The Edinburgh Ballroom Dancers Association

For Latin American Dance, Ballroom Dancing, Social and Sequence
Dancing Information in and around Edinburgh, Scotland UK

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The Edinburgh Ballroom Dancers Association

Latin American Dances

The five "Standard" Latin American dances are Samba, Cha Cha, Rumba, Paso Doble and Jive. Here at EBDA we try to include at least one example of each of these dances into our regular Monday evening Ballroom and Latin Dancing programmes.

The Samba

samba Brazil!

The Samba is a bright, lively dance, with something of the flair of the "Carnaval" from South America. Samba is one of the most popular forms of music in Brazil. It is widely viewed as Brazil's national musical style. The name Samba most probably originally comes from the Angolan semba (mesemba), a type of ritual music.

The Cha Cha

The Cha Cha (or Cha Cha Cha) is a rhythmical Latin dance which originated in the 1940's as a modified form of Mambo. It's fun, energetic, sexy and flirtatious, easily distinguished from other Latin Dancing favourites by it's addictive "Step, Step, Cha Cha Cha" rhythm.

The Rumba

A Rumba is generally considered to be a medium-tempo 4/4 Latin ballad, although ballroom style Rumba can be slightly more upbeat and rhythmical, at a tempo of 30-32 measures per minute. The Latin percussion section often punctuates the music with syncopated accents, while bass, guitar and piano keep a steady beat and fill in the harmony. A singer or instrumental soloist may take the melody. Ballroom style Rumba is danced to a variety of musical genre from the most traditional of Latin sounds to modern day pop hits. The most sensual and sexy of the Latin Dancing favourites, the Rumba is regarded as "the vertical expression of horizontal desire".

The Paso Doble

The Paso Doble originates from Spain. It is developed on the basis of movements performed by the matadors during the bull fights, and borrows also from the flamenco and Sevillana tradition. In Paso Doble the man (matador) is in focus more than in any other dance. The lady is left with playing the role of the cape ("cappa"), the red canvas of the toreador or the bull, depending on circumstances. The dance first came into fashion around 1920. It's probably the last dance you would learn if you take up Latin American dance classes. The Paso Doble (literally translated "Double Walk") is based around previously agreed choreography (arranged precisely to the music) and is far more difficult to lead and improvise with fixed sequences and ´breaks´ fitted to very traditional music.

The Jive

Jive Dancers

"Ballroom Jive" is the UK name for the specific competition style of the original American Jitterbug developed by the dance-teaching establishment. Characterised by a ´chassé´ from side to side and a back replace, this style accentuates the pumping action of the knees, as dancers shift their weight in the chassé. Included as the "American" part of the general "Latin American" dance categories, it is widely danced today. Simplified versions are taught all over as basic Lindy Hop and Jitterbug, (which it isn´t), or as East Coast Swing. Variations such as LeRoc, Ceroc borrow elements from Jive, Jitterbug, Rock and Roll, and are becoming very popular as hi-energy young people's partner dances. Social dancers may dance a simplified self taught version often called the Palais Jive, developed as a close, small step sequence in the halcyon days of the large crowded dance halls.

All of the five Latin Dances, plus Salsa, Bossa Nova, Beguine, Mambo and Merengue are also used as bases for Modern Sequence dancing. Click here or alongside for more information about Classical and Modern Sequence dancing generally.



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