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Dancing Lessons at Let's Dance Rochester Dance Studio


Are you thinking of taking Ballroom Dance Lessons but are unsure or intimidated--give us a call or an email and we will put your concerns at rest! At Let's Dance Rochester Dance Studio, we offer dance lessons to students at all skill levels. Our dance lessons include a wide variety of both social and competitive dance styles. Ballroom dancing in Rochester has experienced a surge in popularity recently, thanks to popular television shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance.

The phrase “Ballroom dance lessons” often refers to many types of social dance lessons for recreation. However, with the emergence of competitive dancesport in recent years, the term may be applied in a narrower sense. It often refers to the International Standard and International Latin style dances or the American Smooth and American Rhythm dance styles. The Let's Dance Rochester Studio is proud to offer a comprehensive range of the most popular Latin dance classes and ballroom dance lessons in Rochester.

Listed below are some of those ageless ballroom and Latin dances that continue to make social dancing forever popular in Rochester. See below to discover some interesting facts about these exciting styles of Latin and ballroom dancing!

Hover over the title to open it.

BALLROOM DANCES

Ballroom dances include the Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, and Quickstep. International Dance Style includes all five dances, American Smooth does not have the Quickstep
While I dance I cannot judge, I cannot hate, I cannot separate myself from life. I can only be joyful and whole. That is why I dance.
~ Hans Bos

Waltz

Waltz dance lessons in Rochester are popular among many people, especially for those looking for wedding dance lessons. The waltz is sometime referred to as the mother of ballroom dancing.... The waltz's origins go back to several different countries in Europe. The waltz has assumed different national characteristics in different countries. There is the English Waltz, the Hungarian Waltz and the Waltz-Mazurka. The waltz is danced to slow music, ranging from 28-30 measures (bars) per minute (84-90 beats per minute). The first beat of the of a measure is accented. Waltz music is in 3/4 time. Popular waltz music: Hayley Westenra, "Dark Waltz," Willie Nelson, ""Sad Songs and Waltzes," "Time in a Bottle," "Piano Man," "Moon River," "Charade,". Some Christmas carols are waltzes - "Silent Night. One of Ludwig van Beethoven's most popular compositions, "Fur Elise"
You need to be waltzed, and by someone who knows how.
--Rhett Butler, Gone With The Wind

Tango

The Tango originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina in the late 1860s. Its actual origins may have been lost in unrecorded history. The dance was brought to Argentina by African slaves and was originally performed in slums, bars, and brothels. The Tango became popular in the 1920s and popularized in the 1930s and 1940s in films such as "Flying Down to Rio" and more recently in "Scent of a Woman." The hold of the tango is different from other ballroom dances with the lady's arm under the mans. This creates a tighter hold for quick action and stylized poses. Today the Tango is danced in 4/4 time. The Tango has at least three variations: Argentine tango, American Tango, and International Tango. Popular Tango music: "Phantom of the Opera Tango" "Fernando's Hideaway" "Serenantella" "Felicia" "Orchids in the Moonlight"
When someone begins he can be dazzled by things that are external; the things of Tango are internal… A dancer arrives at the roots of the Tango when he falls in love…
~Eduardo Arquimba
Those who say that you can’t tango if you are not Argentine are mistaken. Tango was an immigrant music... so it does not have a nationality.
It’s only passport is feeling.
- Carlos Gavito

Viennese Waltz

The Viennese Waltz is a ballroom dance where the dancers are continually turning in a clockwise or counter clockwise direction. The dancers change from clockwise (natural) turns or counterclockwise (reverse turns) through change steps that move do not rotate. The Viennese Waltz is a fast waltz with a tempo of 58-60 bars per minute, 3 beats per bar. Joseph Lanner and Johann Strauss are credited with writing the first waltzes in the early 19th Century. This is the classic waltz that is captured in movies. Picture an elegant ballroom in Vienna with beautiful women in flowing ball gowns and men in tail suits dancing under crystalline chandeliers. In lieu of going to Vienna, major dance competitions are great places to see the Viennese Waltz danced by both amateurs and professionals. Couples often select a Viennese Waltz for their "first dance" as man and wife. Two popular songs for wedding waltzes are: Can't Help Falling in Love by Elvis Presley and Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers.
Dancing is a relatively safe form of intoxication.
~ from Copeland & Cohen

Foxtrot

The Foxtrot looks easy but is deceptively complex. This dance originated in the summer of 1914 when the Vaudeville actor Harry Fox did trotting steps to ragtime music. People referred to his dance as "Fox's Trot." Dances influenced by the foxtrot include the Peabody and the Quickstep. The Foxtrot music is in 4/4 time but the basic dance rhythm is 6 counts long: SSQQ. So, the basic step requires 1 1/2 bars of music (just like Swing). The tempo is (28-30) bars per minute. Popular Foxtrots: "It Had to Be You," "The Way You Look Tonight," "Sweet Caroline."
The Foxtrot was the most significant development in all of ballroom dancing. The combination of quick and slow steps permits more flexibility and gives much greater dancing pleasure than the one-step and two-step which it has replaced. There is more variety in the fox-trot than in any other dance, and in some ways it is the hardest dance to learn!
-Jake Fuller
Only the wise can dance the rhythm of life.
~ Unknown

Quickstep

The Quickstep has its origin in the 1920s in England. Because many bands were playing the Foxtrot at a faster pace, the faster dance became the Quick Foxtrot. In 1927 the Charleston was merged with the Quick Foxtrot. This resulted in a name that was too long: Quick Time Fox Trot and Charleston, so the dance became known as the Quickstep. Because the Quickstep was developed in the ragtime era of jazz music, it is fast-paced compared to other dance music.The Quickstep is danced in 4/4 time at a tempo of about 50 bars per minute. This is the fastest tempo of the ballroom dances. The dance may include hops, runs, quick steps with a lot of momentum, and rotation. The Quickstep uses syncopated steps including steps on the "and's". ("quick-and-quick-and-quick, quick, slow")
Dancers are the athletes of God.
~Albert Einstein

LATIN DANCES

There are several definitions for the set of dances that would be characterized as "Latin" dances. Below is a combination of dances that may be found in one or several of the following dance styles: International Latin, American Rhythm, and social dancing.
There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them. ~ Vicki Baum


Samba

The modern day Samba is derived from an old Brazilian style of dance of African origins with many variations. In the past, it has been performed as a street dance at carnival, a pre-Lenten celebration, for about 100 years. the Samba is still very popular in Rio. The Samba came to the U.S.A. in 1933 when Fred Astaire and Dolores Del Rio danced the Carioca in "Flying Down to Rio". To achieve the true character of the Samba, the dancer should give it a happy, flirtatious and exuberant interpretation. The Samba has a unique rhythm written in 2/4 time (2 b.p.m.) with a heavy accent on the second beat. The music has a pulsating sound with a repeated "bum-pa-BUM" sounding rhythm that is easy to remember and recognize. The Samba is a fun and practical social dance to learn.The dance may include: Samba bounce, circling hip action, fast cuban motion, and smooth waltz-like rolling body movements. Popular Samba music: "Copacabana," "One Note Samba," "Macarena," "Quando, Quando, Quando," "Lola, Lola," "La Isla Bonita," "Paradise," On fire," "Valentina,"Maria," "Callente," ...
Dance is not something to talk about. Dance is to dance.
~ Peter Saint James

Cha Cha

The Cha Cha Cha, has historical roots with the Mambo as well as Swing. Coming to the U.S.A. about 1954, the dance is often referred to as the "Cha Cha." By 1959, dance studios reported that the Cha Cha had become their most popular Latin dance. This is still true today. Cha Cha music is played in 4/4 time at a tempo of 28 to 31 mpm (measures per minute). The cha cha is characterized by a triple step. The accent is on the first beat. The Cha Cha is similar to most Latin dances with the feet remaining close to the floor and taking toe steps with the dancer's hips relaxed to allow free movement. Steps are made with a slightly bent knee which, when straightened causes the hips to sway from side to side as the steps are taken. This results in Latin or Cuban motion. Popular Cha Cha music: "All I Wanna Do," "Dance With Me," "I Can't Give You Anything But Love,"Latin Eyes," "Let Me Be The One," "Tea For Two," "I Will Survive," "Ay Morena," …
Don’t dance for the audience; dance for yourself.
~ Bob Fosse

Rumba

The Rumba is said to have originated in Cuba from musical traditions of African slaves. This Rumba was originally danced as a courtship, marriage, and street dance. The dance style involves slowly and sensually moving the hips while dancing, a distinctive feature of Latin dancing. The Rumba can be characterized as: leisurely, romantic, playful, passionate, sensuous, and erotic. Rumba is danced in 4/4 time (four beats to the measure) and the basic steps are quick-quick-slow. The Rumba is typically danced to a tempo of 104 to 108 beats per minute (bpm). Popular Rumba music: "(Where Do I Begin) Love Story," "Autumn Leaves," "Don't Cry for Me Argentina," "Loving You," "Windmills Of Your Mind," "Woman in Love," ...
Dancing is like dreaming with your feet!
~ Constanze

Paso Doble

The Paso Doble is a theatrical spanish dance. The dance characterizes the man as the matador and the lady as his cape. The dancers can choose different roles such as the bull or Spanish dancer, and may change roles during the dance. The Paso Doble is a very dramatic dance with the chest and head held in a position that represents arrogance and dignity. The Paso Doble is more of a competition dance than a social dance. Popular Paso Doble music: "Bella Torero," "Matador Paso," "Ronda," "Torero," ...
Movement never lies. Dance first. Think later
~ Martha Graham

Salsa

The Sasla dance appears to have its roots leading back to many Latin and Afro-Caribbean dances. The similarity of the Salsa to the Mambo is that both dances have a pattern of six steps danced over eight counts of music. The Salsa is danced at about twice the tempo of the Rumba. Both Salsa and Rumba are written in 4/4 time. The Salsa involves stepping on three beats with a pause for one beat. The timing can be thought of as "guck, quick, slow; quick, quick, slow." Like other Latin dances, the dance is characterized by Cuban motion that evolves mainly from alternate bending and straightening of the knees. There are several styles to the Salsa as well as three different counting styles. Most likely, the basic step of the salsa may have been derived from the Rumba. Popular Salsa music: "Juliana," "Africando," "Canto Al Amor,"Bamboleo," ….
Everyday I count wasted in which there has been no dancing.
~ Nitzsche

Merengue

The Merengue is the national dance of the Dominican Republic. It is also popular in Haiti, a country sharing the same island. There are conflicting stories about the origins of the dance and the origins of the music are also uncertain. The music is written in 4/4 time with a tempo of about 120 to 160 beats per minute. The Merengue is popular throughout the Caribbean and South America. When dancing the Merengue, partners hold each other in a closed position. This is a "marching" type of dance with walking steps and side steps performed within a simple rhythm structure. Merengue is a "must learn" dance for travelers who wish to dance in Latin America. Popular Merengue music: "El Jardinero," "Colegiala," "July Mateo Rasputin-Oye,"La Quiero A Morir," "Los Hermanos Rosario - La Duena Del Swing," …
A day I don’t dance is a day I don’t live.
~ Anonymous Tunisian dancer

Bolero

The Bolero is a slow-tempo Latin dance that has both Spanish and Cuban origins. the Bolero of Spain is a 3/4 dance whereas the Cuban bolero is danced in 2/4 in Cuba and 4/4 time elsewhere. The competitive Bolero of American Rhythm is danced in 4/4 time with a tempo ranging between 96 to 104 bpm. This dance requires both Cuban motion, rises and falls, (similar to waltz) and contra body movement.
Bolero music: "Tristezas," "Dos Gardenias," "Veinte Anos," "Historia De Un Amor," "Solamente Una Vez,"Lagrimas Negras.
Dancing can reveal all the mystery that music conceals.
Charles Baudelaire

SWING DANCES

"The history of swing dates back to the 1920's, where the black community, while dancing to contemporary Jazz music, discovered the Charleston and the Lindy Hop". -Lori Heikkila. Swing dance is a set of dances that developed along with jazz music in the 1920's through the 1950's. The best known of these dances is the "Lindy Hop". Examples of dances included in swing are: Lindy Hop, Charleston, Shag, Balboa, West Coast Swing, East Coast Swing, Jive, Rock and Roll, and Hustle. Common forms of swing danced in the Greater Rochester are Jive, East Coast Swing, Lindey Hop and the Hustle.
We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.
~Japanese Proverb

Jive

The Jive dance style originated in the U.SA. from African-Americans in the early 1930's. It was first presented to the public in 1934 by Cab Calloway. The Jive is a variation of the Jitterbug with the Jive being a faster version of the swing. After English instructors developed this dance with slightly slower music, it was adopted in 1968 as the fifth Latin dance in International Competition. In International Latin competition, the Jive is danced at a speed of 176 beats per minute, sometimes being reduced to 128-160 b.p.m. The modern version of ballroom jive from the 1990's to the present is a happy and "boppy" dance with lifting of the knees and bending or rocking of the hips. Being the last dance in competitions, the Jive is a fast and energy-demanding dance. Popular Jive music: "Brown Eyed Girl," "Cecilia," "Flashdance," "Oh Pretty Woman," "Peggy Sue," "Rock Around The Clock,"Tuxedo Junction," "Locomotion," "Mack the Knife," "Dancing On A Saturday Night."
Nothing is more revealing than movement.
~ Martha Graham

East Coast Swing

East Coast Swing is a social partner dance that is danced in a circular pattern with the couple moving around and around over a fair amount of space. It is based on Lindy Hop. the name East Coast Swing was coined to distinguish this dance from West Coast Swing that was developed in California. East coast swing is different from West Coast swing in that East Coast Swing moves have a 6-count that may be combined with an 8-count. West Coast swing has a 4-count. Some popular music for swing: "You Belong To Me," "Please Don't Leave Me," Good Time," "Why Don't We Just Dance."
There are only two kinds of swing - Good, and Bad.

Lindy Hop

The Lindy Hop is named after Charles Lindbergh's 1927 trans atlantic flight to Paris. the newspaper headlines read "LINDY HOPS THE ATLANTIC". Actually, the Lindy Hop has no "hop" in it. The Lindy Hop, also known as the Jitterbug, is an authentic Afro-Euro-American Swing dance. It has a tempo range of 120-180 beats per minute. The dance reflects the music from the late 20's hot Jazz to the early 40's big band era. The Lindy Hop incorporates African and European dance traditions. The embracing hold and turns are from Europe and the breakaway and solid earth body posture are from Africa. The Lindy Hop has continuously evolved with swing music that is grounded in earlier dances such as the Charleston and the Black Bottom that were danced by black people in Harlem. Lindy Hop music is voluminous, a few examples are: "Tuxedo Junction," "Pennies From Heaven," "There'll Be Some Changes Made," "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "Your Feet's Too Big," "Fly Me To The Moon," "Little White Lies," "Just In Time," "Stormy Weather," "It Had To Be You," "Blue Skies," "Sunny Side of the Street," …..
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you join the dance?
~ Lewis Caroll

Hustle

The Hustle (Disco) belongs to the Swing family and is similar to West Coast Swing in pattern. Utilizing Disco style music, the tempo ranges from 100 to 125 beats per minute. Hustle revived partner style among nightclub dancers in the 70's. Hustle may be danced to the contemporary pop dance music of the last two decades. The Hustle is an easy to learn dance; it is a fast smooth dance; the lady is spinning almost constantly; and, her partner continually brings her close and sends her away. The Hustle is thought to have been introduced to the eastern states by Cubans from Florida. The "disco beat" was continuous and might be characterized as a "thump-thump." With the beats appearing the same, DJ's could mix one song right into another without stopping the music and dancers did not have to adjust their timing nearly as much from one song to another. Hustle is a good dance for nightclub music. It is easy to learn and can be danced in ballrooms, nightclubs, Latin clubs, parties, and wedding receptions. The most popular movie featuring the hustle is "Saturday Night Fever," (1977) that stars John Travolta. In 1978 "Thank God It's Friday" with Donna Summer was released. Hustle music includes: "The Hustle," "Stayin' Alive," That's the Way (I Like It)," "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing," "Flashdance…What A Feeling," "Material Girl," "Dancing Queen,"
Good things happen to those who hustle.

DANCE STYLES WE TEACH

Our Studio teaches both American Smooth and Rhythm, and International Standard and Latin. American style smooth and International standard (formerly "modern") have some similarities in dance technique, especially at the higher levels. Among the differences between the two dance styles…
More about dance styes we teach at Let's Dance Rochester
The dance is a poem of which each movement is a word.
-Mata Hari