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The roots of much of the music of Cha Cha might be traced back to Cuba but as a form of popular dance and music the Cha Cha are North American innovations born from Latin migration to North America (particularly New York) and an inter-mixing of musical styles from many parts of the world (especially jazz).
The music of cha-cha-cha evolved from mambo. In the late 1940s, Mambo dance was wildly popular across the United States , but its music was very fast and difficult to dance to. Orchestras slowed down the mambo, and cha-cha-cha was one of the results.
The liner notes to Don Swan's 1950s album "Mucho Cha Cha Cha" says - The Cha Cha Cha is a derivitive of two Latin American dances; the Peurto Rican Danzonette and the Cuban Danzon. However, the Cha Cha Cha distinguishes itself from all the other Latin dances by a vocal trademark; namely voices singing in unison with no vibrato.
The Cha-Cha is one of the most rhythmic of the latin dances, giving dancers a chance to show off hip movements and dynamic action with a flashy and sexual character
The roots of the Samba are in Africa, but the dance was developed in Brazil . It was and is danced as a festival dance during the street 'Carnaval' festivals and celebrations and in Samba Schools throughout Brazil .
In 1925 the Samba was brought to Europe . Although the samba was already accepted as a competition Dance, the great breakthrough of the Samba happened on the World exhibition in New York in 1939.
Europe was really captured by the Samba in 1948/1949. Walter Laird, with partner Lorraine , developed he Samba enormously. Today, many different versions of the Samba, ranging from Baion (pr. bah-yong) to Marcha, are danced at Carnavals in Rio and at local fiestas.
In order to achieve the real character of the Samba, the dancer has to try for a flirting, exaggeratedly happy interpretation. Many figures now danced in the Samba are done by means of hip movements. While this action is difficult to achieve, without it, the dance loses its effect.
Many Africans came to the Americas because of the slave trade. They brought with them their own culture.
The Rumba developed as a Cuban dance. This dance has been standardized, in spite of the fact that there are many Cuban Rumba variations. In its recent form of basic figures, this dance contains the age-old premise of the lady, trying to dominate the gentleman by means of her womanly charms. In a well choreographed dance you will always find elements of teasing and Withdrawal.
The gentleman is being seduced and then rejected. The sensual and erotic movements of the lady are being answered by the gentleman through his movements, his desire for her, and his attempts to prove his manhood by physical domination. Unfortunately, at the end he never succeeds.
Rumba is a passionate story of love and tension between man and woman. This dance is also a position dance, so not a lot of movement on the floor. The 4th beat is the most important.
For tournaments the rumba is between 1,5 and 2 minutes. The official amount of beats is 27. For the woman the attractive hip movement is the most important, while for the man the whole body is used to impress the woman.
This dance requires well timed and dynamic actions. Especially the women steals the show in this dance, while the man is only there to establish more attention on the woman.
It is an exquisite, swinging dance which conquered the West after 1940 under the name of Jitterbug. Also the Bebop, Rock ‘n Roll and the American Swing influenced this dance.
It is a fast dance. With this dance, contest participants are able to show that, after four dances, they still are not tired (the Jive is the last dance in a series of five) and that they still can go full steam. Sometimes this turns out to be only an illusion.
This Swinging dance is a mixture of Rock&Roll, Boogie Woogie, African/American Swing and the Jitterbug. As you can understand the important point is the speed and expression.
The Jive is also a position dance, this means not a lot movement on the floor but lots of action. During the dance the intonation is on the 2nd and 4th beat. In competitions the Jive lasts for 1,5 till 2 minutes. The official speed is 44 BPM.
The jive is a dance where you dance together but also alone. The couple doesn't need to stay in contact with each other all the time.
Without a doubt a Spanish dance, but also discovered early in Mexico . Play the music and instantly everybody is transported into a Spanish ambience.
It will quickly conjure up a bullfight. It is obvious that the gentleman represents the "torero", the bullfighter , but erroneously one sometimes sees the lady as "el toro", the bull. She in reality portrays the "cappa", the bullfighter's red cloth. This dance was already popular in 1920.
The Paso Doble is the only Latin Dance with is not coming from the "Negro" culture, the roots of the Paso Doble are in Spain .
The peak in popularity of this dance was in 1926. After World War II the Paso Doble was accepted as a Competition Dance.