Dance Styles



Country / Western

Club Dances and Other Styles


“Ballroom” dances are typically the styles of dance that move around the floor in a counter clockwise direction. These dances fall into two categories: International Standard (always danced in frame with the partners never separating) or American Smooth (where the couples will open up and move together, but independently at times).
The dances included in these two categories of ballroom dances include:

The oldest of the ballroom dances, the waltz originated in Austria in the 1400’s. The waltz is unique in that it is danced to three-quarter time music, or 1-2-3, 1-2-3, and utilizes rise and fall in its movement, giving it a lilting and magical quality.

A truly American dance, the foxtrot originated in New York by Harry Fox, a vaudeville performer in the 1920’s. Jazz and big band were coming into their heyday and the fun and versatile movement of the foxtrot fit perfectly. Think of a Frank Sinatra song, and you have good odds of hitting on a foxtrot

Originating in Argentina, the ballroom style of tango is different than the close contact, minimal movement of the traditional milonga or salon style of tango often danced on small, tightly packed floors. Bold movement, longer strides, and travelling around the dancefloor with power are the calling cards for ballroom tango.

Often considered “foxtrot on caffeine”, the quickstep is a lively dance which moves around the floor with the focus on quick, light footwork and a playful attitude

Originating in Vienna, from which it derived its name, the Viennese waltz is faster in tempo than regular waltz and appears to move in a series of looping spins, when in fact, it is one partner driving past the other, then allowing the other partner to pass them in turn, all the while moving together around the floor.


Danced in a “box or slot”, Latin and Rhythm style dances rarely move around the floor (with the exception of Paso Doble) and are danced in a more confined space. International Latin and American Rhythm styles of dance overlap in several categories, though the technique used is very different and needs to be learned individually if you wish to do them correctly.

Often described as the “dance of love”, the rumba is a slow, controlled dance which allows the partners to take the time to play off each other, creating a tease and chase story between them as they dance together

Originating in Cuba, the cha cha is one of the most playful of the Latin and Rhythm dances. With syncopated rhythms and lots of hip movement, the cha cha grew out of the mambo, and allows the dancers to pack a lot of punch into a small space on the floor. Its distinct percussion downbeat on 2 gives it a unique flavor on the floor.

Swing was born in America as jazz music grew move popular and dance floors got smaller. More compact movement was needed to fit people in a smaller space, yet allow them the ability to be creative with their movement. Swing was born. Filled with fast footwork, high energy, and the potential for kicks, flicks and more, swing dancing remains high in popularity in all its many regional styles (Lindy Hop, Charleston, Shag, West Coast Swing, East Coast Swing, Jive, Balboa, and more)

Similar in tempo to Rumba, the bolero is another slow dance which uses long, deep leg movement to move the partners together to tell a story of attraction and longing

Originating in the Carnivales of Brazil, the samba is a high energy dance done to a unique percussion beat which is easily identifiable and hard to resist. Samba begs you to join the party!

Often called “Salsa on 2”, the mambo is a fast tempo dance with lots of spins, quick movements, and high energy

The matador’s dance, the paso doble is rarely done on the social dance floor. It is more competitive or performance in nature, and tends to be specifically choreographed. It traditionally tells the story of the matador (the leader) and his cape (the follower) during a bullfight and is very stylized and theatrical


Country/Western dances include many dance forms or styles, which are typically danced to country-western music, and which are stylistically associated with American country and/or Western traditions.

Often called “Texas Two-step”, this dance is a fast paced, smooth dance that moves around the floor in a pattern of quick, quick, slow steps and is typically filled with lots of turns for the follower

Country Cha Cha is similar to the Latin and Rhythm Cha Cha, performed with Cuban motion.  However in the country style, the emphasis is on the first beat of each measure, rather than on the syncopated second beat.  The tempo of the music also tends to be a little slower than its Latin and Rhythm cousins, while retaining the same playfulness

East Coast Swing is as American as you can get on the dance floor.  This dance tends to stay within a confined space – making it perfect for smaller dance floors – and plays off the opposition movement of the rock steps between partners to create fun and interesting moves.

Country Waltz is the oldest “ballroom” dance and considered by many to be the most beautiful.  This dance progresses around the dancefloor, using long, sweeping strides, rise and fall, and lots of body shaping to create elegant lines between the partners.

Triple 2-Step is a smooth, elegant progressive dance with a similar feeling to nightclub twostep.  It is performed with many looped and laced patterns that travel around the dance floor.

Polka is a fun progressive dance with an emphasis of the downward action on the “1&2” beats of music.

AZ 2-Step s a stationary club dance that is easy to do on a crowded club floor. It is rhythmic and has a lot of arm weaves and turns. A wonderful, timeless dance for all ages.

Club Dances and Other Styles

As dance floors got smaller and people turned to dancing independently rather than in partnership, there was still a desire to connect on the dance floor. Several styles evolved to fit in a smaller space and still allow dancers to share the experience of dancing with a partner.

An Arizona favorite, salsa uses lots of spins, turns, arm loops and other tricks while keeping the foot movement very compact to meet the demands of a full dance floor or smaller space

Created in California, the West Coast swing is a “slot” dance where the partners move back and forth, changing places and interacting along a linear pattern on the floor.  This style allows for a lot of freestyling and innovation between partners, while using a basic footwork pattern

A “modern” version of the slow dance, the nightclub two step allows partners to move together to a slower rhythm, while incorporating turns, graceful sweeps and many ballroom moves in a smaller space

There are several styles of Argentine Tango.  Most all employ a closer embrace than the International or American ballroom versions, and do not travel the floor as much.  Danced to traditional or modern music, tango in all styles is very much a leader dance, with the follower focused on bringing the leader’s interpretation of the music to fruition with their response

Born in the disco era and fairly short-lived in its heyday, the hustle owes its heritage to swing and has remained a popular club dance, the same way 70’s and 80’s music continues to be heard on the radio.

Benefits of Dance

Dance, in all its many forms, has a wide range of benefits. But PARTNER dancing, especially ballroom and Latin dancing, has even greater impact

Physical Benefits:


– improves cardiovascular health
– increases muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness – improves aerobic fitness and weight management
-energetic dancing can burn anywhere from 200-450 calories in just 30 minutes – stronger bones, better posture and reduced risk of osteoporosis
– improves coordination, agility and flexibility
– improves balance and spatial awareness

Mental Benefits:


–  Research has proven that ballroom dancing can slow the advancement of dementia
and Alzheimer’s disease
–  improves mental functioning as both the right and left hemispheres of the brain are engaged at the same time
–  stress reduction thru physician and mental exercise
–  improves general and psychological well-being due to release of endorphins

Social Benefits:


–  improves social interaction skills
–  greater self-confidence and self-esteem
–  expands social ties in the community by engaging in a group activity
–  forms a group identification with others who share a common interest


A: No, you do not need a partner. During a private lesson, your instructor will be your partner. During group classes and social dances, participants rotate and dance with other members of the group. This is a great way to meet new people and practicing leading / following.

A: No. We ALL start with zero knowledge and experience. We gear our beginner lessons to provide the new dancer with a basic foundation on which to build and grow their dance skills.

A: Our group classes are “drop-in” in nature, and can range in size from 20-80 people. Don’t let that worry you, however. Our goal is to ensure that you have fun AND learn the basics of the dance at the same time.