Nightclub

As the name Nightclub implies, dances like the Nightclub Two Step, Hustle and even Argentine Tango were born in Nightclubs or are best suited and even designed to accommodate a small crowded floor not normally associated with Ballroom dancing.

  • Argentine Tango
  • Hustle
  • Nightclub Two Step
  • Salsa

Argentine Tango

The origins of tango are unclear because historical documentation from that era hardly exists. However, in recent years a few tango aficionados have undertaken a thorough research of that history[2] –so it is less mysterious today than before. It is generally thought that the dance developed in the late 19th century in working-class neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay as practiced by Uruguayan and Argentine dancers, musicians, and immigrant laborers.[3][4]Argentine tango dancing consists of a variety of styles that developed in different regions and eras, and in response to the crowding of the venue and even the fashions in clothing. Even though the present forms developed in Argentina and Uruguay, they were also exposed to influences re-imported from Europe and North America. There are records of 18th and early 19th century tango styles in Cuba and Spain,[7] while there is a flamenco tangos dance that may share a common ancestor in a minuet-style European dance.[8]Consequently, there is a good deal of confusion and overlap between the styles as they are now danced - and fusions continue to evolve.

Argentine tango is danced in an embrace that can vary from very open, in which leader and follower connect at arms length, to very closed, in which the connection is chest-to-chest, or anywhere in between.

Tango dance is essentially walking with a partner and the music. Dancing appropriately to the emotion and speed of a tango is extremely important to dancing tango. A good dancer is one who transmits a feeling of the music to the partner, leading them effectively throughout the dance. Also, dancers generally keep their feet close to the floor as they walk, the ankles and knees brushing as one leg passes the other.

Dance Characteristics

Argentine tango dancing relies heavily on improvisation; although certain patterns of movement have been codified by instructors over the years as a device to instruct dancers, there is no "basic step." One of the few constants across all Argentine tango dance styles is that the follower will usually be led to alternate feet. Another is that the follower rarely has his or her weight on both feet at the same time. In many modern variations of Argentine Tango, particularly in Europe, teachers of Tango may establish a "basic step" in order to help students to learn and pick up the "feel" of the dance.

Hustle

In the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, discotheques with high quality sound systems and flashing lights became a popular form of entertainment in Europe and America. In the early 1970s, dancing in the discotheques was mostly freestyle dancing – similar to the “Rock” style exhibited by pop stars of the day (i.e. The Jackson Five). The afro hairstyle, bellbottom pants and marshmallow shoes were the fashion craze of the younger generation of the time.

A small group of young adults and teenagers formed a subculture in New York City, competing in the many discotheques in a variety of dance contests, mostly performing the aforementioned “Rock”. Some of the popular clubs at this timer were The Contiki, Footsteps and The Red and White. These were the “hot clubs” where the best dancers from the boroughs of New York City would gather to dance, compete and exchange information.

In early 1973, at a discotheque called the grand Ballroom, Women were exhibiting a new and nameless “touch dance.” The dance had a basic form with a simple 6-count step and featured inside and outside single turns. This was the birth of what would later be called Hustle. The young men at the club took notice, instantly interested in this new “touch dance” that represented a return to romance and was, quite simply, a great way to meet women! From that time on, the Hustle gained enormous popularity and has continued to evolve to this day.

In Latin discotheques, including the Cvorso, Barney Goo Goo's and The Impanema, disco music was used as a bridge between live band sets. In these clubs, touch dancing had always been present in the form of Mambo, Salsa, Cha Cha and Bolero. As a result of this cultural fusion, the simple original 6-count Hustle began to incorporate the “Rock Step” action of the Mambo. The count of the dance became “1-2-3 & 4-5-6.” Although a touch dance, the Hustle was frequently performed side-by-side and began incorporating many of the intricate turn patterns from Mambo. Hustle came to include multiple turns and hand changes with a “ropey” feel to the arms, inspiring the dance to be called “Rope Hustle” or “Latin Hustle”.

Although New York City continued to be the main hub and innovation center for the evolution of the Hustle, in 1974 and 1975 the Hustle gained popularity and began to spread across the US. Dance contests began to pop up in every city as the phenomenon continued. At the same time, the gay community began to exert its influence. Many of its members were involved in the professional performing arts and added balletic arms, long lines, and elasticity to the Hustle. Also at this time, the dance changed from a purely slotted pattern into a rotational one.

In 1975, dance competitions abounded and young competitors were seeking an edge. Acrobatic and adagio movements were incorporated into the Hustle and a whole new style of dance entertainment was born as nightclubs, hotels, and the television industry began hiring these young and innovative professionals. These opportunities fueled the fire, and young dancers continued seeking new ways to excite club audiences. The Hustle became faster and more exciting, and the original “1-2-3” of the dance was dropped leaving the “&4-5-6.” This allowed the dancers to move quickly into and out of the tricks that were becoming so popular in the contests. Eventually, “& 4-5-6” became “&1-2-3,” and this has remained the standard way Hustle is counted today.

The New York Hustle dancers from the 1970s paved the way for the rest of the Hustle community across the US. The Grammy Award Winning song Do the Hustle, by the Van McCoy, only added to the popularity of the Hustle craze and eventually the word “Latin” was dropped from the name although currently, the young Salsa community refers to the dance as the “Latin Hustle.” Hustle has borrowed from numerous dance styles including Swing, Latin and Smooth Ballroom (incorporating its traveling movements and pivots).

Today the Hustle continues to evolve, and is the last authentic American partner dance born and cultivated in the United States.

Dance Characteristics

The Hustle is characterized by fast moving patterns with many turns. Fancy arm styling and big presentation lines are also characteristic of the dance. Like west coast swing, the hustle tends to spotlight the lady. In general the lady’s turning actions and movements are greater than those of the leader. Also, like west coast swing, the hustle is a smooth dance, without lilt. A mistake is to hop or bounce on the syncopated step. Instead, the dance should be smooth through all steps.

In the major competitions, arm styling, leg styling, big presentation lines, and showy figures are important keys to success. Successful competitors usually choose the figures that move about the floor.

Nightclub Two Step

Two Step (Night Club Version), not to be confused with country two step, is one of the most practical and versatile social dances ever conceived. It is designed to be used with contemporary soft rock ("Love Song" type music). This type of music is common just about everywhere, nightclubs, radio etc. The rhythm of the dance is very simple and rarely changes from the 1 & 2 count. The tempo is 30-34 bars per minute. This simple romantic dance fills a gap where no other ballroom dance fits. It gives the dancer, either beginning or advanced, the opportunity to express and create without a rigid technique being required. It's attractive, romantic and is a real asset to learn and will be used often.

It's not too often that the origins of a new dance can be traced to a single individual. But that's precisely the case with Night Club Two Step, a dance created and popularized by California teacher Buddy Schwimmer. Schwimmer says he developed the dance more than 30 years ago when he was only 15. "I was doing a line dance called Surfer Stomp," he told Philip Seyer, in an article published by Dancing USA magazine, "but when a slow piece would come on, the footwork was too slow. So we double timed it, and the count became one & two & three & four. We thought about taking two steps with the left foot and then two steps with the right foot, 1&2 - 3&4," hence the name "two step."

Schwimmer, who says he has won more than 2000 dance contests, comes from a family of dancers. His father and mother frequently won jitterbug competitions, passing on their love of dancing to their six children. Schwimmer opened his first studio in 1978 in Costa Mesa, California and has traveled around the world as a teacher ever since.

Night Club Two Step is an easy dance that almost anyone can learn. Its key characteristic is a rock step followed by a side step. Schwimmer says that the rock step is actually a 5th position break, adding that he doesn't recommend pronounced Latin hip movement.

Dance Characteristics

The dance is often done to medium tempo music, but Schwimmer declines to specify the ideal number of beats per minute. "I never worry about (it)... Figure out what's best for you and what you can handle," he told Dancing USA.

Salsa

Salsa is a popular form of social dance that originated in New York City with strong influences from Latin America, particularly Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Colombia. The movements of salsa have origins in Cuban Son, Cha-cha-cha, Mambo and other dance forms, and the dance, along with the salsa music,[1][2][3] originated in the mid-1970s in New York.[4] In many styles of salsa dancing, as a dancer shifts their weight by stepping, the upper body remains level and nearly unaffected by the weight changes. Weight shifts cause the hips to move. Arm and shoulder movements are also incorporated. The Cuban Casino style of salsa dancing involves significant movement above the waist, with up-and-down shoulder movements and shifting of the ribcage.

The arms are used by the "lead" dancer to communicate or signal the "follower," either in "open" or "closed" position. The open position requires the two dancers to hold one or both hands, especially for moves that involve turns, putting arms behind the back, or moving around each other, to name a few examples. In the closed position, the leader puts the right hand on the follower's back, while the follower puts the left hand on the leader's shoulder.

In the original Latin America form, the forward/backward motion of salsa is done in diagonal or sideways with the 3-step weight change intact.

In some styles of salsa, such as the New York style, the dancers remain mostly in front of one another (switching places), while in Latin American styles, such as Cuban style, the dancers circle around each other, sometimes in 3 points. This circular style is inspired by Cuban Son, specifically to the beat of Son Montuno in the 1920s. However, as it is a popular music, it is open to improvisation and thus it is continuously evolving. Modern salsa styles are associated and named to the original geographic areas that developed them. There are often devotees of each of these styles outside of their home territory. Characteristics that may identify a style include: timing, basic steps, foot patterns, body movement, turns and figures, attitude, dance influences and the way that partners hold each other. The point in a musical bar music where a slightly larger step is taken (the break step) and the direction the step moves can often be used to identify a style.

Incorporating other dance styling techniques into salsa dancing has become very common, for both men and women: shimmies, leg work, arm work, body movement, spins, body isolations, shoulder shimmies, rolls, even hand styling, acrobatics and lifts.

Latin American styles originate from Puerto Rico, Cuba and surrounding Caribbean islands.