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The Rumba

The “Dance of Romance” grew from a combination of popular Cuban dances and has a strong African influence. The rural Rumba was originally danced as an imitation of movements done by animals engaged in courtship rituals. By the time it was introduced to America in the 1930’s it had become a slow, serious, romantic dance with flirtation between the strong, male lover and coy, teasing woman. The Rumba is characterized by smooth, subtle hip motion. It remains one of the most popular partnership dances of all time. 

The Cha Cha

Havana Cuba was a popular resort area for American vacationers in the 40’s. Cuban music and American jazz combined to produce Mambo and ultimately the Cha Cha. The name comes from Cuban musicians chanting “Cha Cha Cha” to the compelling triple rhythm. The Cha Cha is so much an “on the beat” dance that dancers cannot help but inject feeling into it. It is a dance that is energetic, full of fun, and a bit cheeky.

The East Coast Swing

The Swing is one of the only dances created in the United States. Because of this, its history is more clearly defined than some of the other dances originating from remote folk dances. The Swing was first experienced as a highly energetic (even acrobatic) dance to the most popular music of the 20’s and 30’s. The Swing has its roots in American jazz and later American Rock and Roll. Throughout the years Swing has adopted many names and changes of style across the United States. The modern East Coast Swing more resembles the Swing danced in the 50’s and has been simplified, making it safe to dance in a relatively small area.

The Mambo

The Mambo originated in Cuba but is believed to have some voodoo (Haitian/African) influence at its roots. “Mambo” is a Haitian Creole word for a voodoo priestess. The Mambo was brought to the United States around 1940 and its advancement in popularity can be credited almost entirely to one man: Perez Prado. He is the famous composer of “Mambo Jambo” and “Mambo No. 5.” The Mambo and Salsa use very similar patterns, but the Mambo is always danced on the “2” making the timing exciting and challenging.

The Bolero

Bolero was originally a Spanish dance written in ¾ time. However, it is now danced to a very slow type of Rumba in 4/4 time. All objectionable parts have been taken out of the dance leaving only grace and beauty. It is the only rhythm dance to use rise and fall of the body rather than Cuban hip motion. It is a dreamy, smooth and powerful dance often referred to as the “Dance of Love.”  

And More!

Melissa is also certified in the following alternate, but equally popular, dances:

West Coast Swing, Swing Hustle, Salsa, Paso Doble, Merengue, Samba, and Argentine Tango.

She has experience in teaching the: Quickstep, Two Step, Polka, Lindy Hop, Jive, Night Club Two Step, and Slow Dance.