Ballroom Styles

Introduction to Ballroom Dancing Styles

Ballroom dancing conjures up visions of gentlemen and ladies in elegant dress floating around the dance floor in a posh ballroom. Yes, this still happens at official DanceSport competitions. But it is not necessary to dress up to enjoy the pleasures of ballroom dancing. And best of all, one does not need to own a palace with a ballroom.

Ballroom dancing covers a wide range of dancing styles. It also requires room to manouevre safely around the dance floor. Membership in a club that supports ballroom dancing helps to defray the costs of renting larger halls for dancing.

There are several styles of ballroom dancing. The 'International' style is well defined and used at international DanceSport competitions. 'American' and 'Sequence' style ballroom dancing use similar moves to the international style, but begin their moves slightly differently. For example, sequence dances always start on the first beat of the music, whereas 'International' style Latin dances begin on the second beat. If one has learned the basics of either International or American style ballroom dances, it is easy to apply these moves to sequence dances. (Note: 'Round' dancing is a popular variation of 'American' style dancing where the moves are called out similar to Square Dancing)

    Ballroom dancing generally falls into three categories:
  • the Standard category includes the Slow Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep and Tango.
  • the Latin category includes the Rhumba, Cha Cha, Samba, Jive and Paso Doble.
  • the Old-Time category covers a variety of other dances that are still popular, fun dances.

The first two categories are official DanceSport categories. Modern Sequence dancing includes all three categories and other popular dances such as the Mambo, Polka, Bossa Nova, Salsa and Merengue. Old Time sequences dances are now termed "Classical Sequence" dances.

Click Here for more information about specific dances and the speed of each dance.

Caution: The best way to learn ballroom dancing is with an instructor. Group lessons are quite reasonable in price and will help immensely. Some videos (tapes, DVDs) are available from sources on the internet, but one must be very careful about the standards. In North America, NTSC is the standard for VHS tapes and DVDs; in England and Australia, PAL is the standard. Only a very few models of DVD players will accept both standards. Most will not. VHS tapes should be avoided unless they are NTSC standard. See the contact page is you need more information on this topic.

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