Posted by: wagrobanite | 04/18/2010

Week five’s what to look for

This post is long!

Evan and Anna – Rumba:
As with the Tango, there are two different styles of Rumba. There are American Rhythm and International Latin.

The rumba originated in Cuba with influences by Blacks and Creoles. Its movements, like it’s Cuban cousins, Salsa, and Mambo are part of the dance son, which is Cuban music that started in the1930s. Another cousin of the rumba (and closer than Salsa and Mambo) is the Bolero. Modern Rumba came about by French exports in the late 1950s. This site has an excellent history on the rumba and it’s unique place in Cuban dances.

The basic of the Rumba in American Rhythm is “Slow-Quick-Quick-Slow” and this is what is now as the Rumba Box. Look for it as the basic step in Dancing With the stars. In rumba, the hips of both the men and the women should be “rolling” but not over done. They should be smooth and not jerking. The character of rumba is symbolized by this statement: “The rumba is a vertical expression of a horizontal desire”

The 2009 Professional International Latin Rumba at Blackpool (which, for those who don’t know is like the Word Championships in Dancesport). This final is amazing to watch!

Tony Dovolani and Elena Grineko – 2007 American Rhythm Champions of the America’s Ballroom Challenge. This is such an amazing dance. Tony and Elena just sizzle

Anna and her husband Jonathan dancing their last show rumba

Apolo and Julianne

Pam and Damian and Chad and Cheryl – Quickstep:
One of the fastest dances in Dancesport, Quickstep usually has a similar musical choice to that of Foxtrot but they are quite a bit different. It isn’t as old as some of the other ballroom dances such as Tango, Rumba, or even Waltz. Quickstep is a dance from the “Roaring” 1920s, and is combination of Foxtrot, Charleston, and three dances no longer seen in competition by themselves (they are done in other dances such as East Coast Swing and Lindy Hop). Look for a quick pace, “side Chasses”, runs (with jumps near the ends), and mirror Charleston moves. Important to note that hold or frame should be not be broken in the meat of the dance for extended periods of time. This dance is a very much “together” dance.
Warren & Kristi Boyce – Quickstep Show dance:

2006 Australian Ballroom Championships:

Apolo and Julianne

Kate and Tony – Foxtrot:
Like Quickstep, the foxtrot came into being power as a dance in the roaring 1920s. One of the rumored fathers of the dance is legendary vaudeville actor, Harry Fox but as there isn’t a whole lot of proof, it’s just that a rumor. Originally danced to ragtime music (think Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer”) it’s now done to swing/Big band in most social ballroom dance places, though it can be danced other songs. The holds for foxtrot were brought about by legendary dance master Arthur Murray. In Dancesport, there are two types of Foxtrot, International (which at times is called “Slow Foxtrot” and American. In the American, version, the hold is and can be broken more. Look for feather steps, reverse turns, and subtle rise and fall (not a lot like in Waltz). The basic, basic step for Foxtrot is “slow, quick-quick, slow” Which, incidentally is the same step sequence for the rumba!

2006 Ohio State Ball foxtrot:

2006 USA Dance Nationals:

Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani

Jake/Chelsie – Cha Cha:
Known also as Cha Cha Cha, is a Latin/Rhythm dance from, where else? Cuba! It was danced in the streets of Cuba to the music of Cuban musician Enrique Jorrin. This dance is a complicated dance because the rhythm, unlike a lot of the Latin dances has a “fourth” beat. The basic rhythm is “1,2, Cha Cha Cha” or “1, 2, 3 & 4”. Cha Cha was made famous by a well known dance master who also brought rumba to English in the mid 1900s. Cha Cha is a cheeky dance and so look for fun, flirty, and spicy movements. In American rhythm style, look for hip action, while the international latin is almost more authentic. Look for cross-overs which in most circles are called “New Yorkers” and are one of the most basic moves learned in Cha Cha. Also look for spot turns, cross-body leads, and basic steps to the sides away from the forward/back motion.

Slavik Kryklyvyy (Who use to be partnered with DWTS pro Karina Smirnoff) and Elena Khvorova:

2008 Blackpool Finals Cha Cha Cha:

Lilia Podkopayeva – 2006 Ukrainian Dancing With the Stars Champion

Niecy/Louis and Erin/Maks – Jive:
One of the hardest rhythm dances in all of Dancesport, jive incorporates many different dances such as East Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, and Charleston. Truly an American dance, Jive brings fun and excitement to the floor. It’s fast, it’s complicated, and it’s fun! Look for rock steps, chasses to the right and left, kicks, flicks, double steps, and triple steps. The kicks and flicks should be sharp and staccato.

2008 Blackpool Jive Pro

Lilia Podkopayeva and Sergey Kostetskiy, 3rd at Eurovision, London 2008 Dance Contest

Stacy Keibler & Tony Dovolani

Nicole/Derek – Tango:
Tango, known also as “Baille Con Carte” or “The Dance with a Stop”, is one of the older Standard/Smooth dances. It most likely originated in Spain or Morocco. It was brought to South America by Spanish settlers and there was infused with Black, Native populations, and Creole influences. &;As I will explain later on in the season, Tango also gets some of its history from Flamenco dancing. However, unlike Flamenco, Tango was originally danced in lower classes of Argentina by two men. Women were never allowed to dance this dance in early Argentinean history. The position that you seen in International Smooth tango came directly from his. The men’s heads were turned away from each other to avoid the smell that the gauchos had coming off long days on the Pampas. Women were finally incorporated into the dance when the dance was brought back to Europe in the early 1900s. There it became part of the Standard/Smooth dances.

There are roughly five styles of Tango. Argentine, French, International (Smooth), American, and then one that is still danced in the lower class sections of Argentina. Each of the styles is its own, but there are many similar movements for all styles. For Dancing With the Stars, you are probably going to see a mixture of International style and American style depending on the professional. The main difference between the two is that in International style, the couple stays in a closed frame, while in American, they separate more often. Look below for the difference.

Here are some things to look for:

  • Good frame. Evan’s shoulders should be level and not move. His back should be straight
  • A “Strong” lead. Evan should be strong and masculine (I know it sounds archaic but it’s the origins of the dance) but he should not look like he’s pushing Anna all over the place
  • Ganchos. This is a move where it seems that either partner’s leg hooks around the other partners
  • Ochos. Usually this move is done by the follow but can also be done by the lead. It’s a figure eight movement usually done to the side of the lead


For this video, start watching from 1:50. This is the Bronze Level (Lowest level in American Dancesport) Tango at the Ohio State Ball which is one of the largest Dancsport competitions in the country. They are dancing American Smooth Tango


This is International Standard Tango. As you can see there is a marked difference


Jennie Garth and Derek Hough on DWTS. This dance was amazing and underscored in my opinion


Apolo Ono and Julianne Hough… I hated the music for this tango but the technique was amazing.

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