“Dance Extravaganza” Comes to Torquay

salsa dancingAre you a lover of Ballroom & Latin Dance?  Have you ever wondered about the origins of some of your favourite dances? Inspired by a new midweek ”Dance Extravaganza taking place at the TLH Victoria Hotel in Torquay later this year, we’ve had some fun delving through the archives and hope you enjoy our brief potted histories.

Your Dance Hosts

Paul and Carole-Ann Harris are your hosts and “tour guides,” taking you on a journey around the world of dance. Paul and Carole-Ann have been dancing together for the last 35 years and this sparkling new event is inspired from their own travels around the world on cruise ships.   They have been nationally ranked in Ballroom & Latin Dance competitions as well as regularly performing demonstrations, leading workshops and teaching, so you’ll be in good hands.

Your hosts paul & carole-ann harris

Paul & Carole-Ann Harris

Your dance programme this for this break includes some of the following ports of call:


First stop is the Dominican Republic. The Merengue is the national dance of the Dominican Republic with two popular tales of its possible origins. One version alleges the dance originated with slaves who were chained together and forced to drag one leg as they cut sugar to the beat of drums. The second story alleges that a great hero was wounded in the leg during one of the many revolutions in the Dominican Republic. A party of villagers welcomed him home with a victory celebration and, out of sympathy, everyone dancing felt obliged to limp and drag one foot.

Traditional Merengue - image courtesy of the Heritage Institute

Traditional Merengue – image courtesy of the Heritage Institute

Whatever its origin, the Merengue is relatively easy to learn and is essentially a “fun” dance.
It’s even possible that,  because of its light and frothy character, it took its name from the sugar and egg confection we all know and love.


Have some fun with this flirtatious Latin American dance, fuelled by Afro-Caribbean rhythms and all-night partying. The Salsa fuses Cuban, Puerto Rican and Columbian styles into simple and lively movements.

salsa dancing



Argentine Tango

Originally the Argentine Tango had its roots in Buenos Aires and seemingly grew out of a variety of dance influences from Spain and Uruguay. Young men introduced the moves to the slaughterhouse district of Buenos Aires in various low-life establishments such as bars, dance halls and brothels, where African rhythms met the Argentine Milonga. For this part of your journey close your eyes and picture the gauchos coming off the pampas to meet up with the ladies of the night, dancing under the stars.

As well as a morning introduction to this dance, you’ll be in for a real treat when Paul and Carole-Anne give a professional demonstration of the Argentine Tango which is one of their favourites.


Your next destination has its roots in Spain and features a Latin class with an introduction to the Bolero which was originally a dance that developed in late 18th century Spain. The slow tempo dance was performed solo with a partner, accompanied by song, castanets, guitars, and tambourines. Later it reached Cuba where it was influenced by Afro-Cuban music styles and where it became more energetic.

toulouse lautrec painting

Marcelle Lender dancing in the Bolero in Chilperic, painted by Toulouse Lautrec

Join in the fun

This has just been a brief round-up of the highlights of this “Dance Extravaganza” around the world. And to tempt you even further, the trip also includes:

  • A welcome drinks reception and Halloween Masked Ball on the first night
  • Ballroom & Latin Dance classes
  • 5 nights dinner, bed and breakfast at the TLH Victoria Hotel
  • Dancing every night in the beautiful Richmond Ballroom

Hopefully we have whetted your appetite and you’ll be able to join us in October. You can find full details on our website, or you can give us a call on 01803 400500.

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