In this article I’ll be exploring the 5 best dances to learn for partner dancing.
As of this moment we have lessons for 18 Ballroom dances available here on passion4dancing.com. We cover all the major styles including: American style, International style, as well as Club dance style.
While we consider Cha Cha, Rumba, Swing, Salsa, Foxtrot, Tango, Waltz and Merengue to be the core dances for Latin and Ballroom dancing, it may be overwhelming to start learning so many dances at the same time.
I recommend for beginners to start with 3-5 dances at most. Then later you can expand!
I will dive into why these are the best dances to learn for social dancing in a second but let me address the other dances that I didn’t include.
Some of the other dances like the Samba, Merengue, Waltz, Tango tend to need special type of music that is not played in most social dance situations… Of course in specific places like Latin nightclubs you will get tons of Merengue and Bachata songs playing, but in most house parties, weddings and other events the music will rarely fit those dances.
The same goes for Waltz and Tango. Waltz, while a beautiful dance has a special music structure which is 3/4 – And many songs are simply not structured in this way. And Tango is also a little bit more specialized. It would be danced in places like Milongas (Argentinian Tango dance practices) and Ballroom dance parties, but Tango music is not usually played in most social events.
Let’s take a closer look as to why starting with the Rumba, Foxtrot, Swing, Cha Cha and Salsa makes the most sense for most people.
Firstly, all of these 5 dances use a 4/4 musical structure, and I am not a music expert but I know enough to understand that all it means is that MOST of the songs that you hear on the radio today will fit them. So yes, you can pretty much bet that one of these 5 dances will fit many popular songs at any social event.
Secondly, these dances will fit in character and style to many of the songs that would be played at weddings, parties and any other mainstream social events.
Let’s look at which dance to use when with some song examples.You can dance the Rumba to almost any pop song that comes on. Since the Rumba is more grounded and has lots of hip movement, it would fit many of the R&B songs. This dance is good to do if you are limited in space since it doesn’t take up that much space. Try “The box step” next time a John Legend song comes on.
Songs that fit the Rumba:
John Legend – Save room
Ingrid Michaelson – The way I am
Songs that fit Foxtrot:
Frank Sinatra – New York, New York
Jack Johnson – Banana Pancakes
Songs that fit Swing:
Bob Seger – Old Time Rock and Roll
Walk The Moon – Shut Up and Dance
Songs that fit Cha Cha:
Marc Anthony – I need to know
Santana – Smooth
Songs that fit Salsa:
Enrique Iglesias – Bailando
Luis Fonsi – Despacito
Pro Tip: Many of these dances can fit the same songs… So it is up to you to decide which dance you’d like to do. You should weigh’ different factors like: The character of the song, How slow/fast it is, and how much space you have!
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