Our 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.

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Rhythm and Latin Dances

Many of these dances have their roots in Latin America and are all danced socially, depending on the venue. Knowing at least a few of these different rhythms can give you incredible adaptability to be able to dance wherever you have the opportunity to get out on the social dance floor.

For competitive ballroom dancing, there are two main styles: 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. These styles differ slightly in their technique to create different looks.

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

Jive (North American social dance)

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…

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…

Jitterbug

The term Jitterbug has several meanings depending on where you live.  Originally Jitterbug was simply another regional name for the Lindy Hop that came into usage after about 1940. It is sometimes used, mostly along the west coast,…

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,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Jive (International Style Jive)

International Style Jive is the formal name of a Swing type dance that developed in the United Kingdom. It is characterized by extremely up-tempo music and is primarily danced with triple steps done with a highly buoyant movement,…

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…

Bolero

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 favourite of higher-level dancers, as it incorporates many techniques whose objective…

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…

American Style Swing (East Coast Swing)

This is a dance of many regional 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…

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…

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…

Smooth and International ballroom 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 Ballroom (sometimes still known as 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 Ballroom 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 Ballroom style is the dancers’ constant closed dance position, where the two partners never lose contact from the closed dance hold.

Four of the International Ballroom 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 can also be popular at social dances due to its tremendous adaptability, and is danced at all major competition events across North America and, increasingly, worldwide. This is an expressive style that is fun to dance and to watch.

Quickstep

Quickstep is the European version of the fast Fox Trot and was originating in the UK and called the “QuickTime Foxtrot and Charleston”. Today it is a dynamic fast International Ballroom dance with quick hopping steps set in…

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…

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…

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…

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…

County 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 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 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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.

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…

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…

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…

Nightclub 2-Step

NC2 arose from 80’s ballads – it’s rumoured to have been invented in order to dance to “Lady in Red” that was popularly played in that era.  Often, wedding couples come in to the dance studio with a…

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…

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…

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…