Thursday, January 17, 2013

My Wonderful Students!

I just posted two new dances! Both dances have been successful in my "beginner" class of seniors! We may take a bit longer to learn them, but my students are sooooo wonderful that we just keep at it until we learn them.

I have not made videos for these yet, but will try to get that done by the end of February--so if you can't put them together from the step sheets, check back!

The first one, "Twilight Time" is deceptively simple...or not. The steps themselves are pretty slow, but there is a lot going on, and plenty of turning, so it's nice to have the time. Once you get the steps down, for a livelier dance, set it to the Beach Boys song: "Kokomo."

The second dance, "T.I.M.E" is very fast! We slow the music down 16%, and it's still a bit of a challenge. But it's a lot of fun. Don't let the number of steps scare you off (84!). It's not as bad as it sounds, and it fits the music so nicely, you will forget how many steps you had to learn!

I hope you enjoy these dances as much as we do. Don't forget to check back to see the video instructions and demo.

Let's Talk Terminology, Part 2

Hello! It has been a while. So it's time to get back to talking about terminology. 

What, really, is a "cha-cha" step? I don't know that I have the entire, complete, perfect answer, but here is what I have learned from many teachers over many years: It is a composite of two other basic steps. 

In essence, a "cha-cha" step is a Mambo/Chasse' and fills 4 beats. Most commonly you will have two to complete an 8-count. The Chasse' step has already been covered, so I will not be covering it again.

Mambo Step. Often, it is cued as "Rock-Recover." 
   This step moves all directions: forward, side, back, diagonal. In Latin styled dances it includes hip action. So you place one foot, rocking your weight onto it, and on the second beat, rock your weight back to the original foot.

Cha-Cha: Forward and Back - Beats 1 and 2 are the mambo, beats 3 & 4 are the chasse'
1. Step forward on R foot
2. Recover weight back to left
3&4. Chasse' back (RLR)
5. Step (or rock) back on the R foot
6. Recover weight to the left
7&8. Chasse forward (RLR)

When you do this step to the side, the chasse' step is either done with one foot crossed over the other, or you turn your body to chasse' in a forward motion.

One interesting aspect of the Cha-cha step is how it is defined in different dance disciplines. In common use, it is "Rock-Recover-Chasse' but when it is used in professional dance disciplines, it is "Chasse'-Rock-Recover."

So whenever you encounter this fun step, watch to see which way it is being used, and enjoy!

(Oh, and there is more to the "mambo step" story - that's for next time! Happy Dancing!)