Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rumba /Salsa combo! Beginners

I'm teaching Alexis and Kerry, in only 3 lessons, a beautiful Rumba /Salsa combo for the wedding next week!

Peter Jones
And check us out on Facebook or Twitter

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dancing together is truly a beautiful, fulfilling experience. It is a perfect metaphor for any couple, especially a couple getting married, as in the learning how to do it, whether its Latin, Ballroom or Rhythm dance, its all about give and take, the constant flow of communication, creating a beautiful unity.

Peter Jones
And check us out on Facebook or Twitter

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Rumba - the most useful dance to learn. Some history

Continuing my series of blogs about current social dances, their origins, etc....

The rumba is my default social dance, a box step in 4/4 time, that while primarily a slow Latin dance, can be done to many different styles and tempos of music. It will be the dance you use more than any other when you go dancing.

 Some background and a brief rumba history!

Rumba's two primary sources are Spanish and African, and it developed primarily in Cuba.
The "rumba influence" came in the 16th century with African slaves. The native Rumba folk dance is essentially a sex pantomime danced fast with exaggerated hip movements, the man's sensually aggressive attitude countered by a defensive one on the part of the woman.

As recently as the second world war, the "Son," a modified, slower and more refined version of the native Rumba. Very small steps are taken, with the women producing a very subtle tilting of the hips, alternately bending and straightening the knees.

The American Rumba is a modified version of the "Son", and while the first serious attempt to introduce the Rumba to the United States was by Lew Quinn and Joan Sawyer in 1913, real interest in Latin music didn't begin until the late 1920's when Xavier Cugat formed an orchestra that specialized in Latin American music.

In 1935, George Raft played the part of a suave dancer in the movie "Rumba", a light weight musical where the hero finally wins the heiress (Carol Lombard) through a mutual love of dancing.

In Europe, the introduction of Latin American dancing (Rumba in particular) owed much to the enthusiasm and interpretive ability of Monsieur Pierre (London's leading teacher in this dance form). In the 1930's he and his partner, Doris Lavelle, demonstrated and popularized Latin American dancing. Pierre and Lavelle introduced the true "Cuban Rumba" which was eventually established, after much contention, as the official version in 1955.

Rumba is the heart and soul of Latin American dance and music, and it's fascinating rhythms and bodily expressions make the Rumba one of the most popular ballroom dances.

Peter Jones
And check us out on Facebook or Twitter

Friday, January 4, 2013


Took the day off yesterday taking care of my sick little boy  :-(
Back tonight with 3 new couples! Happy New Year!
(Last days for post Xmas special -

Peter Jones
And check us out on Facebook or Twitter

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How do you do a Foxtrot?

Foxtrot is a casually elegant dance invented sometime between 1910-1914 by  Harry Foxvaudeville dancer and comedian. For social dance purposes, the Foxtrot, as it is currently done, is a travelling dance... that is, a dance which moves around the dance floor -- as opposed to a "Spot" dance, a dance which stay in one place.

1. The Leader takes a step Forward: (walk forward with the left foot);
2. Then steps Forward with the right foot
3. Place your left foot to the Side with a small step
4. Close your right foot to left, transferring weight to right foot.
The Follower takes the same steps, moving backwards, starting with the Right foot.

You often dance the Foxtrot to standards such as The Way You Look Tonight, Fly Me to the Moon, etc, but you also use it in contemporary songs.

(We can talk about the Rhythm pattern - 4 steps in 6 beats of music, and various styling a little more later, but that's it, basically.)

It isn't complicated:  just walk two steps, take a small step to the side, and close your feet together with the 4th step! (Animation of the above step.)

(Compared with today's standards, the original Foxtrot was moderately fast, simple and unrefined. It was the rise to fame of  Vernon and Irene Castle's exhibition dances that led the elite of the dance world to try to capture the fox-trot's unusual style of movement, but it wasn't until the early 30's that Foxtrot began to take on the smoother and more flowing quality we recognize in today's dance.)

Peter Jones
And check us out on Facebook or Twitter

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Social v. International Style dance

Partner social dancing, whether Standard Ballroom dances like Waltz or Foxtrot, Latin styles such as Rumba, Salsa/Mambo, Meringue or Tango, or Swing and all its variants is most importantly about communication, consideration and respect between to people.

American or Social style dancing is different from International Style, used primarily in competitions culminating in the World Championships at Blackpool England.

They are totally different worlds: one social, relatively relaxed dancing and the other the more rigorous and precise styling required by competitive standards.. I teach American style, primarily with wedding couples in mind.

Peter Jones
And check us out on Facebook or Twitter

Anna & Rad

Anna and Rad had a little experience, so I was able to choreograph a beautiful waltz! They took the choreo and made it their own in really quite a beautiful dance to a great rock standard!

Peter Jones
And check us out on Facebook or Twitter

Fiona and Wilson's amazing First Dance

I put together a dynamic wedding dance for Fiona and Wilson as a highlight in their incredible Reception. Fiona and Wilson are a great couple who love to have fun. They wanted a mellow intro then to break into a Broadway Show-style dance. I choreographed the first part as a more traditional first dance, then directed a fun, upbeat Bob Fosse-style dance as a great surprise to their guests  As you will see it turned out fantastic and both Fiona and Wilson clearly had a great time!
(The "surprise" Fosse choreography kicks in at ~ 3:30!)

(The original Bob Fosse Choreography: below)

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a healthy and prosperous new year!

Peter Jones

And check us out on Facebook or Twitter