How Many Types of Dance are There?
Posted: Apr 13 2016
Whether you want to tap till your toes burn, waltz till your dizzy or break dance at the Bolshoi, look around and you’ll find a dance style to suit both your skill level and your personality. Spain has its flamenco, Greece will have you strutting like Zorba, Irish Folk Dancing can have you thumping the floor and Argentina will draw you into the sensual world of the tango. Each country and region has its own special dance and they all have an individual personality.
There are literally hundreds of types of dance out there, just waiting for someone to perform them. Here are just a few to whet your appetite:
Born out of the Swing era of the 20s and 30s in New York, specifically Harlem, Lindy Hop was a grand fusion of many different styles but has jazz at its heart. Throw in a bit of tap and little nod to the Charleston, and you have a dance that always manages to delight audiences.
Mostly associated with the Moulin Rouge in Paris and a single famous piece of music, the can-can is a showgirl favourite that originated way back in the 1940s. Noted for being totally risqué and its repetitive high kicks, when Jacques Offenbach’s Infernal Gallop begins most people know just what to do.
Any lovers of Latin ballroom will know how sensual and moody the Tango can be. The dance developed in Argentina and Uruguay in the late 19th century and is one of the most recognisable and popular dances in the world. There are many different types of tango depending on where they originated but each is characterized by strong movements and just a hint of moodiness.
If you’re light on your feet and have enough air in your lungs, the quick step is the dance that will light your fire. The quick step originated in America in the 1920s. It requires an upbeat performance with quick music where the partners move at a furious but effortless pace across the ballroom floor.
Street Dance is noted for its urban grit and developed largely outside of dance studios. It’s more about free expression and the different styles vary according to regions but mostly have their origins in jazz and hip-hop. Usually associated with less affluent areas, street dance is often used as a way of bringing the young in communities together.
The polka is an old fashioned dance that has its origins in central Europe during the 1830s where its popularity quickly spread to ballrooms everywhere. The dance has evolved over the years as it moves from country to country and is characterised by quick half steps and plenty of energy.
The American smooth is a freestyle dance that can have a mix of different influences including quick step, waltz and tango as well as extravagant lifts. If you’ve ever seen Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers on the dance floor, then you’ll know exactly what a smooth needs to be.
Cha Cha Cha
An energetic and skilful dance, the cha cha cha is fast, rhythmic and distinctly Latin, having its origins in 1950s Cuba. It’s characterised by strong hip movements and fast foot movements that continue unabated throughout the dance.
With its origin in the Middle East, the belly dance has become popular as a fitness routine in the West because of the way it works on the central core. Usually performed as a solo, the costume is often as important as the dancing itself.
Finally, if you like your Bollywood movies, Kathak is a traditional Indian dance that is usually compared to ballet because of its complex moves and routines. The purpose is normally to tell a story and one of the most famous exponents is Indian superstar Madhuri Dixit.