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American Rhythm & Latin Dances

Cha Cha

The cha cha dance, under the styles of both American Rhythm and Latin, originated from Cuba in the 1950’s by violinist Enrique Jorrin. Cha cha evolved from another Cuban dance, mambo, by adding a syncopated step between the forward and backward steps of the mambo. Over the years, the classic Cuban cha cha style has evolved into more structured styles such as those in American Rhythm and Latin dancing. With many different latin beats and instruments, the cha cha is surely a crowd favorite.



The rumba originally stemmed from the black urban slums of Cuba. Initially being called the ‘Afro Cuban’ rumba, this dance with time evolved into a more vast and expanded dance in both American Rhythm and Latin styles. Although technically different in American Rhythm as opposed to Latin, rumba music holds very similar musicality and timing in both dance styles.


Samba, although deeply rooted in African culture, actually originated from Brazil. Samba music is very closely intertwined with colonial history in Brazil. Samba is a very unique dance that is only part of the Latin ballroom style as opposed to American Rhythm. With a lot of bounce and fluid body movements, many dancers often consider samba their favorite dance out of the 5 in the Latin Style. Brazilian samba compared to Latin samba, however, is very different in terms of steps and technique.

Jive- The jive, a very upbeat and energetic dance, originally comes from African Americans in the United States in the early 1930’s. The name ‘jive’ comes from African American slang during the time the dance was invented. This dance, like samba, is only seen in the Latin ballroom style. With lots of kicks and hops, this dance is sure to make the audience go wild with its energy and flare.


Paso Doble

Paso Doble, a very well known dance by dancers and nondancers around the world, originated from France and was then adopted by Spain and Portugal. The name ‘Paso Doble’ actually means ‘double step’ which if paid attention to musically can be seen among experienced dancers. Paso doble is only danced in the Latin Ballroom style along with jive and samba.

East Coast Swing- East coast swing, an American Rhythm style dance, originated from the East Coast states in the 1940’s by a well known man named Arthur Murray. The East Coast Swing dance is often confused with the jive by beginners as the timing and many movements are the same, just a bit slower than the jive. 


Bolero, a dance originating from Spain, is known for its slow and elongated movements that compliment the femininity of the lady. The bolero is only found in the American Rhythm dance style. Although musically similar to the Latin style rumba, Bolero is not as sharp and athletic but rather smooth and flowy. The beauty of this dance is one that catches the attention of many.

Mambo- The mambo, originating from Cuba in the 1930’s, is a dance that in the modern day and age is danced socially and competitively. With lots of different tricks, twirls, and cool moves, the mambo is a very well known and often favorite dance in the American Rhythm style. This dance is well known for its captivating energy and enticing latin music that it is danced to. The mambo is a dance that is sure to get you breaking a sweat!


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