I learnt to teach ballroom dancing in 1997. Ballroom is divided into smooth and rhythm dances. With smooth dances we move forward leading with our heals eg Fox Trot, Waltz and Tango. Rhythm dancing we move forward on the balls of our feet eg the Latin dances (Salsa, Rumba, Cha Cha, Merengue) and American social dances such as East Coast Swing, Jive and Hustle.
I gravitated towards the rhythm dances very quickly and found a natural affinity. I always said that if I were to teach my own lessons I would focus on the rhythm section. Which is exactly what I've done.
Salsa, Rumba and Cha Cha have their origins in Cuba mixed with a lot of African influence from the Slave trade. Dancing was a way for the various cultures to express themselves. These dances also made their way to South America where variations do exist. Merengue has it's roots firmly in Brazil and was originally a dance the slaves did while shackled in chains. East Coast Swing is a branch of one of over 60 dances that started with the Lindy Hop (named after Charles Lindbergh) in 1920's America. Hustle is a relatively modern dance that got going in the New York clubs of the 70's with Salsa and East & West Coast Swing.
Salsa, Salsa with a tap, Rumba, Cha Cha, Hustle and East Coast Swing double & triple step are all similar in that a lot of the patterns are interchangeable. Merengue is a easy to learn fast paced dance. They are all fun to learn and contemporary music is easily adapted to the various dance steps.