Learn to Dance

The best way to learn to dance is through lessons with a qualified instructor; however, these notes will refresh your memory between lessons. Pick one or two or learn them all.

Cha Cha

A lively and fun Latin ballroom dance, Cha-Cha is a favorite because it is easily learned and can be danced to a wide variety of popular hits, as well as Latin music. Cha-Cha offers dancers a great opportunity to really let go and have fun on the dance floor.

Basic Cha-Cha
Step 
Side, rock, rock, side, together, side, rock rock – Cha-Cha-Cha, Rock Step – Cha-Cha-Cha, Rock Step

Basic Cha-Cha Step – Lady
Start to Right, step side, forward, back – side, together, side, back, forward – side, together, side, forward, back and repeat Side, rock rock side, together, side, rock, rock, Cha-Cha- Cha, rock, rock
 1 2 3 4 & 1 2 3 4 & 1 2 3

Basic Cha Cha Step – Gentleman
Start to Left, step side, back, forward – side, together, side, forward, back – side, together, side, back, forward and repeat Side, rock rock side, together, side, rock, rock, Cha-Cha-Cha, rock, rock 
1 2 3 4 & 1 2 3 4 & 1 2 3

Foxtrot

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Foxtrot is the “Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers” dance. Ideally the couple should look as though they are gliding across the dance floor. Foxtrot is one of the “smooth” dances and a progressive dance, where the couple moves around the dance floor as opposed to staying in one spot.

Basic Foxtrot Step – Lady
The lady begins with her right foot, taking 2 “slow” steps backward. Then the lady steps to the side and to the right with her right foot to do the first “quick.” She follows that up with her left foot closing to her right for the second “quick”. All the lady’s steps are “toe leads,” meaning the toe of her foot makes contact with the floor first, then resting on the heel.

Basic Foxtrot Step – Gentleman
For the basic Foxtrot pattern, the man begins on the left foot and takes 2 slow steps forward (slow, slow.) A “slow” is 2 full beats. These forward steps are “heel” leads, where the heel of the foot arrives on the floor first, just like in a regular walking step. The gentleman then steps to the side and left with his left foot for the first “quick,” leading with his toe this time (toe lead). He then closes his right foot to his left for the second “quick,” again leading toe to heel. A “quick” is one beat.

Rumba

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Rumba is the dance of romance. This dance is performed to music with a slow tempo and the dance emphasizes the moving of the hips in what we call “Cuban motion.” This gives Rumba its very sensual character.

Basic Rumba Step – Lady
The basic step for the Rumba is a box step. The lady starts with her right foot stepping backward on the ball of her foot, then settling her weight into a flat foot, “slow” (1,2). Her second step is to the side again leading with the ball of her left foot, “quick” (3). In her third step she closes her right foot to her left, again stepping with the ball of the foot and lowering into a flat foot once her feet are together “quick”(4), and shifting her weight back to her left foot. 

For the second half of the box, the lady steps forward with her left foot, again first with the ball of foot, “slow” (5,6); she steps side with her right foot, ball to flat, “quick” (7) and closes her feet for the last step, “quick” (8), shifting her weight back to her right foot.

Basic Rumba Step – Gentleman
The gentleman starts with his left foot stepping forward on the ball of his foot, then settling his weight into a flat foot, “slow” (1,2). His second step is to the side with the ball of his right foot, settling his weight again into a flat foot, “quick” (3). In his third step he closes his left foot to his right, again stepping with the ball of the foot and settling his weight back into a flat foot once his feet are together “quick”(4), and shifting his weight to his left foot. 

For the second half of the box, the man steps back with his right foot, again first with the ball of foot, then settling his weight to a flat foot “slow” (5,6); he steps side with his left foot, ball to flat, “quick” (7) and closes his feet for last step, “quick” (8), shifting his weight back to his right foot.

East Coast Swing

East Coast Swing is the dance most associated with traditional “rock and roll” style dancing. Danced to faster, upbeat music, it is most often done in “open” dance position, the partners holding hands in front, rather than in “closed” dance position where the man’s arm is around the lady. There are three different timings for East Cost Swing, the most common is triple step timing.

Basic East Coast Swing Step – Lady
The basic step for the lady begins on her right foot, side right, (Flat) “1”, Together left. (ball) “&”, side right (flat) “2”. Next side left, (flat) “3”, together with right foot (ball) “&”, left foot side (flat) “4”. and the timing is the same. “Flat (right) “1”, ball (left) “&”, flat (right) “2” – first triple step. “Flat (left) “3”, ball (right) “&”, flat (left) “4” – second triple step. The lady rocks backward with her right foot for “5” and immediately replaces her weight back to the left foot for “6”.

Basic East Coast Swing Step – Gentleman
The gentleman begins with a triple step (side, together, side). Starting on his left foot, the foot action is side left, (flat) “1”, together with right foot (ball) “&”, left foot side (flat) “2”. The “flat” is a full flat foot on the floor, the “ball” is a step on the toe only. The count for this is 1 & 2. Then the man repeats the same foot action beginning with side right, (Flat) “3”, Together left. (ball) “&”, side right (flat) “4”. This is his second “triple step. A “rock step” finishes the basic pattern. The man rocks backward with his left foot “5” and immediately replaces his weight back to the right foot “6”.

Waltz

The Waltz is the “princess” dance for the lady. Graceful, elegant, almost magical, this dance should make it seem to the lady like she is being swept off her feet by her dashing gentleman.

Basic Waltz Step – Lady
In the basic box step, the lady steps back on her right foot, moving directly back for the “1” count. She then moves her left foot to the side on a diagonal for “2.” Again, she doesn’t bring her feet together on this step, it is a diagonal move to the side. On the “3” count, the lady closes her right foot to her left foot.

Basic Waltz Step – Gentleman
The count for Waltz is “1, 2, 3.” Beginning our basic box step, the gentleman steps forward on his left foot, moving directly into his partner for the “1” count. He then moves his right foot to the side on a diagonal for “2” count. There is no bringing the feet together on this step, it is a diagonal move to the side. On the “3” count, the gentleman closes his left foot to his right foot.

Tango

Tango is a progressive or “walking” dance. An important key to doing Tango correctly is to use the correct heel or toe leads when doing the dance. We see this in our basic Tango step.

Basic Tango Step – Lady
Beginning with her right foot, the lady takes 3 steps backward, first step with her right foot, second step with her left foot and steps backward again with her right for her third step. She then takes a side step to her left with her left foot, and closes her right foot to her left for the last step of her Tango basic.

Basic Tango Step – Gentleman
Beginning with the left foot, the gentleman takes 3 steps forward, first step with his left, second step with his right foot, third with his left. Then he takes a side step to his right with his right foot. He closes his left foot to his right foot for the last step of his Tango basic. The first three steps of the basic are what we call “heel” leads. This means the heel of the foot arrives on the floor first — just like in a regular walking step. Any forward step in Tango is a heel lead, any side step is “flat”. Backward steps are “toe, flat”. — meaning you step with the ball of the foot first.