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BLUEHEEL DANCE STUDIO NOMINATED FOR STARS OF MISSISSAUGA SOUTH AWARD

We are proud to announce that Blueheel Dance Studio has been nominated by the Stars of Mississauga South Small Business Awards 2016.

Small Business Awards
Stars of Mississauga South Awards

This award was created by the Local BIAs (Business Improvement Area) to recognize small businesses that are unique to Mississauga South and make the community a more vibrant place to live and work. The Award Ceremony will be held on Wednesday, October 12th at the Clarke Memorial Hall, Port Credit and the winner in each category will be announced.

Blueheel Dance Studio has been in business in Mississauga for 14 years providing Latin & Ballroom dance lessons to residents who are looking to expand their social activities and lifestyle through dance. Besides the classic ballroom dances like rumba, tango, foxtrot and Swing, Blueheel also leverages the raw energy of street dances like Salsa, Bachata & Merengue. Blueheel has always been an active member of the community participating in scholarship programs and fundraisers such as Dancing with the Mississauga Stars organized by the Community Foundation of Mississauga.

Keeping our fingers crossed and with bated breath, we would like to thank all our clients and business partners who have helped us share our passion for dance and brought us to where we are today.

Dance to be happy. Dance because you can.

RUNWAY PAJAMA CHIC HITS THE DANCE FLOOR AT BLUEHEEL DANCE STUDIO

If Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana and Givenchy say its a trend…it’s a trend. Not to mention Fall 2016 Fashion Week and the runways of New York, London and Paris, if that’s anything to go by.

Rhianna n PJ Chic
Panama Chic Hits the Red Carpet. TOKYO, JAPAN – APRIL 03: Actress/singer Rihanna attends the ‘Battleship’ Japan Premiere at International Yoyogi first gymnasium on April 3, 2012 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Koki Nagahama/Getty Images)

 

On Friday, September 30th, Blueheel Dance Studio will take the lead of the great fashion icons, hosting their own Pajama Jamming Party Night, starting at 8:30pm at the Port Credit, Lakeshore Studio. Guests can anticipate an evening of imaginative sleepwear fashion being pranced around the dance floor to the rocking rhythms of an E.C. Swing, lively Mambo or a foxy Foxtrot!

Come alive this Friday night at Blueheel Dance Studio:

PAJAMA JAMMING PARTY

Date: Friday, September 30th

Time: 8:30pm

Tickets: $20:00

Dress Code: PJ Chic, comfy slumber wear, Bananas in Pajamas

Venue: Blueheel Dance Studio | 34 Lakeshore Rd E | Port Credit, Mississauga

This being a Pot Luck party, you are challenged to bring your most creative midnight snack (yaaaay! cheat night with Oreo Cookies & Ice Cream?). Expect an evening of fun social dancing with plenty of entertaining moments.  Sandra Rossi is getting pretty creative with her team party challenges.

Come in your PJs, bring your favourite snack and enjoy in, shall we say a very relaxed, atmosphere?

For more information, call 905 274 3262

SWING WITH THE PORT CREDIT SOUTH SIDE SHUFFLE

Tim Hortons Southside Shuffle Blues and Jazz Festival 2016

September 9 – 10 – 11

South Side Shuffle
Port Credit: Tim Horton’s South Side Shuffle 2016

Port Credit – Always electric and especially when this three day Blues & Jazz Festival hits the town. Always a fantastic event, this is the 18th year of the festival, celebrating award winning Canadian, US and international artists.

 The festival attracts over 50,000 people to the village of Port Credit over the course of the weekend to enjoy the music, food and entertainment in a safe and festive atmosphere at the 4 stages in Port Credit Memorial Park and local bars and restaurants.  Blues fans are already snapping up tickets for the annual Beggars Blues Banquet Gala on Thursday, Sept. 8th, 7 p.m. at the Port Credit Legion, hosted by the Hogtown All-Stars featuring Chuck Jackson and award-wining musicians.  Everyone loves the Saturday Street Shuffle – 2:00pm to 6:00pm on Lakeshore Road. New this year are the Ribbers and BBQ food vendors at Memorial Park and the “Southside Shuffle Scavanger Hunt”.   Check here for the street map and activities.

Besides enjoying the great upbeat jazz and R & B acts throughout the festival, you’ll also get a chance to learn the dances associated with Jazz, Rhythm & Blues courtesy of Blueheel Dance Studios.

FREE SWING DANCE LESSONS:

Come discover the East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing and the Lindy Hop at our Port Credit Studio.

Friday, Sep 9th: 7:00pm, 7:45pm & 8:30pm

Saturday, Sep 10th: 4:00pm, 4:45pm & 8:30pm

SWING DANCE PARTY:

Friday, Sep 9th: 9:15pm | Tickets $10/-

 

For Swing Party tickets and information: call 905 274 3262 | Blueheel Dance Studios | 34 Lakeshore Road E

Learning about the beginnings of Jazz and its dances is one way to start learning how to dance. Read this if you're just starting your dance lessons!

Jazz: The Beginnings

The roots of jazz can be traced back to gospel, folk, and blues music created by African American populations as early as the antebellum period, although jazz as a style would not be fully developed until much later. It wasn’t until the late 19th and early 20th century that the form as we know it today began to take shape and gain popularity, namely in and around New Orleans.

Jazz is characterized by heavy brass, conflicting rhythms, and improvisation, and it is one of the few forms of music that is categorically attributed to American culture. As such, it is no surprise that several types of dance either stem from this style of music or lend themselves to it. Here are just a few of the ballroom dances one could perform to jazz music.

Fox Trot

This dance from the early 20th century is attributed to Harry Fox and was originally called Fox’s Trot. It was danced to ragtime music, which is a form of jazz.

This versatile dance allows partners to switch back and forth between slow-quick-quick steps and more traditional slow-slow-quick-quick steps to speed up or slow down, depending on the rhythm. Because jazz is often variable, the style is highly compatible with the fox trot.

Any beginner to dancing, and especially dancing to jazz music, should start with the fox trot. This fun social dance is easy to learn and more complex stylings can follow.

Quickstep

This dance is similar to the fox trot, but as the name implies, a bit quicker. Like the fox trot, this dance is well-suited to changing jazz rhythms, as there are both lively steps and slower interludes.

Swing

Social dance West Coast Swing. Demonstration of a leverage pose.Both East and West coast swing styles can be danced to jazz music, including variations like Lindy, Jitterbug, and so on. In fact, when swing dancing and music were on the rise, jazz and swing music were often considered interchangeable, considering jazz often used swing-style rhythms.

For beginners, East coast swing is probably easier to start with, although West coast arguably invites more variation, especially in terms of suitable music. Both styles tend to work best with jazz when a six-count rhythm is used (as opposed to, say, the eight-count rhythm more common to Lindy).

Jive

The jive is more often paired with rock and roll or big band music, but because it is a swing derivative, there’s no reason you couldn’t dance jive to your favourite jazz tracks. Because the style of dance is so lively, though, it tends to work better with faster-paced songs, so an up-tempo jazz selection is advised if you want to make the most of this dance.

samba-rio

Samba, the Dance of Rio de Janeiro

Brazil is known for many things: gorgeous women, beautiful beaches, and its undeniably compelling music and of course, the Samba. All around the world, people recognize Samba as being the symbol of Brazil and the infamous carnival that takes place each year in Rio de Janeiro.

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to attend Carnival in Brazil, then you know that the music and dancing can be quite contagious. Samba is deeply rooted in the celebration, so it’s no surprise that this has become one of the most popular types of dance lessons to take around the world. It is a very upbeat and flirtatious dance, making it attractive to both men and women.

What is Samba?

Samba is an old dance style that originated in Brazil, but comes with a twist. There are many different variations of Samba, but its origins are African in nature. The genre and styles are rooted in the traditions Angola and the Congo.

Back in 1914, Samba was called Maxixe. By 1923, it had traveled from South America to Europe, rising in popularity in France. A French dance book was created to be used to instruct students how to dance Samba. It was later introduced to American audiences in 1933 when Dolores Del Rio and Fred Astaire performed Carioca in “Flying Down to Rio.” A few years later the Samba was performed by Carmen Miranda in “That Night in Rio.”

The rhythm of Samba is very specific, going off a 2/4 tempo. Traditionally, choruses were sung to a batucada rhythm, along with varying stanzas of declaratory verses. String, percussions, trumpets, flutes, horns, choros and clarinets are widely used in the composition of Samba music.

The Emergence of Ballroom Samba

One version of Samba is known Ballroom Samba, which is more of a social dance compared to the street dance style of the original Samba. It is a partner dance and is nothing like other traditional ballroom dancing styles. It has more of a slight downward bouncing motion to it, unlike the disconnected origins of other ballroom dances.

In ballroom Samba, you do the bounce at the 2/4 and 4/4 count. There are various rhythmic patterns you can experiment with. People dance this way to Samba, zouk, flamenco and South American music. Learning to dance the Samba gives you a taste of South American and African culture and gives you the opportunity to be the belle of the ball whenever you are out on the dance floor.

If you start to feel the beat, so to speak, as you watch the Rio Olympics this summer, then opt for a dance class that teaches authentic Samba dance lessons.

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The Salsa Greats of All Time – Salsa Music

When it comes to the evolution of salsa music, there are almost too many incredible and influential musicians to name. Artists like Celia Cruz, Johnny Pacheco, Tito Puente, Ismael Rivera, Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe, and even modern names like Marc Anthony top the list and will be instantly recognized by anyone who loves salsa dancing and Latin music.

Then there are lesser known artists in the salsa music arena that drove the genre forward. Xavier Cugat may not be as well-known these days as he was during his prime, but the Spanish bandleader is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in spreading Latin music in the United States.

Xavier Cugat (1900 – 1990) was a musician, arranger, and bandleader who was born in Spain but grew up in Cuba. As a result, his musical tastes tended toward Latin music, and salsa in particular. In an era when ballroom dancing (waltz, foxtrot, etc.) was the norm, he introduced the American public to an alternative rhythm and dance style.

Cugat is best known for his role as the leader of the Waldorf-Astoria’s resident band before and after WWII, a position he took over after famed bandleader Jack Denny. Prior to this, his band appeared in several Hollywood films.

Cugat’s style encompassed a traditional, Cuban salsa sound that is different from the contemporary salsa music created today. Whereas you might expect to hear Cugat’s work in a ballroom dance studio, you’re not likely to catch it on the dance floor at your local salsa club.

The salsa of today has taken on a different structure, with faster rhythms and the adoption of outside influences. In fact, modern Cuban salsa is often referred to as timba.  Although it has strong roots in traditional salsa, it is often considered its own, distinctive style.

The components of these two types of salsa are roughly the same.  You’ll hear drums, brass, and strings in both, but the styles are distinct. For those unfamiliar with the evolution of salsa dancing who are taking adult dance classes for the first time, the most noticeable difference is in pacing.

However, the Cuban salsa style introduced to the U.S. by Xavier Cugat and his contemporaries was influenced by North American styles over time, such as jazz. Salsa, developed independently in Cuba, adopted more of the flavor of Afro-Cuban music and rumba.

Whether you’re listening to modern Cuban or American salsa music, it’s not going to sound the same as the traditional style that first came to the U.S. with Xavier Cugat and other musicians of the time. However, both traditional and contemporary salsa sounds can provide wonderful rhythms to dance to.

 

SPOTLIGHT ON BROADWAY

IT’S SHOWTIME!

 Broadway, Manhattan, New York. From KINKY BOOTS to CATS, CHICAGO, GREASE, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, MAMA MIA, WICKED and MORE, Broadway has brought to us some of the most entertaining shows and musicals of all time. Blueheel Dance Studios brings to you a delightful  student showcase,  dinner, dance & pro show based on Broadway’s favourite performances.

Now, yours to discover and enjoy at our June 2016 Showcase.

Spotlight-Showcase-Poster-1

DINNER | SHOW | DANCE

Date: Sunday, June 26th, 2016

Venue: Harbour Banquet Hall, Oakville (map)

DAY PASS: $35.00 2pm – 5pm.

DINNER, DANCE & SHOW: $99 |6 pm – 10pm (includes day pass)

Enjoy a lovely afternoon and evening of dance performances, social dancing at the beautiful Harbour Banquet Hall, overlooking the lake. Savour a delicious 4 course sit down dinner prepared by the talented chefs of Harbour Banquet Centre and dance to the captivating music of DJ King K.

PROGRAMME:

2:00PM:  Doors Open

2:30PM: Kids & Youth Ballroom Showcase Presentations

3:30PM: Adult Showcase Freestyles & Routines, Group Formations

6:00PM: Pro Show

  • Ancient Greece Encore
  • Cabaret Show
  • Vegas – Samba Heat

6:30PM: Dinner

8:00PM: 10:00PM: Social dancing

 

 

Learn how to Salsa dance with our handy tips from Blueheel Dance Studios. You can book private or group dance lessons for Salsa depending on your style.

Salsa for Summer

The art of dance has been a part of many cultures around the world. Some have grown in popularity, like break dancing, the waltz, tap dance, belly dancing and the salsa. Dance is an expression of self – it allows individuals and even couples to feel in control and free at the same time. People take up dance classes for varying reasons. Some are looking to get active, while others are looking to impress a new lover. Some even master their dance of choice and end up entering into competitions.

Salsa is an intimate dance that is still very popular today. It stems from Latin American styles of dance, but people in all backgrounds have enjoyed learning it.

Where Did Salsa Originate?

You’ll find residents of Puerto Rico and Cuba engaging in this social dance, but it’s origination (including Salsa music) comes from none other than New York. The style of dance was created from a mix of other daces, like Cuban Son, Mambo and Cha-cha-cha.

The term Salsa was first coined in the mid-1970s. It evolved from various popular Caribbean Latin American dances that were practiced since the 1940s in Latino communities throughout New York. It was common for Afro-Cuban and Afro-Caribbean dances to be incorporated into new dances over the years.

You can now find different types of Salsa dances in different Caribbean and Latin American countries. You have the Puerto Rican, New York, Cuban and Colombian styles of Salsa.

Why Salsa is Considered a Challenging Dance?

There are a lot of different components to Salsa that can make it difficult for any level of dancer to learn. As with any dance style, it’s about coordination and timing. But it’s also about moving your body to the rhythm in a tasteful manner. The following are the most common issues people witness when learning Salsa:

  • Difficulty leading their partner. The male is normally the lead and should be able to control how far he is from his partner. Being too far away can make it tough to lead on the next move. Some followers also move too far away, also making it hard for the leader to lead.
  • Not stepping forward at the right time. Timing is everything, this is why you have to pay attention to “the one”, which is the beat that is strongest (out of eight).
  • Completing double spins.
  • Difficulty keeping up with the pace of the music.
  • Issues moving their hips.

Each person has their own challenges to overcome when learning Salsa, but with practice and proper guidance, it can become easier.

Mastering Salsa is Very Satisfying

Those who take up Salsa lessons are normally intimidated by the complexity. However, once you achieve the basics, it will become more exciting and fun. But rather than stopping there, you should continue on to master the more difficult moves. The satisfaction that comes from mastering Salsa is great, especially as you overcome your struggles with the moves as a beginner.

Learning Syncopated Beats

This is where Salsa can get a bit tricky. Rather than learning your typical full count timing, you have what’s known as syncopated beats. These can be described as rhythmic stresses or accents in parts of the music that are unusual. Aside from differentiations in timing, syncopated beats are also counted in half counts, which occur in the gaps of a song’s regular rhythm.

So rather than counting 1-2-3-4-5…, you would count 1-&-2-&-3-&-4-&-5…

If you’ve ever danced Merengue, you know the rhythm is quick. So it would be 1-2-3-4: quick, quick, quick, quick. While Salsa is 1-2-3, 5-6-7: quick, quick, slow, quick, quick, slow.

Adding Your Own Unique Flair

The beauty of most Latin dance styles is that you can add your own personal flair to them. If you take other dance lessons, you can incorporate them into your Salsa moves. For instance, you can add va va voom, tap or even jazz dance to Salsa. So once you’ve mastered Salsa, you can continue perfecting and enhancing your dance skills in many different ways.

Learning Salsa is easier when you have a good partner and the right instructor. Make sure you find Salsa lessons from a reputable workshop. You can request either group or private lessons, both of which can be beneficial, depending on your learning style.

Before you decide to take group dance lessons, here are a few benefits to the alternative of private dance lessons just in case.

Benefits of Taking Private Rather Than Group Dance Lessons

Whether you believe that you have rhythm or not, it turns out that everyone can dance. All you have to do is look at small children listening to upbeat songs to see that we all have a desire to move to music.

This isn’t to say that everyone is a good dancer, but when you pair a desire to participate in this social activity with proper training, absolutely anyone can learn to dance. The more you learn, the more comfortable and relaxed you’ll feel, and the greater opportunity you’ll have to express yourself through dance.

When you’re first starting out, though, you may agonize over the decision to join a group class or attend private lessons. Whether you have a partner or not, it can be difficult to decide which learning environment is right for you.

Before you decide, it’s important to understand what you might gain by choosing one or the other. Here are just a few of the benefits you’ll enjoy when you take private dance lessons instead of joining a group class.

Individual Attention

When you’re just starting out with dance lessons, you have a lot more to learn than just the steps that comprise the tango, waltz, or cha cha. You also have to learn proper form, how to move with a partner (i.e. lead or follow), and how to move to the rhythm of the music.

It’s a lot to remember, and beginners are bound to forget a variety of components along the way. If you take private lessons, the spotlight is solely on you and your partner. An instructor can offer you undivided attention, watch your every move, and correct you as you go.

Although you’ll get some amount of instruction during group lessons, the teacher’s attention will be understandably divided among the many couples in the class. You’ll get a lot more instruction out of every hour when you opt for private lessons.

Personalized Pacing

Everyone learns at a different rate. Some students are bound to need more time to learn form and steps while others will excel more quickly.

It is just as undesirable to spend most of the lesson twiddling your thumbs while others repeat steps as it is to be the person holding up the rest of the class. With private lessons you neither have to feel rushed nor bored. You can learn at exactly the pace that works for you.

Flexible Scheduling

Most dance studios have a set schedule for group classes. This means you must either take whatever class is available when you have time or you have to rearrange your schedule to take the class you want.

Private lessons, on the other hand, allow you to select not only the specific dances you want to learn, but in many cases the time that is convenient for you. Plus, if you feel like you need additional lessons one week, if you need extra practice for an upcoming event like a wedding or a dance competition, for example, you can always schedule extra time for private training.

Fewer Distractions

If you plan to dance socially at events, competitions, or clubs, you will eventually have to learn how to navigate the dance floor when other couples are present. You don’t necessarily want this added distraction when you’re first learning to dance.

Less Embarrassment

One thing that holds many people back from dancing is the thought that others are watching and judging them. In a private dance lesson, only the teacher will watch, and his/her judgment and critique is necessary to help you improve.

When you don’t have to stress about other sets of eyes on your every move, you can focus on the task at hand – learning how to dance.

Good Foundation for Group Lessons

If you want to take private lessons for the many benefits they offer, there’s nothing to stop you from taking group lessons at a later date or even concurrently. As a beginner, you stand to gain more from private lessons, but once you have a strong foundation, you’ll gain additional benefits by joining group classes.

Group lessons allow you to expand your knowledge of dancing to include interacting with other couples on the floor. In addition, you may feel comfortable enough to switch partners, which can only help to improve your own performance. So once you feel like you’ve reached your pinnacle in private lessons, throw in group classes to continue learning.

What Moms Really Want. And It’s Not Flowers.

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The best things in life are free. And if you know that Mom loves to dance, that’s all you need to do. MOM’S DANCE FREE at Blueheel. Call us to book an appointment or click and we’ll do the rest. To honour all Moms on Mother’s Day, Blueheel is happy to offer this Mother’s Day Special
 ALL MOMS DANCE FREE: Just bring your mom in with you and for any lesson purchased whether  group lesson ($20) or a private lesson ($110) and your Mom dances for free.
– 50% OFF ANY INTRO PROGRAM FOR MOM
A. FUN FOR MOM : 10 Group Lessons for just $99. (Reg. Price $199)

B. JUST  FOR MOM : 4 Private Dance Lessons  for  just $220 (Reg. price $440)

PROMO CODE MOM16: Offer valid till May 15th, 2016. Valid one per Mom when accompanied by her child. Not valid in conjunction with other offers. Call 905 274 3262 for more info.

 

WHEN THE GYM JUST ISN’T CUTTING IT FOR YOU – DANCE

WHEN THE GYM JUST ISN’T CUTTING IT FOR YOU – DANCE!

Dance has tons of perks. Start dancing today with Blueheel Dance Studio.

Gym is just not for everybody. But physical activity is. There are alternative ways you can keep active and get a great workout and dance is one of them. A recent BBC1 report on a German Study comparing gym vs dancing found that dancing wins hands down. Because besides building strength and toning body parts, it improves spacial awareness, balance and aerobic capacity.

WHY DANCE?

Those of you who like to get your groove on, on the dance floor will probably be surprised to find out that you are doing yourself a world of good. Dancing is more than just an enjoyable activity to experience with friends or your partner; besides the great workout, dancing has the amazing ability to improve the way your brain functions too.

  1. The Exercise Component:Dance helps build muscular strength, endurance & fitness. Dancing works the core, improves balance and burns those calories, all whilst having fun.
  2. The Fun Component:The exercise component is effective, but the real benefit comes in terms of pure happiness, thanks to those happy endorphins and the sociable nature of joining a dance group.
  3. Dance makes you Smarter: Dancing is an example of a fast-paced activity that demands speedy decision making.and may cause the brain to continually rewire its neural pathways and by doing so help with neuroplasticity. Remembering steps and patterns exercises vital parts of the brain and influences mental acuity.
  4. Healthy & Happy Endorphins: Dancers score higher in mood improvement too. Doing the twist is far more beneficial overall than merely lifting weights. Again, the real difference seems to be the added value of the endorphin boost that dancing invokes.
  5. Social Confidence:There may be that other “you” dying to come out of the shell. Learning to dance helps break the ice at social occasions and helps boost self esteem and confidence.

So, dance now and dance often!

For more information, call us at 905 274 3262 to book your first free trial lesson.

Discover the Passion. Experience the Dance.

Bibliography: Angela Rippon in the BBC1 report on Staying YoungNew England Journal of Medicine; The Cognitive Benefits of Movement Reduction: Evidence From Dance Marking       

If you want to get in on the fun and fitness associated with swing dancing, here are a few things that every beginner should know.

Swing Dancing Basics for Beginners

Although swing dancing as its own style originated in the swing era between the 1920s and ’40s in response to “swing” music of the time (ostensibly a style of jazz), the origins of the dances contributing to the swing style date back much further. However, swing is one of a few long-lived dance styles that originated in the United States, and it has persevered for decades (while other dance styles have fallen by the wayside) for a number of reasons.

This energetic style appeals to a wide range of people seeking a fun social activity that is both entertaining and athletic. In addition, the many different styles of swing, some slower and some faster-paced, accommodate a wide range of ages, so that both young and older dances can enjoy moving to the beats of traditional swing music.

While swing has remained relatively popular for decades, not only via ballroom dance competitions but also through a subset of clubs that cater to swing music and dancing aficionados, the style observed something of a revival in the ’90s following the 1996 release of the movie ‘Swingers’. If you want to get in on the fun and fitness associated with this exuberant and joyful style of dance, here are a few things that every beginner should know.

Types of Swing

There are several different styles of swing dancing. The two main categories are East Coast and West Coast swing, although there are several different iterations associated with one or the other.

In competitive ballroom dancing, there are a handful of recognized styles, including Swing (predominantly East Coast), which falls into the American Rhythm category, and Jive (a variation on the original Lindy Hop), which falls into the International Latin category.

As for recreational dancing, there are a wide variety of swing styles to explore, from classic East Coast and West Coast to iterations like Lindy Hop/Jitterbug, Balboa, Lindy Charleston, jive, hand dancing, shag, whip, and several localized variations of some of these styles, among other styles and fads.

It’s probably best for beginners to start with either East Coast or West Coast swing before branching out into variants. These two main styles vary in specific ways, but the biggest differences are as follows:

  • Patterns – In East Coast swing, the footwork tends to move in a circular pattern, with partners going around and around each other. In West Coast swing, on the other hand, partners tend to move in a linear “slot” pattern, moving back and forth as though walking an invisible line painted on the floor or dancing within a tight rectangle of space.

The difference in styles can be attributed to the common use of ballrooms for dancing pre-WWII that   allowed more room for East Coast swing dancers to move around. After WWII, people began frequenting smaller clubs for dancing, which is when the tighter footwork patterns of West Coast swing gained prominence.

  • Speed – East Coast swing tends to follow a faster pace and is seen as an energetic and sometimes wild style of dancing that involves a lot of turns, tunnels, and even jumps, flips, and throws. West Coast swing, on the other hand, tends to follow slower rhythms and more formal step patterns, but dancers are allowed more latitude to add “sensual” movements.
  • Ease of Learning – East Coast swing is generally considered to be the easier of the two types to pick up, perhaps because of the prevalence of 4-count step patterns, as opposed to the 6- or 8-count rhythms seen in other swing styles.

Seeking Instruction

There are two ways to learn swing dancing: through classes taught by professional dancers or via online tutorials (which have largely replaced dance video tutorials on disc). Each option has pros and cons to consider, but the former is bound to be more effective.

Professional instruction is probably the ideal way to learn any style of dancing as a beginner because an experienced instructor can not only demonstrate the footwork, but also watch you and correct your form, ensuring you learn the steps properly.

If you’d prefer a do-it-yourself method of learning swing, then there is no shortage of online videos demonstrating everything from basic to advanced steps for various styles of swing dancing. With dedication and a partner, you may be able to learn many of the steps on your own. Unfortunately, a video can’t offer the same advice and correction on your moves that a professional can, and you have no idea if the tutorials are performed by dancers that actually know what they’re doing.

Your best option as a beginner is to take a class in order to learn the basics of swing dancing and then use online resources in a supplemental capacity, if at all.

Give your partner-to-be the gift of dancing on your special day. Here's how you can best prepare your wedding dance lessons - and have fun, too!

Five Ways to Prepare for Your Wedding Dance Lessons

Congratulations – you’re about to tie the knot! It’s going to be the happiest day of your life. You and your fiancée are completely prepared – the invitations are sent, the cake is ordered, the venue is booked. There’s just one last thing you need to do; and you’ve been putting it off for months now.

You need to learn to dance.

It was your mom’s idea, really – she said she wouldn’t stand to see any child of hers swaying like an awkward middle schooler at the Sadie Hawkins. The whole idea of trying to learn some special new moves in a few months scares you spitless; but don’t worry. There are ways to ready yourself for those first few lessons so that you can feel confident not only in the dance studio, but at your wedding as well!

1. Wear Comfortable Clothes

Nobody’s exactly comfortable on their wedding day; but the lessons leading up to that first dance should definitely put you at ease. Don’t be afraid to wear sweats or your stretchy jeggings to your dance class; and make sure you further prepare by wearing good sneakers with a nicely padded arch. Believe it or not, your feet aren’t used to the muscles used to do the rhumba. You’ll be grateful for those comfy shoes when your feet start to ache a half-hour into the lessons.

2. Stretch

Yup, you heard me. This isn’t a marathon, but dancing makes you move. You will work up a sweat and your body will feel the strain of a new activity. Spend a good ten minutes stretching before you head off to your dance class, and you’ll feel better and more energetic for it.

3. Pull Your Hair Back

If you have long hair, you’ll want to be sure it’s tied back and securely fastened. Otherwise, it may very well be swinging and smacking you (or your partner’s!) face between twirls.

4. Stay Hydrated

Did I already mention that dancing is a workout? Make sure you pack yourself a water bottle before you head to the studio! Most places have water coolers or water fountains, but you want to be prepared just in case your dance studio isn’t. And anyway, it never hurts to be sure you’re constantly hydrated.

5. Smile

I know this is your wedding – your wedding! – and you’re super nervous about having the right moves for that first dance. But don’t forget to smile. Dancing is fun, and you’re getting married! What a special gift you’ll be able to give your partner when the two of you swing onto that dance floor like you own it. Go get ’em, tiger, and have no fear – a wedding only lasts a day. A marriage is meant to last a lifetime!

All Latin style ballroom dancing featured today are enjoyed by dancers and spectator alike, the roots of which are centuries old in some cases.

History of Latin Style Ballroom Dancing

There are many classic dances included in the ballroom category and which can be seen at local, national, and international ballroom dancing competitions. Aside from renowned favorites like the waltz and the tango, of course, is a whole slew of styles that fall under the Latin category, which is to say they originated in Latin America (in most cases).

Over time, some Latin style dances have fallen out of fashion while others have gained traction. Here is a brief history of the Latin style dances that have defined this fun, romantic, and unique category of ballroom dancing.

Native Dancing

The origins of Latin style ballroom dancing can be traced back hundreds of years, mainly to dances practiced by indigenous peoples of Central and South America. When European explorers first arrived in the Americans, they documented these dances related to everyday activities like hunting, as well as pursuits like astronomy.

Over time, the blending of cultures would have an effect on early Latin dance, but even today many of those original dances are still practiced in one form or another, with the complex rhythms and patterns of ages past still prevalent in ballroom dance.

Dance Evolution

Ballroom dancing began in the 16th century as a social activity, but it wasn’t until the early 20th century that ballroom dancing as we know it today, as a competitive dancesport, emerged. Since then, many popular Latin folk dances have evolved to suit the sporting aspect of ballroom dancing.

While some once-popular dances like the Cuban danzon have fallen out of fashion over time, others have managed to stand the test of time and found a place in the world of international ballroom competition.

Latin Style Ballroom Dances Today

Although the category of Latin dance includes favorites like the merengue, derivatives like Cuban salsa, and relatively recent additions like bachata, competitive ballroom dancing only recognizes certain styles. International competition includes the following Latin style dances: samba, cha-cha, rumba, paso doble, and jive.

In North American competitions, on the other hand, dancers may compete in “rhythm” dances that include cha-cha, rumba, bolero, mambo, and east coast swing. Over time, salsa has arguably remained the most popular form of Latin dance by far, not only in terms of social dancing, but also competitive. This is probably due to the popularity of salsa music as much as the dynamic movement involved.

Latin dances like rumba or cha-cha may be more accessible for beginners, with slower rhythms and simpler footwork in some cases. However, all of the Latin styles featured in ballroom competitions today are enjoyed by dancers and spectator alike for their unique rhythms and expressive movements, the roots of which are centuries old in some cases.