Dances We Teach

DanceToday_10_03_2014_HandsOur focus is partner dancing

Learning to lead and respond well is the cornerstone of all the dances we teach. 

Our studio has a mainly social dance focus, gearing for spontaneity and adaptability.

We can show you how easy it is not to sit on the sidelines anymore - whether you bring your dance partner with you or not.

 

Which Dances to learn?

Choose your dances based on music you enjoy and what you might encounter at events you attend.

Still can't choose?  We can show you a dance for each tempo of music, fast, medium and slow, to get you started.

Schedule a free consultation lesson to try some dances out and we can tailor your lessons accordingly.

More...

Don't see what you're looking for here? Please call us!

Arthur Murray Dance Studio Coquitlam - 604-544-5008

Rhythm and Latin Dances

These dances have their roots in Latin America and are all danced socially depending on the venue and which music is playing.

For competitive ballroom dancing, the latin dance styles are grouped into two main categories: American Rhythm and International Latin. The American Rhythm style consists of five dances: Cha-Cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing, Bolero, and Mambo. The International Latin style also consists of five dances: Cha-Cha, Rumba, Jive, Paso Doble, and Samba.

When comparing these two styles, the most obvious difference is that they each have some unique dances. However, all the dances in each style do differ from their counterparts, in subtle ways, mostly having to do with technique. You will find competitive events in each style.

In addition there are separate one-dance competitions in many other dance styles such as Salsa and Swing.

  • American Style Swing (East Coast Swing)

    This is a dance of many names, depending on where you are.  It is sometimes referred to as Jive (North American Jive), Jitterbug, Rock-n-Roll or Boogie Woogie.  This dance in its varied forms is known in the Arthur Murray syllabus as simply "Swing". This American Style/East Coast Swing is extremely adaptable with a wide range of tempos, foot rhythms and Continue Reading...

  • Bachata

    A sexy, sensual Latin dance that is danced in most Latin dance clubs, on cruise ships with tropical locations and at tropical resorts in Latin America.  The character of this dance is achieved through the strongly grounded feeling, the close body contact, the sensual movement of the hips for the lady and sharp timing accents for the man. Teaching Elements: Continue Reading...

  • Bolero

    Bolero uses a rhythm similar to Rumba, but is slower and usually with less accented percusion, music played in the melodic style of a latin ballad. This dance is often said to have the rise and fall of Waltz, the contra-body action of Tango, and the rhythm of Rumba. It is often a favorite of higher-level dancers, as it incorporates Continue Reading...

  • Cha Cha

    The Cha-Cha adds fun to your dancing through it's syncopated steps, many open movements and interesting combinations. You and your partner will be able to feel the pulsating upbeat latin rhythms which make this dance so exciting. Chacha is a dance you will be able to use often and its energetic rhythm encourages you to cut loose and let your Continue Reading...

  • Hustle

    Hustle originated in the 1970's disco era and although the white suits and gold chains have long since faded away, the dance has stayed, giving us the fusion of Swing and disco. In its simplest form it is a dance where even a moderately skilled leader can lead virtually anyone right away. Largely because of its tremendous adaptability to social dance Continue Reading...

  • Jitterbug

    Originally Jitterbug was simply another name for the Lindy Hop that came into usage after about 1940. It is sometimes used to refer to a specific style of Lindy Hop still danced today. Especially for the east coast of North America, the term "Jitterbug" is still sometimes used to denote a fast social Swing dance usually using a single step Continue Reading...

  • Jive (International Style Jive)

    Particularly in Western Canada the term "Jive" is often used in reference to a fast social swing dance using single side steps and "quick, quick, slow, slow" rhythm. This North American Jive is a very fun, adaptable dance and is discussed in the American Style Swing (East Coast Swing) section. International Style Jive is the formal name of a Swing Continue Reading...

  • Lindy Hop

    The original swing dance that arose in the early 1930's after the Charleston craze waned. Some recent musical groups have revived interest in the musical styles from the original Lindy Hop Era and have fired the imagination and enthusiasm of a whole new generation of Lindy Hop dancers. Lindy Hop was the first true form of Swing dancing. It has a Continue Reading...

  • Mambo

    Mambo arose from a fusion of Cuban and jazz music characterized by a stirring Afro-Cuban beat. Mambo is an exciting earthy dance, similar in its basic structure to Salsa, with more highly staccato styling and more "grounding" into the floor. Good Mambo dancers are always popular and in demand as partners. The exciting music and rhythmical body movements make the Continue Reading...

  • Merengue

    The Merengue always has festive party appeal and is essential for dancing at a Latin Club or in preparation for a tropical vacation destination.  Merengue is also a terrific foundation Latin dance which develops the "cuban motion" body action essential for all Latin dancing.  Its uncomplicated timing makes it easy to feel the music and adapt to any partner. Merengue is the Continue Reading...

  • Paso Doble

    The dance depicting the bullfight where the male is the matador and the female represents the cape. The name comes from Spanish meaning "two step" and was originally a Spanish folk dance. Today it is a highly dramatic and flamboyant show dance danced in professional competition in the International Latin division and is rarely if ever danced as a social Continue Reading...

  • Rumba

    Learning the Rumba is a prerequisite for good Rhythm or Latin dancing. The Rumba is used by good dancers everywhere and provides interesting variety suited to a limited space. Neat, attractive, precise footwork gives you confidence in your dancing. The Rumba will help develop latin body motion and sharpen your sense of rhythm, timing, and muscular control. Teaching Elements: Rumba Continue Reading...

  • Salsa

    Salsa is the Spanish word for "sauce" denoting a "spicy" and "hot" flavor to this popular dance style. Having originated from Mambo its exciting music also reflects the fusion of an Afro-Cuban beat with enhanced jazz textures. Salsa is a casual, adapatable dance with varied texturing and a 'must learn' for anyone wanting to go out to a latin club Continue Reading...

  • Samba

    The Samba is associated with the Brazilian "Carnaval" and the music embodies its lighthearted rhythm and sensuality. The Samba provides us with an upbeat and rhythmical dance that is quite unique among the latin dances and is often a very practical dance for social dancing. Sometimes called the South American Waltz, the Samba pulsates to a unique Latin rhythm. Teaching Continue Reading...

  • West Coast Swing

    West Coast Swing is a uniquely styled Swing dance popular all along the west coast of North America and slowly gaining a wider following throughout the rest of the continent and beyond. It is an extremely adaptable social dance for many styles of music. Although it can be danced at fast tempos it is usually danced to a slow or Continue Reading...

Smooth and Standard Dances

These dances have their roots in the European dance tradition.  They are danced socially and although their natural habitat is the larger ballroom floor they can be adapted to smaller floors to make them more practical for other venues as well.

For competition purposes there are two main categories of these classic ballroom dances - American Smooth and International Standard. All these dances are characterized by their precise elements of technique: footwork, rise and fall, etc. From this technique emerges a unique elegance and beauty.

The International Standard style includes five dances: Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, and Quickstep. This style is danced widely in competitions throughout the world. The most obvious trait of the International Standard style is the dancers' constant closed position, where the two dance partners never lose contact from the closed dance hold.

Four of the Standard dances have American Smooth counterparts: Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot and Viennese Waltz. In the American Smooth style, partners often separate from closed dance position utilizing underarm turns and changes in position. American Smooth is quite popular at social dances due to its tremendous adaptability, and is danced at all major competition events across North America. This is an expressive style that is fun to dance and to watch.

  • Fox Trot

    Fox Trot can begin as a basic social dance from which you can acquire a strong foundation of movement. Learning to combine steps easily and smoothly teaches variety and maneuverability. Being able to dance to slow, medium, and fast tempos will add confidence and great social adaptability to your dancing.  As this dance develops it ultimately becomes an extremely skilled Continue Reading...

  • Quickstep

    Quickstep is the English version of the fast Fox Trot and was originally called the "QuickTime Foxtrot and Charleston". Today it is a dynamic fast Standard dance with quick hopping steps set in with the smoother gliding figures.  It is more well-known in Europe, especially in England. The Quickstep is a fast and dynamic dance with light quick steps and Continue Reading...

  • Tango

    (For Argentine Style Tango, please refer to "Specialty Dances") The Ballroom Style of Tango is one of the most beautiful of all the dances. It is characterized by earthy and dramatic movements. In order to achieve the distinctive style of Tango, it is important to develop controlled staccato footwork along with fluid graceful movements. The unique rhythm of the music Continue Reading...

  • Viennese Waltz

    Viennese Waltz is the dance which most conjurs up images of classic formal "ballroom dancing". It is the only ballroom dance that predates the previous century and its music was popularized by Johann Strauss.  Viennese Waltz has developed into an elegant, smooth and gliding dance. The refined image of the tuxedo for the man and the graceful lilt of the Continue Reading...

  • Waltz

    The basic Waltz patterns are the foundation for most ballroom dances. The elegant sweeping movement of the Waltz develops strong balance and control, and the ability to move with ease. Correct posture, rise and fall, and smooth movements should be stressed to achieve good styling. Waltz remains to this day as the standard "honour dance" at various formal occasions, weddings, Continue Reading...

Country Western Dances

These dances are danced socially wherever country music is played.  For those who have aspirations of competition, these dances can be found at nearly every competition event that we attend.

  • Country Shuffle

    Country Shuffle is the Western version of Polka. The primary difference is that the style of Shuffle is less hoppy than the Polka. The basic step consists of a triple to the left followed by a triple to the right....

  • Country Swing

    Country Swing is also referred to as 4 count Swing, Pony Swing or 4 count Hustle and is characterized by its use of continuous rock steps. This is an easy dance to learn and is often fun for those looking to get out on the dance floor immediately....

  • Country Triple

    This dance resembles East Coast Swing, however, the rock step is replaced with walking steps and the dance becomes a progressive dance down the floor....

  • Country Western Waltz

    This is the Country Western counterpart to the Ballroom Waltz. This version is generally faster and progresses rapidly down the floor. Generally seen as the romantic country dance, the movement is graceful and playful through its use of turns and spins....

  • Progressive Two-Step

    Probably the most popular and well known of the Country Western dances. It originated in North America in the 1800's among European settlers. Named for its fast progression around the room, it is a fun and pacey dance characterized by smooth gliding steps with lots of turns and intricate patterning....

  • Texas Two-Step

    Texas Two-Step is a modified version of the popular Progressive Two-step done to slower tempos of music. The primary difference between the two styles is an exaggerated brushing action done side to side during the two slow counts of the basic....

Specialty Dances

The following are miscellaneous dances that are taught at Arthur Murray Coquitlam. These are often danced socially and there are some one-dance competition options for many of these, for example Argentine Tango.  If you are interested in learning a specific dance and are not sure whether we teach it or not, please call us.

  • Argentine Tango

      This dance originated in Argentina where it was danced only by the lowest classes in Buenos Aires. It was eventually adopted by the Argentine public at large and ultimately developed into a sensual and passionate dance. It acheived world wide prominence after displays in Paris created a world wide sensation. The Argentine Tango is a passionate and seductive dance Continue Reading...

  • Cumbia

    This dance is originally from Colombia where is still danced as a folk dance.  Cumbia is also a Latin club dance, danced in partnership,  similar to Salsa but with a bouncier light spirited feel.  The music is a fun, rhythmic blend of indigenous African and Spanish influences which has a very distinctive sound....

  • Lambada

    The hot dance sensation from Brazil sometimes known as the "Forbidden Dance". It was a fad dance in the late 1980's in Europe and then North America but continues to be danced in Brazil as it has for decades. Quite possibly the ultimate "dirty dance"....

  • Nightclub 2-Step

    This dance is an easy playful dance that can be done to many pop songs. It is done to 4/4 time music and has similar patterns to those found in Salsa, although the style of this dance is much slower and smoother. This is a popular dance among wedding couples as it is usually a good tempo for the slower Continue Reading...

  • Polka

    This dance was introduced to society in 1844. Every now and then it is revived because of it's boisterous charm. It is supposed to have been originally created by a Bohemian girl. The basic step consists of a preparatory hop followed by a chasse done first to the left and then to the right. The Polka is still danced quite Continue Reading...

  • Slow Dance

    This dance is related to Fox Trot but is done with even timing and on smaller crowded nightclub floors. This is a great dance for couples who want to get out on the dance floor immediately. It is useful in jazzy nightclubs or lounges....

  • Zouk (Brazilian)

    Yet another hot Latin dance from Brazil.  Characterized by long, sweeping rhythmical movements Zouk is related to the Lambada and Samba but has a style all its own.  It has a slower, sensual feeling with a slight upward and dropping action creating a wave-like effect as it moves forward and back.  In advanced styling there are lots of rippling body Continue Reading...