Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Saturday Seven: Best Ballroom Dances

As yet another year draws to a close I quietly assess the past 12 months and consider "what I have done, and what I have left undone" (why does that sound like one of the prayers in church?) Anyway, while I never planned to do so, I spent part of the past year on and off thinking about how much fun dancing can be. I should tell you that I have never seen the Dancing with the Stars show ever, but I certainly heard all about it from people at work. My point being that I've flirted with the idea of taking dance lessons, but never did. Well for starters I need a dance partner (so hint hint everyone). Dancing is fun...so I started thinking, which dances should I learn? This brings us to another scintillating edition of Rick Rockhill's:
The Saturday Seven: Best Ballroom Dances
In the interest of full disclosure- all dance descriptions are from our friends at Wikipedia.
#1 Tango

above: The Tango originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina. There are several styles, but most are danced in either open embrace, where lead and follow connect at arms length, or close embrace, where the lead and follow connect chest-to-chest.
#2 The Swing Dance

above: The Swing dances developed concurrently with the style of jazz music in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. The most well known of which is lindy hop. There is also a strong tradition of social and boogie woogie and acrobatic rock and roll styles mixed in.
#3 The Waltz

above: The Waltz was the first dance to use the closed position for any extended period of time, and because of this it was subjected to severe criticism and condemnation by both civic and church authorities.Waltz music is written in 3/4 time, with three equal beats to the measure. The first note of each measure is stressed, or emphasized. Dancers must learn to hear the stressed note, which indicates the count of 1 or a "boom".
#4 The Cha Cha

above: The Cha Cha is a dance of Cuban origin. It corresponds to the Cha-cha-cha music introduced by Cuban composer and violinist Enrique Jorrín.The basic pattern involves a checked forward step with the left foot retaining some weight on the right foot, the knee of the right leg being allowed to flex and close to the back of the left knee, the left leg having straightened just prior to receiving part weight.
#5 The Mambo

above: The Mambo is a Cuban dance that corresponds to mambo music. The basic pattern or "Basic Step" of Mambo consists of two halves: Forward Basic and Backward Basic. When a man dances The Forward Basic, the lady dances the Backward Basic and vice versa. The steps are performed with Cuban hip motion, a weight change while bending the knee - this will result in the hip motion which is typical for Salsa. In mambo however this move is made to appear more sudden and accentuated.
#6 The Merengue

above: The Merengue is a dance and music of the Dominican Republic. Partners hold each other in a closed position. The man holds the woman's waist with his right hand while keeping his left hand/her right hand at the woman's eye level. The merengue is a two-step beat requiring both partners to bend their knees slightly left and right. This in turn makes the hips move left and right. When danced correctly, the hips of the man and woman will move in the same direction throughout the song. Partners may walk sideways or circle each other, in small steps.
#7 The Rumba

above: The Rumba is originated from Cuba. considered rumba the most erotic and sensual Latin dance, for its relatively slow rhythm and the hip movement. American style rumba is characterized by the Cuban motion or hip sway arising from the bending and straightening of the knee, as opposed to Latin motion stepping on a straight leg, which is used in international style rumba. In a well choreographed dance there will always be an element of "tease and run"; the man being lured and then rejected.
Bonus Entry: The Samba

above: The Samba is a lively, rhythmical dance of Brazilian origin in 2/4 time danced under the Samba music. The basic movements are counted either 1-2 or 1-a-2, and are danced with a slight downward bouncing or dropping action. This action is created through the bending and straightening of the knees, with bending occurring on the beats of 1 and 2, and the straightening occurring on the "a".

What are YOUR FAVORITE DANCES? Since this is the last Saturday Seven for 2007, ALL COMMENTS ARE FREE TODAY!

-Rick Rockhill

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have a hard time letting anyone lead me. There is a friend of my late father's, a former colonel who heard this and unexpectedly took me in his arms during a song and whisked me around the room several times. I was not laughing or even thinking. I started to think and he paused and glared at me and resumed. I still get weak remembering that.

WAT said...

And notice that most of these dances are Latin? It tells ya we got the spice baby, although I'm not that good a dancer, but at least I got some rhythm!

Very interesting what happened with the mix of Spanish, indigenous, and African influences in Latin America to give us these greats beats.

Diane J Standiford said...

Well...dance is all about sex, sooo, depends how much you "want" your partner. I say start with Swing, then Tango to the moon.
(since it's free...)

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

i like the swing but can't do it! they usually have dance lessons on the ships!

smiles, bee

Odat said...

I think taking ball room dance lessons is an excellant choice!!!
I've always loved the tango and have considered taking lessons...but it's one thing I'll probably leave "undone" this year.
I say go for it! It's great exercise too!
Peace

Palm Springs Savant said...

Wat- You are SO right, my friend. We have lots to thank our Latin friends for...delicous food and music with an incredible beat~

Diane- Swing dancing is a LOT of fun!!

Palm Springs Savant said...

Miss Bee- yes, I went to the dance lesson on my last cruise to the Mexican Riviera. I can still hear the cruise director saying: "Move your hips to the sound of a clock: tick, tock, tick tock...ok everyone keep tick-tocking while I start the music. Are you all ticking tocking?"

well it did work, I almost looked like I knew what I was doing!

Odat- wish you lived closeby, I'd say let's take lessons together!

Marlupe said...

this is a great saturday seven topic rick! I love to dance its one of my favorite hobbies. I think the merengue is my favorite. this has be swaying over my morning coffee, so thanks...

Merelyme said...

hello there! thank you so much for visiting my blog. come back any 'old time and i will serve you up some sweet tea.

ballroom dancing? i loooove ballroom dancing! i am horrible at it but that doesn't stop me no siree. of course the tango...who couldn't love the tango. but...amazingly i also love the simple waltz...it is elegant and refined and...just slow enough for my feet to catch up.

Elizabeth said...

Good morning!
I think the Tango is soooo sexy. Not overtly so, but just enough to make you blush. ;) Some of the others are so in your face---not that this is necessarily a bad thing (they certainly are sexy!), but I think that quiet subtlety is under appreciated. ;)

Sheila said...

Rick, I hope you take those lessons. I regret that I don't share my husband's love for dancing, and I actually thought that lessons for the two of us would have made a great Christmas present. I need to get over my inhibitions.

snowelf said...

I'm sorry, Rick, I am a terrible dancer... :(

But I totally think you should take lessons, I bet you'd be wonderful!! :)

--snow

jackie said...

I like the fox trot. it is so much fun

lime said...

i have wanted to take ballroom dancing lessons for years, emphasis on the latin styles....if i lived anywhere near you, i'd be your partner, because mr. lime has ZERO interest in doing this.

Palm Springs Savant said...

Elizabeth- I love to watch people Tango actually, its so intense!

Sheila- i think you and husband should do a little dancin' this year!

Snow elf- I'm sure that with a glass of wine you would relax a bit and find a groove!

Jackie- I fogot all about the Fox trot, but it is a good one too.

KellyKline said...

Hi Rick! Thanks for stopping by my little blog. I've looked over yours and I absolutely LOVE the holiday pics you've posted! Looks like you've had a fabulous time.

Don't dance much myself, but I agree with Elizabeth about the tango being sexy. I love to watch other people dance the tango. Kinda makes me blush a little. ;)

Dana said...

I like to think that ballroom dancing is sex with clothes on! It's quite intimate!

Seamus said...

Thanks for the visit. I've added you to my Bloglines feed.
Reading this makes this non-dancer want to take lessons - the two left feet version! ;)

Los said...

I have hurt many a partner's foot with my horriffic dancing over the years ... I guess it would be good to learn at some point. My wife would love for me to learn.

Sherry said...

Thanks for stopping in at my blog Rick! I love to dance and generally just go with the music!!! I'm not sure about following "all the steps"...did all of those tap, ballet, etc. as a kid...and last year did belly dancing. Got to say though that I'm partial to Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine..."got to let the rhythm of the music..." you know.. conga!!

Mrs. G. said...

My favorite kind of dance is ANY that involve being twirled by one of the nubile men in that video. Have mercy.

Autumn Storm said...

You should definitely do this and then next time you can post a video of you. :-D

Palm Springs Savant said...

Dana- I agree, it is quite sexy...a opportunity to get hot n sweaty and look great at the same time!!

Seamus- I'm with you on the two left feet thing...that's me I'm afraid.

Los- what a perfect surprise for you wife...do it!!

Palm Springs Savant said...

sherry-I like Gloria too that girl has a great sound.

Mrs G- he is quite dashing, makes it looks so easy.

Autumn Storm- er...I think you'll be ewaiting a looong time for that!!

Anne said...

My most favorite dancing is ballroom dancing back in the day when I was in upright position. In w/c now.

Nowadays, my favorite dancing to watch is still ballroom dancing. It is so romantic and I love the gliding and whirling. Just enchanting!

Gary said...

Hey! Interesting blog and the dance post is great. Thanks for visiting my blog too.

kenju said...

I read in our local paper this week that ballroom dance studios all over the country are suffering a lack of instructors. Since "Dancing with the Stars" came on TV, the surge of people wanting to take lessons has overwhelmed them. You really should watch that show.

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I wish I could dance. I'm such a clutz I trip over my own shadow.

Anne said...

The next time WEST COAST SWING is offered in my area I plan to take it. I recommend that you sign up for a beginner class because normally you don't need a partner..that will give you some time to meet someone. You should not let that stop you. I am taking a cardio salsa class right now ..sort of pseudo dancing and I love it and the "high" keeps me going for several days.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Is this from The PBS Show that Marilu Henner does? (She happens to be my next door neighbor...)
I watched that Final Final the other night....I had not seen much of it before but enjoyed it tremendously! It's The REAL DEAL!

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