LATIN AND SWING BASIC STEP RHYTHM PATTERNS
- Rumba: Slow Quick Quick Slow Quick Quick Slow Quick Quick
Rumba is the slowest of all the Latin Dances. It is sometimes referred to as the dance of love due to the somewhat
romantic character of both the steps and the music.
- Salsa: Quick Quick Slow Quick Quick Slow Quick Quick Slow
You can begin the first quick on beat one or beat two of the musical measure in Salsa. It is a little more musically challenging to start
the pattern on the second beat. Most Americans begin on beat one which is the accented beat of the musical measure and
"easiest to find."
- Mambo: Quick Quick Slow Quick Quick Slow Quick Quick Slow
This rhythm pattern is identical to Salsa.However, Mambo is
always begun on the second beat of the measure.
Technically, Salsa in considered a "street dance" with a flavorful, expressive style
while Mambo is a ball
room dance. In reality they are essentially the same dance.
- Cha-Cha: One Two cha, cha, cha One Two cha, cha, cha One Two cha,
What happens if you replace the "slow" in Mambo with the "cha, cha,
cha?" The answer is that you get the Cha Cha
rhythm. Cha Cha is done to slower music than Mambo, so there is time
to fit in those three cha chas instead of the one "slow." So Cha
Cha and Mambo are very closely related dances. Furthermore, like Mambo, Cha Cha
begins on the second beat of the musical measure.
- Merengue: Quick Quick Quick Quick Quick Quick Quick Quick
This dance is very basic both rhythmically and in
terms of the steps. It is often the favorite of beginning dancers for
that reason. The music has a steady, repetitive quality.
- Swing: Single Swing: Slow Slow Quick Quick
Triple Swing: Triple time (3 steps) Triple time Quick Quick
West Coast Swing: Quick Quick Triple time Triple time
Quick Quick Triple time Quick Quick Triple time
There are many forms of swing dancing. Single
Swing is done to fast
music, such as "Rock Around the Clock." Triple
Swing is done to
medium tempo music. Finally, West Coast Swing
is done to the
slowest swing music which has a "bluesy" sound.
Swing and the other dances listed here (which are Latin dances) are
through their connection to Jazz.
Note: The "quicks" get one beat each and the "slows" get two beats in all
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