Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ballroom Breakdown

"Dear Evelynn,

What is the difference between competitive American Rhythm and International Latin Ballroom?

                                                      Sincerely, Katie F."

What a great topic! Katie, you are not alone. Many people have difficulty deciphering which is which. I broke it down in this picture.

Now, let me get a little more detailed. As you can see Ballroom dancing is separate into two types. International and American. Most social dancing is American, but it is still a competitive area. The Northwest often just competes in international, as well as a few places on the east coast, but for the most part, if you belong to a franchised dance studio, it is most likely American style.

Lets get a little technical...

As you can see, they both share similar dances. Both Latin and Rhythm have Cha Cha and Rumba, but they are danced differently. In fact, the two rumba's are completely different. The Cha Cha's have the same base step..."2,3, Cha Cha Cha" is often heard when dancing the Cha Cha. When dancing in International Latin, Cha Cha is more straight legged and precise, while American Rhythm takes its time, and draws out hip movements to be more fluid. 

International Latin Rumba is very similar in footwork to Cha Cha. People often refer to it as the "Cha Cha without the Cha Cha." The basic step is "2,3,4, hold one." Although American Rumba is danced on the "one, hold 2, go 3, 4". This music is usually slower and romantic. The feel of the two are the same as far as attitude wise. A Rumba is a Rumba.... Bolero is very similar to the two Rumba's as well. I call it the love child of American and Latin. It is a good mix of the two. It is danced in the same pattern in footwork as Latin Rumba, but to Rhythm timing. 

Swing and Jive are very similar with the same basic step. It is a matter of how it is danced (do you see a pattern yet?) that determines which is which. Jive is also much faster music. It also has the "paint can" effect; meaning that it looks like they are dipping just their big toe into a paint can. Jive is more "upity" with more kicks and flicks and something called "kick ball change", while swing is more lindy styled, down into the floor. Almost anything danced in Swing can be interpreted into Jive, but because of the speeds and the manner of dance, it would be hard.

OVERALL, International is sharper and generally has faster BPM when competed. American is slower, making more time to draw out hip placements. If your having a hard time telling which is which, just look at what the dances are. If they are dancing a Samba, it is Latin. If they are dancing a Mambo or Bolero, it is Rhythm.

No comments:

Post a Comment