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History and Basic Steps of The Quickstep

posted 3 Dec 2010, 13:29 by Mpelembe   [ updated 3 Dec 2010, 13:31 ]

When one thinks of ballroom dancing, it conjures up in your
mind a beautiful and exquisite ballroom, with  elegantly
dressed ladies with gentlemen dancers in tuxedos. But have
you ever wondered how the  dance started? Ballroom dancing
started in England in the late 18th century or early 19th
century. Initially  the dance was performed solely by the
upper classes, however, the lower classes adopted this art
form  as well some time later.

The Quickstep is a popular dance at many ballroom dance
competitions and started in the 1920s in  England. The dance
evolved from the Foxtrot, the Charleston and a couple of
other dances, and has  undergone many changes over the
years. Although some dancers still perform the dance slowly,
 nowadays the dance is faster than it was at its outset. In
fact, it is danced to the fastest tempo of the  ballroom
dances. A further change since the inception of the dance is
the usage of more syncopation in  the steps. Three
characteristic dance figures of the Quickstep are the
chasses, where the feet are  brought together, the quarter
turns and the lock step. Distinctive to the Quickstep is an
up and down, rise  and fall swinging motion performed at a
fast pace.

First Basic Step.    The lead dancer steps forward on their
right foot - slow, then step to the side on the left - quick
(the feet  should now be paralle), the right foot is brought
togather with the left - quick, finally stepping out to the
side with the left foot again - slow.  It continues, step
back with the right foot and step to the side on the  left
(feet again in a parallel position), the right foot is
brought together with the left, and then step out  again
with the left foot. To allow progress around the dance floor
the lead dancer would initiate the step  out, adding further
variety with turns and runs.

When observing the Quickstep, it may appear similar to the
whirling figures common in a waltz.  However, listen to the
music, and you will be able to recognise that it is not the
waltz, but the Quickstep  performed at 4/4 time rather than
the waltz at 3/4 time. Another indication that you are
seeing the  Quickstep is the jazzy fast beat of the songs
compared to the slow waltz song.

Today most ballroom dance lessons not only include the
Quickstep but also the tango, fox trot, samba,  rumba, the
jive, the cha cha cha and the paso doble. The tango has 4/4
meter and uses medium tempo  orchestral type of music. The
foxtrot also has a 4/4 meter and its basic rhythm is slow
quick quick,  performed with medium or slow jazz music. The
Samba boasts an exhilarating Latin beat with 2/4 meter  and
has approximately 100 beats per minute, whilst the cha cha
cha is usually to a Latin beat but, unlike  the samba, has a
medium tempo with 128 beats per minute. On the hand, or
should I say foot, the rumba  is to a slow Latin ballad and
its tempo is 104 beats per minute with a meter of 4/4. The
jive is a fast  moving swing type music with 176 beats per
minute. Lastly, there is the paso doble, its meter is 2/4
and  rhythm is similar to a march with one-step beat and
dramatic likened to bullfight music.

About the Author:

Keith Faunch is a novice at dance, but attempting to get
better whilst encouraging others to take up the challenge,
to get fit or to have some fun.