Dance Fusion Performing Arts Studio 

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Parent/Student Handbook


Why We Dance
Arts Improve Grades
Dance Poetry
And Hip Hop Was Born
Dance Dads
Pointe Shoe Ribbon Guide
Making Pointe Work
Eating for Performance
The Importance of Water
Recital A-Z
Stage Makeup
Overcoming Stage Fright
Competition Tips
Concert Etiquette
The Roots of Tap
Sea of Tutus
Split Tips
The Turnout
The Arabesque



Social Dance Glossary
Tap Dance Terminology
Jazz Dance Terminology
Ballet Terminology


Dance Mom’s






































































































































































































































































Social Dance Glossary A to Z____________________________


Absolute Pattern: A basic pattern that is danced individually. A great way to learn before you partner up!

Active Connection: This is when the "leader" initiates the pattern.

Adjusted Pattern: When you add a partner then it becomes an adjusted pattern. You have to learn the "adjustments" to make after you learn the dance on your own - when you add a partner.

Alegrias: This is a very old Spanish dance categorized in Flamenco. It imitates the movements of a bull fight and is done individually by a woman.

American Rhythm:A type of "Latin American" dance that is mostly done in USA competitions.

American Smooth: This type of dancing allows "open work" which means the pair can separate while competing or dancing.

Anchor: Usually regarding swing, the "anchor" is the finale rhythm measure and it dictates which position the dancers will end with.

Argentinian Tango: This dance actually originated in Africa! But it spread like wild fire to South America, Europe and America in the early 1900's. The tango is a very sensual and firey dance!

Back Break Turn: This is a 180 degree turn or half turn done with a partner which stops you abrupty since you are connected with someone at the arms. It's a resistance when you hit the half way point.

Balboa: A fast tempo swing dance.

Ball Change: A basic dance step which uses the exchange of weight from the ball of one foot to the flat of the other in a rocking “waltzy” fashion.

Ballroom dancing: A traditional category of dance including most social dance types we see today in the couples competitions.

Bamba: An old folklore dance from Mexico which is about two lovers dancing on a sash that ties together by the process...

Black Bottom: This original New York made dance was created in the 20s in the era of the Charleston. This couple dance consisted of a shuffle, knee sway and stomps which originated with African American folk.

Blank Rhythm: This is a rhythm void of weight changing.

Body Flight: This is more of a concept than a step or type of dance. It is the notion that a dancer or group of dancers are consumed with the movement and music and find a spiritual level in their performance or movement.

Bolero: This dance originated in Spain and evolved in Cuba. It currently is a very slow rhythm - kind of like a Rumba.

Boogie Woogie: This is a type of jazz dance coined by African American dancers which has been adopted into many mainstream dances today.

Boston Jive: A type of swing dance like Lindy but with added kicks.

Bossa Nova: A dance from the 60s that is like a slow Samba. This dance was born out of the fusion of Jazz and Brazilian music.

Break: This means to change direction.

Break Ending: An end to a specific dance, can be a type of "encore" movement.

Break Turn (AKA: Military Turn): This is when the dancer takes 2 steps (or a ball-change) and a half turn between the steps of a dance.

Bunny Hop: Sort of like a "conga" with more jumps rather then a kick at the end of each section.

Calypso: This was a dance born of a very popular era in music which came from England in the 50s. It has a resemblance to Bolero.

Can Can: From France in the 1800s, this dance included women who kicked their legs into the air wearing corsetted tops and full skirts.

C-Frame: The body alignment needed for most types of swing.

Cha Cha: This is an evolved triple mambo basically! This style is an advanced marriage of American and Latin dancing (and music).

Charleston: This dance from the 20s, was a wild youth dance at one time. The kids would dance on the slippery jazz hall floors by twisting the feet in and out.

Charleston Twist: This is the basic Charleston done on high feet (or the balls of the feet).

Clogging: Double time stomping and tapping with the body held erect.

Compensating Step: This is the step that gels together two different rhythms.

Compression Connection: A couple connection that has tension or energy.

Conga: An Afro-Cuban party-dance charecterized by the emphasis on the end beats of musical phrases. There is a certain conga beat that is played for this dance.

Contra body movement (CBM): A body movement off opposition where the torso (with shoulders and hips aligned) twist one way from the legs. Turns are often prepped with this move.

Contra-body movement position (CBMP): Another body movement but stems from the legs directl, fueled by a cross over the other.

Contre Dance: A square dance originated in France from the 1600s. This was a type of dance that now resembles country dancing.

Country Dance: Originating from England, this type of dancing is where current American folk dancing comes from (square dancing, jig, reels etc).

Cuban motion: A certain motion derived from Cuban dancers that involves a hip movement. This motion stems from a quick change of the knees (from bent to straight).

Cucarachas: This is another word for "side breaks" where the feet change from first to second position.

DanceSport: The name of a current ballroom competition that involves extremely advanced professional dancers.

Delayed Double Rhythm Unit: A rhythm unit that is doubled.

Delayed Single Rhythm Unit: Basically this is a dance step that does not start on 1, but is delayed by a kick, or step that doesn't have weight or a pause.

Dependent Step Pattern: A phrase of steps that leave the dancer in motion at the end of the phrase (where it doesn't have a final end step) so that the dancer can hopefully continue dancing on the next phrase...

Dig Swivel: Just what it says, a foot dig then a swivel or foot twist on the balls of the feet.

Dirty Dancin’: A very sensual and close type of couple dancing. You can see this type of dancing in "Dirty Dancin'", which is a movie from the 80s starring Mr. Patrick Swayze.

Double Time: This is basically a "delayed single rhythm".

East Coast Swing: A type of swing dancing that we now know as the "jitterbug".

Fandango: A dance originated in Spain for partners, involving castanets, finger snaps, and feet stomping. The tempo then increases until the dance gets so fast that it can't be done practically. The dancers then pause with the music and pose with fire in their eyes until the music prompts their movement again.

Flamenco: A Spanish dance that involves sharp hand movements in the air and a stomping of the feet.

Fox Trot: A type of ballroom dance.

Freestyle: Dance improvisation.

Funk Swing: A type of swing that is loosely choreographed. It leaves room for ad libbing.

Grapevine: A twisting side movement where the body will twist from the waist down going back and forth between the foot is leading. One foot leads after the other.

Haitian Merengue: This form of merengue has a slow and sleek basis but can also speed up to an exciting motion. It stemmed from Haitian music which is directly related to African beats.

Highland Fling: A traditional Stottish folkloric dance stemming from the highlands of Scottland.

Hop Clog: This is the "waltz clog" but includes hopping.

Hula: The traditional Hawaiian folk dance. It tells stories with the arms, hands and face expressions. The basic step is a hip motion and slow chasse with arms together flowing in wave-like ways.

Hustle: A disco dance from the 70s which continues to find poplarity in the crossover of swing dancing today.

International Latin: This is a style of Latin (American) dancing that is now recognized worldwide. An official Dancesport category.

International Standard: The dance style where the partners do not unlock their embrace.

Irish Jig: An Irish folk dance.

Jitterbug: The form of swing dancing which came from the Lindy and Charleston. It us a very lively form of dancing.

Jive: This is a type of swing dancing.

Kick: A kick extending from the knee (not hip).

Kick ball change: This can be seen in swing and other popular couples dancing. It is a basic sequence of three steps consisting of kicks, a step on the ball of the foot then another step on the opposite foot. This somtimes will replace the "rock step" in swing.

Lambada: This sultry dance came from Brazil and found popularity in the 1980s. it combines portions of the Samba with a passionate Rumba like motion.

Latin American Dances: There are two divisions of Latin Dances (as noted by Dancesport and now worldwide): There are the traditional dances and then there are the standard latin Dances that are other than Hispanic in origin, like Samba, Bolero, Rumba, the Cha Cha, Mambo and Paso Doble.

Leading: This is the one in the paired couple, that leads the direction and movements when ab libbing.

Lean: An arched lean, away or toward the partner while dancing.

Leverage move: This is a hold move between partners that takes a lot of trust! One partner basically counterbalances the other and if one lets go the other will go flying!

Lindy Hop: The Lindy was originally a ballroom dance from the late 20s but later became a part of swing dancing.

Mambo: This is the marriage of swing to Cuban beats, which was initially played as a Rumba sound with a riff-like ending instead.

Mazurka: A folkloric dance from Poland. A Mazurka is a circular dance done by couples.

Meringue: This is a lively and joyful Latin Dance.

Minuet: Once a lively dance, the Minuet turned into a slow and elegant dance which involves a salute, a high step, a balance and a lot of bowing "polite" gestures. It became a court like dance from society standards of the time it was brought out.

Modern Style Ballroom: This is bascially another name for "standard ballroom', which is recognized in dance competition sports.

Natural opposite: This is the person in the couple that is dancing the choreography as it were intended. The other always has to dance it backwards...

Natural turn: A right turn.

Open break: A break step taken in open facing position, usually with the partners dancing in opposition. In other words, they both break back simultaneously.

Outside turn: The lady turns to her right under the man's left hand or she turns to her left under the man's right hand.

Paddle turn: A turn either left or right, using a series of ball changes with the weight staying over the turning foot.

Polka: A quick dance for couples, originating in the 1900s which became popular in Europe and in the U.S.A.

Prep: A move or step that sets up a movement like a lift, turn - anything difficult.

Quickstep: This is a very fast fox trot!

Rhythm category: A category of dancing that includes the following American Style dances (usually danced at competitions): rumba, cha cha, bolero, mambo and swing.

Rock N’ Roll: A popular form of the Swing or Lindy Hop. Began as a dance done mostly by teenagers who were fans of artists like Elvis Presley and the Beatles.

Round Dances: Country dances in America became barn dances, square dances, and round dances.

Rumba: The Rumba has a very erotic style and was originally a marriage dance. The main feature is to take each step without initially placing the weight on that step. Steps are made with a slightly bent knee which, when straightened, causes the hips to sway from side to side in what has come to be known as "Cuban Motion."

Sailor step: A dance charecterized by a triple step which is done by leaning in the other direction of the crossed foot.

Salsa: This is a Latin dance originating from Cuban and jazz music. Salsa is a very hot and steamy dance! It is associated with the mambo.

Samba: A South American dance in a 2/4 time.

Schottische: A Scottish dance that is sort of like the polka.

Shag: A hopping ballroom dance from the 30s.

Shimmy: A dance of African American origin which includes shoulder shaking and body shaking.

Shim Sham: This was created in Harlem and is sort of a slow shuffle step from the "soft shoe" era.

Shine: This is a concept in Latin dancing which includes a section of the dance where the partners break apart and "do their own thing" so as to "shine" on their own. The partners could be doing the same movement - most dancesport competitions will reflect this in the mambo, cha cha etc.

Slot: This is a dance concept in swing dance that basically gives the parner who does not lead, a path to dance and to mirror back their path movement until they come back into the paired dancing.

Smooth Style Ballroom: This is another phrase for "American Style" - waltz, tango or foxtrot... Styles often seen in Dancesport competitions.

Social dance: Another word for the concept of "ballroom dance". It includes all popular "couples" dancing.

Spanish Waltz: This is the waltz with more Spanish movements and arm positions.

Spin turn: Another word for "pencil turn" or "platform turn" which is done on one foot in first position (usually).

Square Dance: An old American folk dance that includes many people and many formations as well as patterns. It is considered a country dance.

Standard Style Ballroom: Another name for "International Style" ballroom dance as defined by the competitions.

Suzi-Q: This dance came about in the late 30s which includes a hand clap together to the front of the body, then a slide on one foot over the other while the arms move in opposition to the movement.

Swing: A very upbeat and popular rock n roll 50s style of dance which includes a lot of hops, inward leans, and quick counts. This includes all sorts of evolving swing like styles. It is done to swing music and there are many partner lifts and poppy, fun movements.

Syncopate: This is the concept of making a dance unique, through interpretation. A step may be added or taken away from the average unison of beats provided for the steps. It allows personal expression and creative qualities to shine.

Tango: There are three types of Tango: American, Argentine, and International. The tango is done both in closed positions and in many types of marvelous dance relationships which involve a certain freedom of expression and passion.

Tarantella: This is a folk dance from Italy in which one dancer turns or spins in place, and then the other partner joins them a little while into it. Sometimes the use of tamborines are present, and the dance can expand to a group setting in a large circle.

Top line: This is a body alignment concept in terms of the "frame". The body frame needs to stay consistant in order to be a sharp basis and foundation for the dancing. Basically, the horizontal line that lies from elbow to elbow and through both shoulders is where this line is.

Traveling pivots: A series of pivots in plie extended in fifth position.

Twist: A dance of the 60s coming from Georgia. It was later adapted by Chubby Checker who brought it to the east coast. The twist later spread like wild fire to the entire US and world. It is the action of twisting the body so the hips go one way and the upper torso goes the other. The feet twist as well while the arms are in casual opposition.

Two Step: A country dance that is very easy to do: it's a fast double march then a skip. The two step can be done fast, slow or as ultra fast as the music dictates!

Viennese Waltz: This classical style of ballroom waltz came from refined composers such as Strauss. The dance steps became more petit and the turns became smooth and quite compact. A beautiful flowing dance.

Virginia Reel: This is a country dance of the 'barn dance" days.

Waltz: A dance with levels, turns and a smooth, lovely embrace and gliding quality.

Waltz Clog: This dance evolved into what we now know as the "waltz time step" in tap. It was originally performed in clogs...

West Coast Swing: A type of swing danced to slower swing or "disco" music. It includes shuffles, taps, and a type of partnering where the couple pushes together and pulls away from eachother while connected at the arms.

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Dance Fusion Performing Arts Studio
6330 Farm Bureau Road
Allentown, PA 18106