Friday, June 28, 2024

A List of American popular social dances with a slow-quick-quick two-step rhythm, arranged from the slowest to the fastest tempo, including a beats per minute (BPM) range for each dance

1. Nightclub Two-Step

Tempo: Slow (60-70 BPM) Character: Nightclub Two-Step is smooth and flowing, often danced to contemporary ballads, emphasizing long, sweeping movements and a relaxed, romantic feel. Similarities: Like Tango and West Coast Swing, it focuses on smooth and controlled movements. Differences: It is slower and more flowing compared to the more rhythmically intricate dances like West Coast Swing and East Coast Swing.

2. Foxtrot

Tempo: Slow to Moderate. Foxtrot (120-136 BPM), Faster Foxtrot (145- 170bpm).  Character: Foxtrot is elegant and smooth, with continuous, flowing motion. It is characterized by long, gliding steps and a distinctive rise and fall. Similarities: Shares smooth, flowing movements with Nightclub Two-Step. Differences: More structured and formal, with a characteristic rise and fall that is not present in Nightclub Two-Step or Tango.

3. West Coast Swing

Tempo: Moderate to Fast (100-125 BPM) Character: West Coast Swing is versatile and smooth, with a distinctive elastic look. It is often danced to blues, R&B, and contemporary pop music. It features slot dancing, where the follower moves back and forth in a straight line. Similarities: Shares smooth, controlled movements with Nightclub Two-Step and Tango. Differences: More rhythmically intricate and playful, with a slot dancing style that distinguishes it from the more open styles of Foxtrot and Nightclub Two-Step.

4. East Coast Swing

Tempo: Moderate to Fast (136-144 BPM) Character: East Coast Swing is lively and upbeat, characterized by a bouncy feel and a lot of turns and spins. It is often danced to rock and roll, big band, and swing music. Similarities: Shares a playful and energetic feel with West Coast Swing. Differences: The bouncy and energetic nature of East Coast Swing contrasts with the smoother, more controlled style of West Coast Swing.

5. Milonga

Tempo: Fast (100-130 BPM) Character: Milonga is lively and playful, often considered the faster, more rhythmic cousin of Tango. It features quick steps and a lot of rhythmic play. Similarities: Shares the close connection and some steps with Tango. Differences: Faster and more rhythmic, with less emphasis on the dramatic, staccato movements of Tango.

6. Charleston

Tempo: Fast (200-300 BPM) Character: Charleston is energetic and exuberant, characterized by its distinctive kick steps and swinging arms. It originated in the 1920s and is often danced to jazz music. Similarities: Shares an upbeat and lively character with East Coast Swing. Differences: The kick steps and exuberant style of Charleston set it apart from the more partner-focused East Coast Swing.

7. Balboa

Tempo: Fastest (180-250 BPM) Character: Balboa is a fast-paced and smooth dance that originated in Southern California. It is characterized by its close hold and intricate footwork, often danced to fast swing music. Similarities: Like Charleston, it is danced to fast music and has a lively character. Differences: The close hold and intricate footwork of Balboa make it distinct from the more open and exuberant style of Charleston.

Summary of Similarities and Differences:

  • Similarities: All these dances share a slow-quick-quick rhythm and involve partner connection, smooth movements, and a blend of rhythm and fluidity.
  • Differences: Their tempos vary significantly, influencing the dance's energy and complexity. Nightclub Two-Step, Foxtrot, and Tango are slower and more controlled, focusing on smooth and connected movements. West Coast Swing and East Coast Swing blend rhythm and playfulness with moderate to fast tempos. Milonga, Charleston, and Balboa are faster and more energetic, each with unique stylistic elements that set them apart from the others.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

What is Casual Ballroom at Portland Dance Eclectic

At Dance Eclectic, Casual Ballroom is designed to create an atmosphere of openness and freedom, encouraging dancers to craft their own unique experiences. Casual Ballroom combines the elegance and structure of traditional partner dances with the laid-back, inclusive, and joyful atmosphere that defines our community. Here’s a detailed breakdown:

Elements of Casual Ballroom:

Inclusivity and Accessibility:

Open to All Levels: Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced dancer, Casual Ballroom welcomes everyone. There’s no pressure to perform at a high level; the focus is on enjoying the dance and the community.

Variety of Dances: Our sessions include Waltz, Swing, Blues, Latin, Ballroom, and Argentine Tango, offering a mix of tempos and styles to suit different preferences and moods.

Relaxed Atmosphere:

Casual Dress and Good Hygiene: Comfortable and expressive attire is encouraged, allowing dancers to feel at ease and authentic.

Proper Etiquette: Emphasizes good etiquette both on the dance floor and in person-to-person interactions, ensuring a respectful and pleasant environment.

Social Interaction: Highlights the social aspect of dancing, encouraging mingling, conversation, and building connections among dancers.

Exploration and Freedom:

Improvisation: Encourages improvisation and personal expression within the dances, allowing dancers to explore and play with the music and their movements.

Fusion of Styles: Promotes blending elements from different dances, creating a unique and eclectic experience that reflects the diverse tastes of the community.

Community and Joy:

Friendly and Supportive Environment: Fosters a sense of community where dancers support and encourage each other, creating a positive and uplifting atmosphere.

Joy of Dance: Prioritizes the joy and fun of dancing over technical perfection, ensuring that every dance night is a memorable and enjoyable experience.

Music Played at Casual Ballroom Dances:

Swing: Energetic and upbeat, perfect for those who enjoy lively music and playful movements.

Blues: Smooth and expressive, offering a chance to connect deeply with the music and your partner.

Waltz: Graceful and flowing, ideal for those who appreciate the beauty of classic ballroom.

Argentine Tango.  is passionate and intricate, allowing dancers to explore intense musicality and deep connection. Most of the Tango music played will be Alternative Tango, featuring non-traditional tracks that can be danced in various styles beyond classic tango. This encourages creative expression and versatility on the dance floor.

Latin Two-Steps: Including Nightclub Two-Step and Tango, offering a variety of rhythms and styles.

By blending these elements, Dance Eclectic’s Casual Ballroom creates a unique dance experience that is both sophisticated and accessible, offering a space where everyone can feel inspired to express themselves through dance.

Here are the typical steps per minute (SPM) for various activities, from walking at different paces to more dynamic activities like running, and social dancing

The tempo of the music greatly influences the style of dance that can be performed. By comparing dance tempos to the tempo of various walking styles, it's clear why many dances have a sweet spot in the 115 to 140 beats per minute (BPM) range. For example, two steps can be translated into steps per minute (SPM) using the formula: SPM = 1.5 x BPM. It's an interesting concept to consider.


1. Good Pace

   Steps per Minute: 90-100 SPM

   Description: A leisurely walk, often for relaxation or casual conversation.

2. Normal Pace:

   Steps per Minute: 100-120 SPM

   Description: Average walking speed, comfortable and sustainable for most people.

3. Brisk Pace:

   Steps per Minute: 120-140 SPM

   Description: A faster walking pace, typically for exercise or when in a hurry.

Jogging and Running

4. Jogging:

   Steps per Minute: 140-170 SPM

   Description: A light run, faster than walking but not as intense as running.

5. Running:

  Steps per Minute: 170-200+ SPM

   Description: A faster and more intense pace than jogging, often for more serious exercise or competition.


6. Marching:

   Steps per Minute: 120-140 SPM

   Description: A consistent and rhythmic pace, often used in military or parade contexts.

Sports and Dancing

7. Playing Tennis:

   Steps per Minute: 90-120 SPM (variable)

   Description: Includes bursts of activity and movement in various directions, not continuous.

8. Social Basketball Game:

   Steps per Minute: 100-130 SPM (variable)

   Description: Includes periods of high activity with quick sprints and slower movements during gameplay.

9. Dancing at Portland Dance Eclectic:

   Steps per Minute 115-145 SPM (variable)

    Description: Continuous movement to the beat of the music, For waltz, Steps per minute equals Beats per minute. The waltz style is the Cross Step Waltz taught by Uwe and Colleen.

These ranges provide a general idea of the step rates for various activities. The exact number of steps per minute can vary based on individual pace, fitness level, and the specific nature of the activity.