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Nightclub Partner Dancing

I know what you are probably thinking: how is it possible to learn to dance to everything that might be played in a nightclub setting? Actually this is easier than you might think. Most dance beat music falls in the tempo range of 105 to 130 beats per minute. I’ll call this tempo range the tempo sweet spot of nightclub music. It’s the perfect tempo range for dancing swing, hustle, and cha cha. You’ll find that most nightclub music is suitable for swing, hustle, or cha cha dances. In addition to these dances, you will need a strong slow dance and you will need what I call a Quick, Quick, Slow dance such as rumba, which can be adapted to a very wide range of music tempos. To sum up, you will only need to learn a few basic dances to be able to address almost all nightclub music. More good news is that these dances are much easier to learn than ballroom dances such as waltz, foxtrot, and tango, which can be very technical.

Here's a brief introduction: The three-count hustle is the perfect dance for classic disco beat music. The hustle is a true nightclub dance. This dance was born in the nightclubs of New York City during the disco era of the 1970’s. The basic step is easy and you should be able to start dancing the hustle after only a few minutes of practice. You might think that disco is dead, but the disco beat rhythm and tempo continues to live on in almost all nightclub music. In fact, having the disco beat is an important factor in the long term success of dance music. The hustle is the perfect dance for the music tempo range of 105 to 130 beats per minute. The basic step of the hustle is easy. The steps are often called out: ball-change, walk, walk, ball-change.

Now let’s look at he four count hustle, also called the four count swing. This dance is perhaps even easier to learn than the three-count hustle. This dance uses the same steps and figures as three count hustle. The only thing that changes is the footwork timing. In this dance, you simply step on each beat of the music. You can count the music and the step timing 1,2,3,4; 1,2,3,4. It’s just like marching. Now let’s talk about when to dance the four count hustle. Most dancers prefer the three count hustle over the four count hustle, but when the music speeds up and gets above about 130 beats per minute, you will need to switch to the four count hustle – this gives you an extra beat of music to complete each pattern. The four count hustle is perfect for fast disco music and for “techno-beat” music. The four count hustle is also a perfect dance for merengue music, which is popular in Latin Clubs. The basic step of the four count hustle is easy. The steps are often called out: forward, back, together, forward.

The One Step
All nightclub dancers need a strong slow dance. Almost certainly, a number of slow songs will be played through the course of the evening. The dance called the one step is really easy to learn. The footwork timing is also easy. It’s just like the four count hustle, where you step 1,2,3,4, with one step taken on each beat of the music. Most dancers, when dancing a slow dance, move very little. This dance allows you to move to the music. Most women enjoy dancing with a guy who knows how to slow dance well. Learning this simple dance might be the most valuable lesson you’ve ever had. The foot placement pattern is easy. It’s just: side, back, rock, step. Side, back, rock, step. The count is just a simple 1,2,3,4; 1,2,3,4. The One Step is not suitable for all slow dances, but it works well for many songs, especially those that have a slow blues rhythm pattern.

Now let’s look at the next dance style: triple step swing also called triple timing swing. This is also called jitterbug. The triple timing swing is a great dance for tempo ranges that span from 120 to 160 beats per minute. This is a versatile dance, because it can be danced to swing, blues, or disco beat music. It can be danced in many different venues, from ballroom settings and wedding receptions to rock and roll nightclubs. Initially, it’s a bit of a trick to learn. The secret is to practice the basic step until you don’t even have to think about it anymore. Then you can start having fun. The basic pattern is a follows: triple step, triple step, rock step (repeat). The counting is called out 1&2, 3&4, 5,6.

Cha Cha
Now let’s look at the next dance: cha cha. In this video, we are going to show a very basic, very easy to learn version of this dance, suitable for nightclub dancing. For our easy version, we will count the dance as follows: rock step, cha cha cha (repeat).

The Quick Quick Slow Dance
Now let’s look at the next dance, which I will call a quick quick slow dance. This one dance can serve as rumba, salsa, mambo, bolero, and night club two, depending upon the music being played. I know what you are asking: How is this possible. All of these dances - rumba, salsa, mambo, bolero, and night club two - all share the same basic footwork timing of quick, quick slow, quick, quick, slow. In addition these five dances share many many patterns and dance figures. In fact, overall, they are more alike than they are different. Where they differ most is in the tempo and the style of the music. You can look at this as sort of a bargain: you learn just one set of patterns, and now you can dance five different dances. The footwork timing is quick, quick, slow, quick, quick, slow. Each quick step requires one beat of music, each slow step requires two beats of music. Thus, the three steps require 4 beats of music.

A key skill required by the nightclub dancer is the ability to quickly analyze music to determine which dance is most appropriate. In this video, I’ll show you how to do this.

Music Suggestions

The video will give examples of popular songs representing each dance style. You do not have to have practice music to learn from the video. In fact, you can dance along with us as the tape plays.


Instructors: Joe and Jamie
about 90 minutes
DVD: $35
Buy Now DVD

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