What I teach:
It is no secret that dance is an art form. And like any art form, there are as many different ways for it to be interpreted as there are people in this world. After fourteen years of teaching, I find that most ways of learning and teaching partner dance fall into three categories. Because of this, my approach to teaching is based on three distinct branches of learning. These three branches correlate to three styles of partner dance, which I define as: Social, Theater, and Ballroom Dancing.
Social Dance is the freedom of musical interpretation. In reference to partner dance it evokes the concept of harmonization between two individuals. This style of dance is perhaps the oldest and most authentic of the three styles, and is the base from which the contemporary styles of partner dance have evolved. Its teaching is based in studying the relationship and mechanics that exist between the couple. This style of dance prioritizes lead and follow as the building blocks for expressing creativity and exploring movement.
Some of the most popular models of social dance today are often referred to as club dances, and include: salsa, bachata, west coast swing, lindy hop, kizomba, vallenato, samba gafiera, merengue, zuque, argentine tango, bolero.
Theater Dance is by far the most artistic version of the three styles I offer. It not only focuses on the presentation of the movements, but its main objective is to narrate a story according to the artistic interpretation of the music. As the intent for this style is to be showcased in front of large audiences, a key difference between social and theater dance is the projection of movement. As a result, when compared to social dance, theater dance movements are generally bigger and more decorative. In its more advanced forms, this style includes acrobatic movements intended to elevate the level of excitement and surprise for the audience. Needless to say, this style is normally entirely choreographed, and movements are specific to a preselected music composition.
Any type of dance imaginable can be choreographed, and can therefore be translated into a theater format.
Ballroom dancing has proven to be one of the most popular styles of teaching partner dance in Europe and the United States, and is rapidly gaining popularity in South America. This form of teaching encourages dancers to work within the framework of standardized movement prioritizing the quality of motion and its precise reproduction. Generally, in terms of musicality, each style will have a precise and codified timing structure. As a result, the dance does not necessarily represent a cultural background, but is usually defined by the time connotation used by the performers.
Dance Sport takes Ballroom Dancing to another level, and can be defined as the standardization of movement in which competitors seek to demonstrate their superior skills, by showcasing their precision and form.
Generally in the world of Ballroom Dance, there are specific styles which have become standards within the teaching format. These are divided into two subsections: Latin and European.
The European (also called Smooth, or Standard) style you will find: waltz, foxtrot, quickstep, Viennese waltz and European tango
The Latin Dances are composed of Caribbean and American based dances and include: rhumba, cha-cha, samba, swing, mambo, jive and paso doble.