Smooth vs Latin
by Rey & Sherry Garza
in dancing includes adding more dance rhythms, steps, and techniques.
Understanding the similarities and differences among the rhythms is
the beginning step. If you were asked, “What are the differences
between Smooth and Latin rhythms?” you would be able to recite
quite a list, but what about the similarities? Let's look briefly at
various Smooth and Latin rhythms and consider some of the
similarities and differences.
Foxtrot Quickstep Tango Waltz
Signature: 4/ 4 4/ 4 2/ 4 3/4 Beats per bar
Tempo 30 50 33/34 30 Bars
Beats One and three for FT or Qs. Equal on each beat for TG. One for
Cha Jive Paso Doble Rumba Samba
Signature: 4/ 4 4/ 4 2/ 4 4/4 2/4 Beats per bar
Tempo 30/32 42/44
60/62 27/29 52/54 Bars per min.
Beats One for CH and PD. Two and four for JV. Four for RB. Two for
(on dance floor) --
rhythms do travel, and many of the Latins are consider stationary
(Rumba, Cha Cha, and Jive). Paso Doble and Samba do travel.
Ball flat for most figures except for a few figures in Paso Doble
where there are ball and heel leads. For instance, “Chasse L or R”
are danced on the balls of the feet. The Basic is danced on the balls
of the feet as well, but it can also be danced on the toes or flat.
Partners are bodies touching and both looking left.
Partners use hand holds and look at each other, but there are figures
you can dance in close position with bodies six inches apart the look
Man is standing up straight with knees slightly flexed; don’t lock
your knees. Body is inclined slightly forward, but not the upper
body. Lady is same as Man except she would be poised backwards from
the waist up.
Stand with feet together in a relaxed and normal manner. The weighted
foot will be straight; the other foot will be flexed.
Distribution of weight is between the feet. When taking forward or
back steps there will be two points of balance, i.e. heel of the left
foot and the ball of the right foot, but not when dancing tango.
Transfer full weight keeping weight towards the ball of the foot.
There will be pelvic action during the transfer of weight which does
not exist in the Smooth rhythms.
Body Movement (CBM) --
body action used to initiate turn. It is the moving of the opposite
side of the body towards the stepping foot, either forward or back.
This action will be strongest on natural and reverse pivots. When
stepping forward using CBM the toe will turn out slightly. When
stepping back the toe will turn in. CBM (and CMBP) is mostly used in
Smooth rhythms and in some figures in Paso Doble.
Body Movement Position (CBMP) --
placing of the stepping foot whether forward or back, across the line
of the other foot, giving the appearance of CBM having been used
without turning the body. CBMP is used on all BJO steps except on
step 2 of Fishtail, to ensure a good line and contact. CBMP can be
used when in line with partner for example the following step after
Change Of Direction in foxtrot and all normal left-foot-forward steps
in tango. Forward and across in CBMP means that the moving foot
travels more across the line of the other foot. This applies to steps
in semi-closed position only.
From clinic notes prepared for the ROUNDALAB Convention, 2013, and
in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC)
Newsletter, October 2015.
If you would like to read other articles on dance
position, technique, styling, and specific dance rhythms, you may visit
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Past DRDC Educational Articles archived here.
Aditional articles and dance helps by
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