One outstanding contribution the waltz gave to ballroom dance is the closed dance position, whereby partners face each other while dancing. However, it was some time before this dance position was socially acceptable because it was originally labeled as scandalous, that partners should dance so close.
The cha-cha is a Cuban innovation and stems from an old Latin form of dance called the danson. It is said to be a combination of the mambo and American swing and became popular in America around the 1950's. The rumba, introduced around 1930, is also a Cuban dance. The style is slower, more relaxed and smoother than the cha-cha. The mambo, also from Cuba, was derived around 1950 and is a combination of swing and rumba. The meringue is the national dance of Haiti and became popular in the United Stated in the mid-1950's. This dance today has a suave, sophisticated manner and is one of the easiest Latin dances to learn.
The samba, from Brazil and one the most active of the Latin dances, was introduced to the United States about 1929. The samba is sensitive and smooth and has influence in Latin and African rhythms. The tango is an argentine cowboy dance introduced about 1910. The American version of the tango came via Paris, which has been restyled several times since the 1920's and has changed considerably from the original Argentine dance.
The swing was cultivated in America and still reigns as the most popular of all ballroom dances. Its origins date