Rock 'n' roll (dance)

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Rock and roll
Type: Show dance , tournament dance
Music: Pop music , rock 'n' roll
Time signature : 44- stroke
Tempo: 46-52 TPM (184-208 BPM )
Origin: United States
Creation time: ≈1955
List of dances

Rock 'n' Roll is an acrobatic show and tournament dance danced in pairs and originated in the United States .


The genesis of the music style and the name is described in more detail in the article Rock 'n' Roll .

In parallel to the rock 'n' roll music genre , the matching dances have developed. From the swing , which originated around 1920, the Lindy Hop developed very early in the USA , which for the first time allowed acrobatic elements to flow into a couple dance. This in turn experienced a modification to Boogie-Woogie around 1940 , which was based on significantly faster music. With the advent of rock 'n' roll music around 1955, the protest-driven youth movement finally created rock 'n' roll from boogie woogie .


Rock and roll dancers

Rock 'n' Roll is a happy, fast and sporty dance that is heavily viewer-oriented. It is characterized by the high precision of the movements at high speed and the fluid combination of dance and spectacular acrobatics, which partly plays with the fears of the audience.

Rhythm and music

Rock and roll music is on the 4 / 4 -stroke danced, typically a clear Offbeat has. In contrast to the offbeat of the music, the dance is emphasized on beats 1 and 3. The music is very fast at 46 to 52 TPM . Today people rarely dance to real rock 'n' roll pieces, instead one hears mainly modern disco and pop music at tournaments .


Characteristic of rock 'n' roll are the jumping basic step with kicks and kick-ball change and the acrobatics . Rock 'n' Roll is danced in a straight line, kicks and arm movements are at a clearly recognizable, regular angle to each other. The dancers dance almost exclusively on the balls of their feet, with the exception of the acrobatics, in which the gentleman takes a firm, wide-legged stance. Movements are typically carried out quickly and jaggedly, arms and legs are equally involved.

Rock 'n' Roll often takes on elements from other dances, especially aerobics , jazz dance or Latin American dances . In general, apart from the basic technique, the freedom of design of the couples in rock 'n' roll is quite large, so that different couples often dance significantly different styles.

Basic step

There are two different basic steps in rock 'n' roll, which are named after the number of times you touch the ground. The original 6-step basic step still shows strong similarities to the basic step of Lindy Hop and is now only taught in dance schools to slowly introduce beginners to the dance:

Blow Counting method Mr lady
1 "1" Left foot back Right foot back
2 "2" Right foot in place Left foot in place
3 "Kick" Left foot kicks Right foot kicks
4th "Put" Lower left foot Put your right foot down
5 "Kick" Right foot kicks Left foot kicks
6th "Put" Put your right foot down Lower left foot

The technically demanding 9-step basic step is the basis of modern tournament dance and is not only characterized by the kick-ball change , but also by a more precise kick technique:

Blow Counting method Mr lady
1 "Kick" Left foot kicks Right foot kicks
and "Ball" Pull up your right foot, put your left foot down Pull up your left foot, put your right foot down
2 "Change" Put your right foot down Lower left foot
3 "Kick" Left foot kicks Right foot kicks
4th "Put" Lower left foot Put your right foot down
5 "Kick" Right foot kicks Left foot kicks
6th "Put" Put your right foot down Lower left foot

Rock 'n' roll kicks are performed in a four-phase movement: the leg is first pulled up, then kicked out horizontally, then pulled back and put down. At the same time, the dancer hops loosely on the ball of the other foot, which touches the ground when kicking and just before the kicking leg is set down; There are three ground contacts per kick.

The Kick-Ball-Change is a modified kick, which is connected with a running movement: shortly before the kicking leg touches the floor when setting down, the other knee is pulled up so that the order of the floor contact is reversed. The Kick-Ball-Change makes it possible to cover longer distances without interrupting the sequence of kicks.

Dance figures

In order to obtain a uniform basis for tournament evaluation, it is necessary in rock 'n' roll to sharply distinguish common dance figures from acrobatics. In rock 'n' roll, dance figure is any dance figure that a dancer can perform alone. Flaps are not dance figures, but acrobatics. These may only be performed from a certain age and in a certain dance class. Stationary figures in which one dance partner supports the other are called dance figures as long as both dancers have firm contact with the ground. The latter rule in particular is specific to rock 'n' roll, because here in particular case figures that are strictly regulated in other dance forms are considered harmless.

Dance figures in rock 'n' roll (in contrast to standard dances or Latin American dances ) are, with a few exceptions, not stipulated and do not always have names, which means that rock 'n' roll choreographies are very individual. The high speed and limited body contact make the complex interplay of leading-and-being-led difficult. For shows and tournaments, figure sequences are therefore agreed and practiced in advance.


The swan, an acrobatics of the lower tournament classes

The basis of many acrobatics are body waves and beginners . The body wave consists of a strong fore-and-aft movement of the pelvis, combined with straightening by stretching the knees. It initiates an upward movement of the lady, who is mostly straddled, so that the gentleman, by using his buttocks, stomach and thigh muscles, needs little arm strength to lift the lady up.

The beginner is a sporty version of the robber ladder : The gentleman stands low on his knees and forms a step with both hands, on which the lady jumps. The momentum of jumping in is used to catapult the lady several meters into the air, where she can perform a somersault, for example .

Typical acrobatic figures in dance are:

  • Juniors: Bomb, straddle seat, double straddle up to shoulder height, fish, wedding seat, lasso, lift, Munich, thigh stand, swing, slingshot, shalom, plate, scissor plate, support, pirouette
  • C-Class: Swan, ice cream, double pirouette, C-ball, aviator, lateral death jump, Italian, Munich backwards, Sagi, snake, flat Swede, Berliner, Stern
  • B-Class: Berliner, Wickler, Bettarini, beginners, Käskehre, Kerze, Landshut, back to back, Schocksalto, Stern, Valentino, A-shoulder ball, Dulaine
  • A class: beginners backflip forwards or backwards (also double), Bettarini somersault, propeller, diver, death fall

Due to changes in the dance sport regulations, acrobatics have not been allowed in the school class since 2007, and the level of acrobatics has also been reduced in the juniors.


In the early days of rock 'n' roll, petticoats and jeans were considered stylish clothing. For today's dance style, however, this clothing is too heavy and restricts movement too much. Rock 'n' Roll is danced at tournaments in one- or two-piece suit-shaped costumes made of elastic synthetic fibers, which are often brightly colored and adorned with glittering rhinestones. The clothing fabrics are stretchable and tear-resistant, because they are exposed to considerable stress, especially with winding figures, and they are smooth and slippery in order to prevent canting and friction injuries during acrobatics such as a death fall. The costumes are usually made to measure for each couple.

The footwear must offer good support and protection against injuries caused by twisting ankle, at the same time be light and allow the foot freedom of movement. Therefore, most rock 'n' roll dancers today use special rock 'n' roll shoes, or aerobic shoes . Dancers often choose light, sneakers , which with their cushioned rubber soles absorb the downward swing after outdoor acrobatics in a more back-friendly manner.

Dance sport


At rock 'n' roll tournaments, individual couples or entire formations present rehearsed choreographies including acrobatics . The evaluation guidelines focus on (a) the foot technique, (b) the overall dance impression of the couple and (c) the quality of the acrobatics performed. The evaluation rules are the same for all classes, except for a stronger emphasis on acrobatics in the higher classes. In the higher grades (B and A), two choreographies are required: a fast foot technique , which consists exclusively of dance figures, and a slower acrobatics , which mainly includes acrobatics.

A distinction is made between individual, team and formation competitions. Team competitions are carried out like individual competitions, but at the end the ratings of the individual member pairs are offset against each other. There is an organized system of dance classes for all three types of competition.

In Austria, every pair or formation, if they want to compete in a tournament, must be a member of an association, which in turn must be a member of the association.

Individual competitions

Internationally, the Main Class , B Class , Juveniles and Juniors classes are run, with Main Class being the highest starting class. World championships are only held in the highest class - the main class. The top of each of the A, student and junior classes are nominated for the national team by the national coach. Internationally, the B-class dance couples are now also allowed to start. There are separate World Cups for this and there is no nomination by the national coach.

In Germany there are tournament classes A , B , C , juniors and schoolchildren , with A denoting the highest starting class. At times there was the D class as a lateral entry class for adults, which was finally abolished on January 1, 2014.

In Austria, a distinction is made between classes A , B , C , juniors , schoolchildren and beginners . In each class, specific requirements are placed on the dance couples in terms of dance duration, speed, and the number and difficulty of acrobatics. In the entry-level class, couples may start a maximum of 10 times and be a maximum of twelve years old, in the schoolchildren's class a maximum of 14 years and juniors a maximum of 17 years old. Classes A, B and C are regulated via ascent points or voluntary ascent.

Formation competitions

Internationally, as well as at world and European championships, there are classic pair formations (formation main class, 4–6 pairs, at least 15 years), junior formations (8–17 years), as well as pure ladies (at least 14 years) and girls -Formations (8-15 years). Until 2006 there was still the duo and quattro formation. The music is limited to 48 to 52 bars and must last 1: 30–1: 45 minutes for the short program (preliminary rounds) and 2: 45–3:00 minutes for the long program.

In Germany there are the formation classes master , quartet , youth , freedance , freedance youth and duo .

In Austria all international formation classes are rated according to international rules, but girls and ladies mini formations (3–6 people) are also defined.

Sports associations

Internationally, rock 'n' roll tournaments are coordinated by the World Rock'n'Roll Confederation (WRRC). This is a member of the World Dance Sport Federation .

The rock 'n' roll dance sport is promoted in Germany by the German Rock 'n' Roll and Boogie-Woogie Association e. V. (DRBV) , which is affiliated to the German Dance Sports Association (DTV) as an independent professional association and a member of the German Olympic Sports Association .

In Austria, the Austrian Rock 'n' Roll and Boogie-Woogie Dance Sport Association (ÖRBV, formerly ÖRRV) is responsible for this. This is itself part of the Austrian Dance Sport Association (ÖTSV).

All these associations ensure that tournaments are held in compliance with the tournament guidelines, the training of coaches and judges, the promotion of the clubs, etc.


The unrivaled and most successful rock 'n' roll couple are Marzia and Diego Chiodoni . As early as the 80s, the siblings showed where the development of rock 'n' roll acrobatics was going. They were six times world champion and most recently showed three double somersaults and one and a half forward somersaults as well as forward screw somersaults with unprecedented precision. Diego Chiodoni is still working as a trainer today and trained the dancers mentioned below, among others.

  • Roman Kolb is the most successful dancer in the history of the World Rock 'n' Roll Federation from the Czech Republic . He was five-time world champion (1994-1996, 2001-2002). His partners were Katerina Fialova and Michaela Vecerova . He ended his career as an active dancer and is now a successful rock 'n' roll trainer. During his career as a dancer he distinguished himself through excellent dance performance and above all groundbreaking acrobatics.
  • Miguel Angueira : One of the best dancing of all time from France . Angueira was three-time world champion (1990-1992) together with his former partner Dorothée Blanpain . For over a decade he has been setting the standards for aesthetic rock 'n' roll and is still characterized by his dancing elegance and clean acrobatics. His last partner was Natasha Quoy .
  • Olga Sbitneva and Ivan Youdin : At the moment, the Russian dance couple dominates the international stage. This dance couple easily jumps several double saltis in their program. You are u. a. European champion 2011, world champion 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012.

German couples

  • Hardy Hermann and Claudia Hermann were world champions in 1983, European champions in 1983, three times German champions from 1982–1984, 1984 Super World Cup winners, 1984 World Cup winners and holders of 20 national and international titles in professional rock 'n' roll.
  • Birgit and Peter Fenkl are the most successful German dance couple. You were five times vice world champion, won several international tournaments (World Masters) and were first in the world rankings. In 1997/1998 they ended their active career. Peter Fenkl took over the office of national coach until 2007. During this time he produced two pairs of world champions.
  • Beate and Andreas Wolf were two-time world champions (1997 and 2000). Today they teach the youngsters to dance. Beate is regional trainer in Bavaria and Andreas is a private trainer for A-class couples.
  • Claudia and Heico Bartsch were world champions in 1998 and leading the world rankings. Heico Bartsch was national coach from 2008 to 2016 (successor to Peter Fenkl).
  • In 2004, Veronique Metzger and Tobias Planer were the first and to this day the last German world championship pair in the school class and leading in the world rankings. The two won several international tournaments. Tobias Planer is now dancing with Carolin Steinberger in the A class.
  • Melanie Pittack and Christian Fascher were the first and, to date, last German couple to win the world championship in the junior class in 2000 in Sweden. The surprise winners had only recently moved up into the national team. They then won the World Cup in Hungary and ended their rock 'n' roll career soon after.

Individual evidence

  1. Acrobatics Lexicon of the DRBV
  2. Sportinfo 2013-1 . DRBV. March 1, 2013. Archived from the original on March 18, 2013. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
  3. WRRC Rules 2017. Retrieved December 5, 2017 .
  4. ^ WRRC Formation Rules 2017. Retrieved December 5, 2017 .
  5. Acrobatics by Roman Kolb and Michaela Vecerova (World Masters 1995)
  6. Foot technique round by Roman Kolb and Michaela Vecerova (World Masters 1995)
  7. Acrobatics by Roman Kolb and Katarina Kolb (World Masters)
  8. Acrobatic round of Miguel Angueira and Natasha Quoy (World Masters 2005)
  9. Acrobatic round of Olga Sbtineva and Ivan Youdin (World Championship 2008)
  10. Foot technique round by Olga Sbtineva and Ivan Youdin (World Games 2009)
  11. Foot technique round by Birgit and Peter Fenkl (World Masters)
  12. Acrobatics by Birgit and Peter Fenkl (European Championship 1995)
  13. Michael Köhler: Our Stars: The best dancers, trainers and formations . Books on Demand, 2010, ISBN 9783848298372 .
  14. Acrobatics by Beate and Andreas Wolf
  15. Stop when it is most beautiful! January 4, 2016, accessed on January 30, 2017 : "Heico Bartsch is stepping down from his position as national coach after 9 years."

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