Folk dances with ballroom dance and latin dance (modern old time dance)

Sailor folk dances

Introduction to cha-cha-cha dances

Folk dances with dance steps and dance figures from cha-cha-cha:

Polka now as rock-polka and the Danish Rhinelander dance now as sailor- rhinelander

Dances - Contents


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Cha-cha-cha: 1950th most popular vivid couple dance adapted to the (Danish) folk dance structure with its predictability and social get-together.


By dancing these dances you will in an enjoyable way get a broad knowledge of the basic steps and most common figures.


Sailor folk dances - West-Indian influence on the traditional Danish folk dance:


Couple dance, mixer, circle dance, country dance, 3 couple dance, quadrille = square, 6 new dances and melodies.

Steps: walk walk chasse, rock-polka, dance with structure and with input inspired by cha-cha-cha.


We got all our Danish folk dances (except one) after input and inspiration from abroad, as foreign dances were taken in and changed and further developed to Danish conditions. The foreign influence is sometimes seen in the name, like rheinlænderpolka = Rhinelander polka, i.e. a polka from the land by the river Rhine. Sometimes a dance could migrate inside Denmark, like the dance “the little vendelbo”, a popular dance in south-east Denmark that originated from the north-west. And in the north-west the name of the dance indicates that they got it somehow from abroad, e.g. by a sailor. This type of “import” by fiddlers is known in the coastal regions where farmers traditionally were sailors as young.


So in our dances here we imagine that the sailor has been far away, to the West-Indies, and then come home with e.g. cha-cha-cha.



Music for the cha-cha-cha sailor folk dances


We here have 8 melodies and 8 dances with cha-cha-cha and sailor-rhinelander and rock-polka. It is rather fast melodies to dances with small steps, inspired by the West-Indian.

A true cha-cha-cha melody, Jesuita, is included with a few additional notes as introduction to make it fully suitable, but it is  the intension that the other melodies should be used, with a definite start of dance on beat 1 (and not 2 as in Jesuita).

The melody Golfstrømeren (The Golf Tram) is made for basic learning of sailor-rhinelander and rock-polka each dance step corresponds to a note. This style is used in the first bars in the other melodies but then they change in the next bars to be influenced by calypso rhythm. These basic steps are used together with cha-cha-cha steps and figures in the dances: 2 couple line dance, 3 couple dance, quadrille, country dance, circle dance mixer.


The musicians find their own style. Maybe improving the melodies. Adding more latin rhythm etc.

Have fun in dancing and playing.



Social dance, free dance


The cha cha cha dance, which after its appearance in the west in the 1950th quickly became the most popular dance for several years, is a dance where you can attend a ball with your partner and dance alone together all evening, and even move around on only a smaller  part of the ballroom. You do not need to have any contact with the other dancers.

Folk dance is different. With the dances here you quickly get in contact with and mixed up with the other dancers. Folk dance is a very social dance.

But in folk dance you then must dance in accordance with the dance description not to disrupt the dance for the others. This can then be felt a stiff pattern.



Ice winter in Frederikshavn in North Jutlands almost a century ago.

(The steam ferry boat for Læsø is the small boat to the left.)

The big steamers here arrive to Northern Jutland out from the big world, with sailors that have got inspiration from foreign cultures, e.g. new ideas for dances.




The modern harbour, dance on the wharf.

Midsummer night 1985 celebrated in a small harbour near Copenhagen, a small fishing harbour, now mostly for leisure boats. I am here the leader of folk dance and music to mark the Nordic light evening by Øresund, across from Sweden.

This is a very different situation than the one on the old harbour photo above, where we depended on the sailors to renew our folk dances and music. Now the leisure people travel around in the world and dance the local dances - or we look them up on the internet web.