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Dances Taught at the UDC:

Cuban Salsa (its original name is Casino as the term salsa when referring to Latin style dancing was coined in the United States) is a type of Salsa from Cuba that is danced all over the world in Salsa clubs in an improvised style. Cuban salsa started in the 1950s from influences from traditional Cuban dances Like Rumba, Guaguaco, and Cuban Son. Cuban Salsa is a relaxed style of salsa truly invented for social dancing. It’s fast paced, with lots of complex footwork, hip and body movements, and turn patterns that allow for lots of musicality and creativity. It is danced in a circular motion creating a flow and connection between the partners. Because in this style there is less spinning and more walking style steps, Cuban Salsa is accessible to all ages and abilities and is easier to dance on a crowded dance floor! This style is fun, smooth, intimate, surprising.


The Los Angeles Salsa Style (LA style) is danced strictly on 1, in a slot line, using elements of various North American and stage dances. This helps prevent dancers from hitting other couples on a crowded dance floor. It is strongly influenced by the Latin Hustle, Swing, Argentine Tango, Mambo dancers from Mexico and Latin Ballroom dancing styles. LA style places strong emphasis on sensuousness, theatricality and acrobatics. The lifts, stunts and aerial works of today's salsa shows are derived mostly from LA style forms with origins in Latin Ballroom and Ballet lifts.

Rogelio Moreno, Francisco and Luis Vazquez are credited for the early development and growth of LA Style as well as Albert Torres, Laura Canellias and Joe Cassiniare. Later dancers such as Edie Lewis, Joby Martinez, Josie Neglia, and Johnny Vazquez are often credited with developing the LA style of dancing as we know it today.


Rueda de casino is a circle of couples dancing Cuban salsa figures, to the commands of a caller in the circle.

Whenever the callers calls a command, all the couples start dancing the named figure at the same time. Most of the commands include come couple dancing and a partner change, but various formations can also be used in the circle. Rueda de Casino litterally means “casino wheel“ and it is a Cuban dance tradition that originated in Havana in the late 50s/early 60s. Today the dance is danced all over the world.


Bachata is a social dance from the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean. The basic dance sequence is performed in a full 8-count moving within a square, consisting of three steps and then a tap or various forms of step syncopations (such as the "double step"). The tap is done on the opposite foot of the last step, while the next step is taken on the same foot as the tap. The dance direction may change after the tap or fourth step.

From the late 1990's and onward, dancers in the Western world started creating novel dance forms inspired by bachata music. The most well-known example of this is the made-up basic step commonly referred to as the "side to sidestep", which is sometimes accompanied by an exaggerated "pop” of the hips during the tap. These novel western dance forms were mostly created copying dance moves from other partner dances of various origins, Latin and non-Latin alike. Many such dances exist today, with the first of these often referred to as Western "traditional".


The origins of kizomba can be traced to late-1970s Africa, with influences variably attributed to Angola Kizomba is characterized by a slower, romantic, more sensuous rhythm than the traditional Angolan semba dance. Kizomba music emerged as a more modern music genre with a sensual touch mixed with African rhythm and Haitian Kompas. Most kizomba songs are sung in Portuguese.

Semba has been danced in the 1950s in Angola. In the 1990s, when the actual kizomba music got more and more popular, Angolan semba dancers started to adapt their semba steps according to the tempo and flavor of the Kizomba beats. The Kizomba dance is a couple dance from which many styles such as, tarraxinha and Urban Kiz derived from.

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