no, no and is ALWAYS the man's fault. Likewise dancing a lady into the furniture or other people is always the man's fault. Always apologize to everyone involved when that happens.
Rule 3 for the man: Never do the 'Dead Man's Drop' with a lady that you have never practiced it with. The lady can be seriously hurt by this dip maneuver if it is done wrong. It looks great and dramatic, but needs lots of practice. If you don't know what that move is then you don't need to know, so forget about it because you are not ready for it.
Dip Rules for the lady.
Rule 1 for the lady: If you don't know the man then you don't know if he knows how to dip properly so, don't accept a dip if he tries it. Maybe just go back a wee bit but, stay mostly upright.
Rule 2 for the lady: Always hold your own weight on one of your legs in the dip. There is a trick in learning how to do that properly.
Rule 3 for the lady: Always hang onto the man with your arms in the dip unless you are doing a practiced free dip where the man is holding you only at your waist. That's not for beginners though.
Rule 4 for the lady: Always cross your free knee over toward the man's side, especially if you are wearing a skirt or dress.
Rule 5 for the lady: Always wear a nice looking underwear in case you forget to cross your knee. LOL That's always a good rule if you spin a lot too. If you are going to get into the Lindy Hop types of spins, and the traditional types of dresses that fly up on the spins, then talk to the other ladies about that special underwear you see those ladies wearing. Find out where to buy it. The men at the tables always like to see nice underwear eh. LOL We look for that you know.
Aerials Sometimes called Air Steps and Tricks
There is a standing rule at most dance halls that Aerials are not allowed and can result in banning people from that dance venue. Aerials are only done by people who dance well together, know each other well and have practiced the moves many times. Taking a lady off her feet is call an Aerial. So don't do it unless it is discussed, has been practiced and there is lots of room.
The six standard Ballroom dances are:
1. Fox Trot
3. Cha, Cha
5. East Coast Swing
6. Social Tango (T A N G O)
The Advanced Ballroom is the Quickstep. One needs to know Fox Trot well before taking on the Quickstep as there are contra body motions, sway, tilt, and back locks involved and it is a fast Fox Trot, really fast. One needs the Fox Trot steps down and memorized really well before adding the shoulder work and the back locks. A student often starts learning the social ballroom versions and then progresses to the International versions then Quickstep.
The Swing Dances Are: (Most swing dances derive from Lindy Hop but not all of them.)
1. Lindy Hop (6 beat and 8 beat)
2. East Coast Swing (6 beat and 8 beat)
3. Jive/Jitterbug (Single step East Coast Swing)
4. West Coast Swing (6 beat and 8 beat)
5. Charleston both 1920's and 1940's (Did not develop from Lindy.)
6. Balboa(Did not develop from Lindy.)
7. Collegiate Shag (You need to be young for this one for sure.)
8. Carolina Shag
9 Hustle and BoogieWoogie (Rock N' Roll in Europe) maight also be included.
Charleston and Balboa did not derive from Lindy Hop. Lindy Hop can be danced very fast or very slowly depending on the music. When the music becomes too fast one switches to Charleston. When the Lindy Hop floor becomes too crowded one switches to Balboa. You often see all three at the same time on some dance floors.
Of special note here, the Lindy Hop and three step Cha Cha Cha are the same steps just different body movements on the floor and different body frame as well. Frame, Connection and Floor Craft are more advanced skill sets to learn in the lead and follow dancing.
Rock & Roll
1. East Coast Swing
2. Hustle (A slotted dance like WCS.)
3. Twist (I do the Mambo step [Salsa] to the Twist.)
Keep in mind that there are social dance rules, competition dance rules and peformance/showmanship dance rules and they are all different. Collegiate Shag and Boogie Woogie are very fast and hard on the legs and calf muscles, not to mention hard on the brain too, because every step is a jump and/or kick. These are the young people's dances.
1. Blues (two basic steps)
2. Kizomba (Several basic steps and 7 levels.)
3. Slow dance social
4. Step tap
5. Pelvic grind (Dirty dancing)
Slow dancing is an art. Believe it or not, there is a lead and follow in slow dances. The lady is looking to be kept interested in slow dancing just as she is in the faster lead and follow dances. Although you would have to clarify with her first before doing pelvic grinding type of slow dancing, she should be following your pelvic motion as you lead along the beats of the slow dance music. Usually the ladies enjoy rhythmical patterns where you repeat one set of slow dance movements for five or so times before switching to another.
As we've said before, there are two speeds to dance a slow dance and most slow dances offer the opportunity to shift upward or downward in those speeds. Staying on 1 foot for four or six beats and then on the other foot for another 4 or 6 beats, can offer variety in the dance. With the eyes closed, and interpreting the music as it comes, one can drift off into Lala land in the slow song music. If both people drift off together then that dance can be memorable indeed.
1. Country 2 step (None of this is square dancing or round dancing as they are separate ‘called’ dances.)
3. Cha Cha
And some others more specialized.
The Latin Dances
2. Cha Cha
Kizomba would be a slower dance to the booming base music often to rap. Quite sensuous indeed. The younger crowd does this as the older ladies feel uncomfortable with the sensuous pelvic movements that the younger people grew up with. This dance shows the lady’s waist/pelvic rhythm to the booming music. It gets much closer to sex on the dance floor than the, ah, older folk like to get. It is every bit as nuanced and complex as Ballroom, Latin or Swing. The younger crowd interprets the music with a more sensuous body movement than the older crowd. One may see many of the Ballroom and Tango moves incorporated in this lead and follow dance. It is generally the lead who directs the follower’s pelvic motion to a degree.
Salsa of course, has many basic steps, forward and backward basic, side ways basic and the foot behind basic.
Cha-cha has two basics steps, the ballroom sideways basic (slow, slow, slow, quick, quick, slow, slow, slow, quick, quick), and the forward and back social basic (slow, slow, quick, quick, quick, slow, slow, quick, quick, quick).
Bachata has five basics. See above.
Social Tango has one basic that spells out the word tango. You'll notice that in this dance it is not an alternate foot dance all the way through the dance. The man starts with his left foot on the T (the lady with her right), and finishes with his left foot on the O, and then starts with the left foot again on the next T. Argentinean tango people may claim to dance to the beat but, when you watch them it's very difficult to see them dancing to any kind of music at all.
The Rumba is an alternate foot dance, but there is a social square box Rumba and an international Rumba. And, when people get to know each other there's a very close pelvic movement Rumba as well, but you may get told to get a hotel room if you try that one on the dance floor with ballroom dancers around. The Kizomba dancers though, consider that pelvic motion normal, sensuous, and sexy, and try to accentuate those pelvic movements adding their own flair. The 20 and 30-year-old crowd was brought up with those pelvic motions in their early life of dance and so that's normal for them. Not so much with the middle-aged and older dancers. I happen to enjoy learning those pelvic motions in a more sensuous way but it's difficult to find a lady in my age group who can accommodate that kind of heat in a dance. Ah, but life goes on in interesting ways.
Two Common Slotted Dances
West Coast Swing
The Hustle is a fun dance and is often done to Rock & Roll music, however, dance lessons often use Lindy Hop music to teach because it is slower. Both fit the dance well. So, that means if a Lindy music piece comes on, and is the correct tempo, then one can switch between the Hustle and the Lindy Hop in the same dance. I have learned that the true Hustle aficionados lead the Hustle in a slotted dance much like WCS.
Changing dances in the same piece of music
I am known to switch between up to seven different dances in one piece of music on occasion. Most of the time it is deliberate, but sometimes West Coast Swing steps just come out naturally when doing the Cha, Cha. Seven is a bit much though, but switching between three is quite good. See Evolutionofdance section above.
The Hustle, like West Coast Swing and others, have subtle leads that advanced dancers can take and the follower can go off into the lead that was given. That subtle lead need not be very obvious and beginners watching are not able to pick up on it. That all comes with practice.
Ballroom is noted for this where a very advanced ballroom follower who is with an intermediate level leader, and the leader just twitches and the follower is off on some sequence that the lead does not know. That's ok because they both then laugh and they then know where each other is at in dance experience. As an intermediate leader though, you can balance that out by throwing in a few Lindy Hop moves that the advanced ballroomer likely will not know because they have been focussing on ballroom for a few years. This works really well with the Cha, Cha because the Cha, Cha and Lindy Hop are basically the same steps.
As a an intermediate lead on the floor one learns to avoid those rigid advanced ballroom followers when you meet up with them on the floor, who never vary from any ballroom and refuse to learn on the floor because they think they are being watched by everyone (teaching on a ballroom floor during a social dance is considered a no-no in Ballroom but very much encouraged in Lindy Hop and often asked for at Lindy Hop dances as we said earlier).
So, ballroom people have this mind set of a more rigid attitude on the dance floor where as the Lindy Hop, Charleston people have a much more let down easy going, never any mistakes, everything is ok, type of attitude. They are both good. You just have to pick your flavour that's all. I like to mix it up with those more rigid ballroomers though eh, he ,he, he. But, that's just me.
There are some pretty good Lindy Hop web sites out of Toronto that discuss dance types and the evolution of dance quite well. Just ask me and I will forward the links on to you. I list them on my Dance Venue link in my toolbar above.
And so, lets dance.