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Tango started in the slums of Buenos Aires, Argentina. There are a number of theories about how the tango evolved into the romantic, sensual dance we know today. One story goes that its unique hold originated among the country's gauchos, who wore their hardened, smelly chaps into crowded nightclubs. When a gaucho asked a girl to dance, she danced in the crook of his arm and held her head back to avoid the stench, with her right hand held low, close to his pocket, requesting a payment for her hospitality. Above: Cheryl Burke and Gilles Marini perform a tango on
Dancing with the Stars season 8.
The cha-cha-cha (or "cha cha") as we know it was born in Cuba, and has been linked to both mambo and danzon for its roots. Danzon is a now-dead dance form that featured groups of dancers who held the ends of colorful ribbons, which they twisted and entwined as they moved. The name "cha-cha-cha" came from the rhythmic shuffle steps that became standard as the dance evolved into its modern form.At left: Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Erin Andrews cha-cha during the premiere of Dancing with the Stars season 10.
hop branched off from the Charleston, and was named after American pilot
Charles Lindbergh, who made his famous Atlantic crossing in 1927,
around the same time that this swing dance became popular.Foxtrot
The foxtrot is commonly believed to have originated in 1914 by vaudeville actor Harry Fox, who entertained audiences of the New York Theater with his unique dancing to ragtime music, a style which soon became known as "Fox's Trot." Waltz
Waltz comes from the German word "waltzen," which means
"to turn." It began with the peasants in early Austria, but their
wide and vigorous steps became shorter and more elegant as the waltz
made its way into higher society and around the world. Considered the
first real "ballroom" dance, the waltz was initially deemed indecent in
17th Century European courts because it required dance partners to hold
each other so closely, but the scandal only made the dance even more
fashionable.At right: Derek Hough and Nicole Scherzinger dance a Viennese waltz during the premiere of
Dancing with the Stars season 10.