Dance Styles

Short Description
Modern Jive (Modern Jive)
Street Latin (Salsa, Rueda, and Merengue)
Ballroom (Cha Cha Cha, Rumba, Jive/Swing, Tango, Foxtrot, Waltz, and New Vogue)
Hip Hop (Hip Hop dance technique originated in America)
Special Workshops (Various Styles: West Coast Swing, Argentine Tango Belly Dancing, Zouk and Soca)

Modern Jive

Modern Jive is usually danced to modern dance music in nightclubs, at formals, balls, restaurants or even cafes. The American GIs at the end of World War II first introduced it into France. Since the early 80s it has developed its own unique style which can be described as "a trendy blend of jive, salsa, tango, rock and roll and dirty dancing, done mainly to modern music" which is great fun and really easy to learn.

It's also a fantastic way to keep fit and a very sociable way to spend an evening. Any music that has a strong beat and a reasonably fast tempo can be used. Modern jive is the most popular partner dance here in Australia, New Zealand and in Europe.

Great fun, social, easy to learn, fantastic for fitness, no need to bring a partner!



Street Latin

Street Latin is the term used to describe a group of dances with Latin origins that are popularly danced on social occasions, including in nightclubs.


Salsa is one such dance. The name of this exciting dance is an abbreviation of the Spanish  ‘ Echale salsita' meaning to spice it up!  Since the early 50s, the music of Cuba has become inextricably mixed with the musical variations of Puerto Rico and American Jazz.  Puerto Rico continues to be a major source of Salsa music and the influence from Columbia is also easy to see.

Salsa is danced in 4/4 time.  Once you have learned to separate the underlying beat from the rattle of maracas, it is hard to ignore the rhythm. Couples do not travel around the floor but rotate and turn in their own space.


Rueda de Casino is an exhilarating style of salsa. In a Rueda, (the Spanish word for ‘wheel') two or more couples get together and form a circle. The leader of the Rueda calls commands and the couples respond by performing the called salsa moves simultaneously.
Rueda de Casino takes its name from the club, 'El Casino Deportivo', where it originated. In the 1950s many great dancers gathered there for friendly competitions. They would practice all week to invent new moves and go to the club to show them off. Sooner or later they began to dance the moves together. In order to keep a distinction between one move and another, they began naming them and Rueda de Casino was born.

As a result of the Castro regime, many Cubans immigrated to the US, a large portion of which to the Miami area. With them they took their culture including various foods, music and dancing. Rueda de Casino began to slowly make its way into the Miami salsa community and in the late 1980s and early 1990s it experienced an enormous explosion of popularity.


Merengue  (pronounced mair-en-gay ) comes from the Dominican Republic in the Carribean.  The mood of the merengue reflects a holiday atmosphere with lively music and a festive feel.  The merengue beat is a strong one-two rhythm, which is interpreted as two dance steps in 2/4 time (two beats to each bar).  Basically, if you can walk, you can merengue!


Hip Hop

Hip Hop dance technique originated in America around the mid 1980's when the Breakdancing craze arose and became a ligitimate style of dance.
Mixing Breakdancing from the 80's with Jazz-Modern Dance from 1990's resulted in what we now as Hip Hop. Also can be called Street Funk, Street Dance, Breakdance and Fresh Funk. Today, Hip Hop is one of the most recognized styles of Dance seen around the world.

Hip Hop is very versatile, incorporating many of the steps that were derived from other genres, as well as using influences from around the world. For example, South American moves that are slow and sensual, adapting moves from their self defence Capoeria, Asian influences originating from fighting techniques and spinning martial arts, Egyptian body shapes and static poses, Carribean hip sways and flowing movements can also be recognised.

Hip hop originally was performed and danced by friends on the street in a circle, with each person having a turn in the centre, showing off their trademark or favourite moves. Today it can be danced individually, in a group unison format, in circles, or as a partner dance.

Many well known dance steps fall under the Hip Hop category, from Michael Jackson's moonwalk, MC Hammer's running man, the 80's influenced helicopter and head spin, the list goes on..

Today's music recording artists rely heavily on dance for their video clips, with Hip Hop being one of the main styles that is widely recognised for it's dynamic and exciting to watch routines, and with such an array new sub styles emerging it continues to expand in popularity, evolving with new steps everyday.

A few examples of dance that come under the bigger heading Hip Hop
include: B-Boy Fly girl dance battles, Stepping done in groups competing against each other, slow smooth and sensual dance with urban R'n'B style music, upbeat and energetic Top 40 music video clip moves incorporating today's nightclub and social dance areas, egyptian and robotic style of bending arms/legs to static shapes and staccato movements, popping and
locking- sharp to the beat and freeze/hold steps, as well and the new craze sweeping the world originating in urban american streets, krumping (using the body from the core to carry the vibrating movement to specific areas like the chest/arm/legs/etc).

Hip Hop classes will cover two or three different sub categories each class, to give a broad spectrum of steps and moves to whip out whenever you hear a funky street beat. Amaze your friends by popping and locking , better still, bring them along, jump around and get DOWN!



Ballroom dancing is used to describe a variety of different dances.  At Gaby's Dance Studio, we teach the basics of the Latin-American dances,  international partner dances  and American-style variations.  The aim is for you to learn the basic steps and be up and on the dance floor as soon as possible.  The image of ballroom dancing has perhaps suffered over the years, but it is often the occasion and the actual music which defines how formal or informal the dance becomes.

Cha Cha Cha

The Cha Cha Cha, originating in Cuba, is one of the most popular Latin-American dances.  Similar to both the Rumba and Mambo, the Cha Cha Cha  is danced to 4/4 time.  The name itself comes from the splitting of the fourth beat of the music, to give it that unmistakable and catchy ‘cha cha cha' rhythm.  The character of the dance, like the music, is vibrant, flamboyant and playful, giving its dancers a unique sense of fun.  Music ranges from the more traditional latin music to quite modern dance tunes.  The main thing is to enjoy the dance's freshness and vigour!


Although we tend to think of the Jive as originating in the 50s, the dance actually started to emerge more than two decades earlier.  During the 20s such dances as the Turkey Trot and the Charleston developed and other dances emerged from these as the moves got wilder and the music got faster.  The Texas Tommy or Breakaway developed where couples moved apart and came back together again.  When Charles Lindenberg piloted his famous solo flight across the Atlantic, the dance known as Lindy-Hop was named in his honour.  Other variations which have emerged over time include the Jitterbug, the West Coast Swing, the American Swing and Rock'n' Roll.  The common element amongst all of these guises of this style of dance is the distinctive carefree character of the six beat musical rhythm.


The Rumba often called the dance of love has music with a slow, pulsating rhythm.  The music is in 4/4 time with a fairly slow tempo.  In the 18 th and 19 th centuries a large family of dances developed in Cuba and other Spanish Caribbean countries. The inspiration for these dances almost certainly comes from a variety of sources – the native Indians in North America, Chile in South America, Spain and ritual dances from Africa. In the Cuban tradition, the verb ‘ rumbiar ' simply means to dance and “Rumba” is a generic term which can refer to a variety of dances.  In the Spanish-speaking world the Rumba to which we now refer is often known as the “Bolero-Rumba”.   When American jazz came to Cuba in the 20s, the Square Rumba became popular. This version has a more compact close-hold style. Ten years later, the Cuban Rumba was introduced to Londoners.  This was danced in a more open hold, enabling a more dynamic approach and greater fluency in the dance.  By the 1990s, the international-style Rumba reached new heights in competitions.


The Tango originated in the back street cafes of Buenos Aires.  Its history is rich with legend, romance and nostalgic reminiscence.  Tango is a supremely sensual dance that captures the full gamut of human emotion, hope, disappointment and life itself.  The dance has developed over time and many variations have resulted.  The original tango, known as the Argentine Tango, is a one-off dance with no strict rhythm.  Comparisons with other dances are therefore meaningless.   It is a smooth and sensuous dance meant to be danced by two people for each other rather than for performance.  The more familiar Modern Tango with its staccato interpretation is now established as one of the standard dances in competition.  The infamous head-flicks have become the established style, but these are not necessary just to enjoy dancing the Modern Tango for the fun and pleasure it can bring.

Slow Rhythm / Foxtrot

This dance allegedly owes its existence to the American comedian, Harry Fox, who worked the burlesque theatres just prior to World War One.  At that time, regulations prohibited semi-clad females from moving on stage.  They therefore had to remain in fixed poses.  Fox hit on the idea of performing a little dance movement around these women. The music industry soon promoted the music and steps as the ‘foxtrot”.  It consists of a slow walk taking two beats of music and a series of quick steps or trots.   The foxtrot provides an easily repeatable basic movement that first-time dancers can enjoy.  You can dance the foxtrot to almost any tune with a 2/4 or 4/4 time.  The tempo will vary according to the particular style of music.  The Slow Foxtrot, as its name suggests, is a slower version of the Foxtrot.  The quicker version of the Foxtrot evolved into the Quickstep.


The Waltz is one of the favourite dances of all time.  It is a dance that has adapted over the course of its two century history.  It started life at the end of the eighteenth century as an Austro-German folk dance called the Landler.  In the early years of the nineteenth century, the waltz took the controversial step of adopting a hold in which the man's right hand was around the woman's waist.  A great debate developed about the dubious morality of the dance but it gained the seal of approval when the Russian Czar was seen openly dancing the waltz.  The enormous popularity of the Viennese Waltz composed by Strauss sealed its popularity by the end of the 19 th century.  By the time of the First World War, people were looking for a more natural, less stylised way of dancing the waltz.  By 1921, there was great concern about the decline of the waltz due to the war and the confusion arising out of lack of standard technique.  From this developed the Modern Waltz.   It came to symbolise romance, grace and elegance.  The ability to waltz also gives the dancer the ability to participate in a variety of other dance forms.

New Vogue (Ballroom) Progressive Dancing

New Vogue is a uniquely Australian style of modern Ballroom dancing.  There are over 150 different dances to learn, ranging from progressive jive to progressive rumba.  But have no fear - they are simple sequences of moves which are very easy and excellent fun!  New Vogue progressive dancing at GDS is done to modern music.


Special Workshops:

West Coast Swing

Swing Dancing is defined as any combined form of "triple, triple, double" steps including "syncopated" triple steps. As a result there are many different "forms" of Swing Dancing with as many different names: East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, Shag, Bop, Imperial Swing, Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, Jive, Pony, etc. Hustle, done by many Swing Dance enthusiasts to Disco music and also known as a Latin "street-Swing" dance, does not fit into the traditional triple-triple-double definition and so is not technically considered a Swing Dance.

Originally Swing was done to the hip new Big Band music of it's era and included exciting lifts and drops. The most advanced form of Swing Dancing, the place Swing Dancing has evolved to, is West Coast Swing which was originally popularised during the hip new Blues music of it's era. It can also contain many lifts and drops, though rarely done on the social dance floor.

Zouk and Soca

Zouk and Soca are forms of Latin dancing that allow you to be part of the dancing in any carnival atmosphere throughout the world.  These dance forms are heavily influenced by the rhythms of South America and the Caribbean, with overtones of basic African beats, resulting in an earthy and sensual feel in the dancing.  This workshop will enable you to experience the feel of music whilst developing a style which involves loose hip movements.  This should help with other dances, including Latin and Street Latin.

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