The Specialist Dances – Ultra Ballroom

The Specialist Dances

In the last two blogs, we have talked about the Ballroom and Latin dances and I hope we have managed to answer lots of your questions on those. In addition to these, there are speciality dances that we see on Strictly, these add variety, challenge and they require a different set of skills.  They are:

They are all great fun and one of them is so very very dramatic. Shall we start with fun?

The Charleston

 

The Charleston Ultra Ballroom

Such an energetic dance with goofy expressions and lifts! The Charleston should always have a comedy feel and should be danced with exuberance!

Its origins came from the 1920s, this was a period of huge change, the first world war had ended and fashion for the ladies was radically moving on – shorter skirts, looser clothing and shorter hair.

Famously Josephine Baker danced a Charleston at the Folies Bergere in Paris in 1926 and film footage still exists of that today, it was a free movement with swinging arms, kicking legs and all the abandonment you should see in Charleston. The swivel movement of the feet and ankles is crucial and the turn-in of the knees helps with most of the leg work – straight flapper style dresses would have prevented anything else. There is plenty of room in a Charleston dance for creativity (Have a look at the Photos section on the website and you will see how creative some of our participants became !!)

The American Smooth

The American Smooth Ultra Ballroom

It is all about the glamour of Hollywood! Think Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, the great films like “Top Hat” and “Singing in the Rain”, its old school glamour with lifts and turns and props and amazing partner work. The joy of this dance is transporting you back to the days of the big shows and lots of style. The American smooth can be a Foxtrot or Waltz which gives you plenty of scope for tripping the light fantastic and becoming a star yourself.

The Salsa

The Salsa Ultra Ballroom

There are lots of variations of the spicy exciting dance We mostly see the Cuban Salsa.

It has lots of rhythms and is always fun to watch – it often has daring lifts and tricks which are thrilling and really add to this unique dance.

How would you describe the  Salsa dance?

The actual meaning of salsa is “Sauce” so this is an indication of what it should be like – a mix of flavours, hot and spicy. The dance is performed with a partner and apart, in shadow and in hold. It is all about the couple creating a party atmosphere that is flirtatious and sexy. Not only should the dancers create an exciting feeling the audience should want to join in!

Argentine Tango

Argentine Tango Ultra Ballroom

The very beginning of the Argentine Tango can be found in the back streets of Buenos Aires in the late 19th Century. It tells the story of the ladies of the night and the men that they meet. It is a dance of tension, drama and passion. The connection between partners must be intense and felt by the audience. The hold differs from the Ballroom Tango and has a particular style, it is called the ‘embrace’. If the embrace is closed the dancers have their upper bodies in complete contact. If the embrace is open then the dancers are at arm’s length. The upper body is tight but the legs perform intricate, fast, sharp movements of flicks and hooks, these are called Ganchos. It is one of the most popular dances to watch but definitely one of the hardest to dance.

So we have now covered the speciality dances, In the previous posts, we have talked about the Ballroom and the Latin dances so you should have a complete picture of all the Dance styles we see most often.

What else do we have in store for you? The next blog post will be about learning to dance. You now understand the history and the different types of dance so its time to think about getting moving!

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