I believe that learning several different styles of dance can help you to become a more versatile dancer. The reason for this is that many of the dances you can learn at Chicago Dance share similar elements, and having variety in your classes will help improve your grasp of the mechanics of each dance style and the technique involved. This is especially true when we are first learning to dance. I advocate for learning the basics of a variety of dance styles before specializing in just your preferred dances. Studying the different timings, rhythms and music used for the variety of dances will be a shortcut to developing one’s musicality.
While the long list of dances involved the Latin and ballroom styles might seem overwhelming, learning multiples dances is easier than one might expect since so many of the fundamental elements of technique and the basic moves cross over, making it easier to learn multiple dances quickly.
One of the more simple examples are the basic patterns used in American Style Foxtrot and Waltz. The only difference between the movements in these two dances is in their timing and the rise and fall which is less in Foxtrot. The character of the dances is different, but make a note of how they are similar.
If you understand the box step and the diamond/diagonal shaped basic and how to switch between the two, you can apply your steps to International Rumba, Mambo, Salsa, American Style Rumba and Bolero. By eliminating or adding the cha cha triple step, figures can be used between Rumba, Mambo, Salsa, Bolero and Cha Cha. Listen to the speed of the music to be on the correct timing and you will be dancing many styles before you know it.
Here are some more dances that share common elements that you can use to expand your dance classes:
- International Cha Cha and American Cha Cha steps are completely shareable with no significant changes, except their speeds, as are the steps in International Samba and American Samba.
- Nightclub Two Step and Salsa can share figures, though the dances have different speeds and styles – Cuban motion versus a gliding style. Viennese Waltz and Samba can share many figures.
- You will probably learn the Corte in Tango, but you could use it in Rumba, Tango, Salsa, Nightclub Two Step, Foxtrot and others. The follower can add style by climbing the leader’s leg with her leg either to his shin or thigh.
- You will probably learn the Rock Step in Foxtrot, but this pattern is great in all styles of Tango (including Argentine) and Rumba.
When you learn to dance to different styles and to different speeds of music you will learn to move more naturally and let yourself become a part of the dance. Once you become comfortable dancing new steps and styles will become even easier to remember.
NOBODY PUTS BABY IN THE CORNER!
Are you ready to make a move?