Let’s Dance and SaddleBrooke Ballroom Dance Clubs: Quickstep – a very “quick” trip around the dance floor

Steve Holdener

Quickstep has been described as “a light-hearted member of the standard ballroom dances.” It’s fast and powerful, but contains subtle syncopations. The first time I saw a couple dancing a Quickstep I thought it was a very fast foxtrot and I was able to dance somewhat of a quickstep foxtrot even though it was not really correct for today’s standards.

Originally known more as a march, the Quickstep was popular about 1850 and mainly used to celebrate presidents, military, exhibitions, regiments, heroes etc. as a type of propaganda and morale music.

Fast forward 70 years and the Quickstep was developed as a dance and evolved during the roaring 20s in New York as it was first danced by Caribbean and African dancers. The first version of this was supposedly done by Frank Ford and Molly Spain at the Star Dance Championships in 1927.

Amazingly, besides the march, the origins of Quickstep are a combination of Foxtrot, Black Bottom, Chase G Chug, Charleston, Shag, Peabody and One Step. There are three characteristic dance figures of the Quickstep: 1. Chassés (where the feet are brought together); 2. Quarter turns; and 3. Lock step. The dance can feature many advanced patterns including hops, runs, quick steps with a lot of momentum and rotation.

Today’s modern Quickstep is different than its original namesake and is one of the five main ballroom dances. You can occasionally see the Charleston, Black Bottom and Peabody influence as variations at times done within the above dance steps. It is a very fun, lively and dynamic dance and looks nothing like its original namesake.

My wife Rita and I had our first learning experience with Quickstep in November, 2014, with beginning lessons from Tom and Ann Kurtz at Let’s Dance. They were very good lessons and we plan to build on them with further lessons hosted by SBDC and taught by professional instructors Alan and Leslie in April 2015.

Our next first Thursday of the month dinner/dance evenings will take place on April 2 at SaddleBrooke One in the Vistas Dining Room with the adjacent Vermilion Room dance floor beginning at 5:30 p.m. Our first Thursday events will move to May 21 and June 11 because of other commitments at the SaddleBrooke One Clubhouse, but will return to the normal first Thursday in July on the second. Please come join us then as well as the weekly open dances/practices on Sunday afternoons (4:00 to 5:30 p.m. at MountainView Ballroom) and Wednesday afternoons (4:00 to 5:30 p.m. at the Vermilion Room). It’s a time for listening and dancing to great ballroom music and sharing in the love of dancing as well as enjoying the camaraderie and fellowship of friendly dancers.

Our April 11, 2015, SBDC Party number five completes this season’s dancing events. If you didn’t make any of our five dinner/dance parties this last dance season, then plan to come out when we start up the new dance season with our first party on November 14, 2015.