The Top 5 Ballroom Dance Styles: A Guide for Beginners

ballroom dance styles 2019

Are you new to ballroom dancing? If so, you’re in for a treat! Ballroom dancing is a fantastic way to get fit, have fun, and meet new people.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the five most popular ballroom dance styles. We’ll also provide tips on how to get started with each style. Let’s get started!

Top Five Ballroom Dance Styles

Before discussing each ballroom dance style, let us first discuss the two acceptable styles.

The first is the International Standard Style, and the other is the Latin Dance Style.

More than that, the International Standard Style is divided into two groups when discussing the American Standard Style.

The included dances for the International Standard Style are the waltz, tango, foxtrot, Cha-Cha, and Rumba.

As for the Latin Dance style, it has the cha-cha, samba, rumba, pasodoble, and jive.

The American style has an American rhythm section that includes cha-cha, rumba, swing, bolero, and mambo.

Further, American Smooth also has waltz, foxtrot, tango, and Viennese waltz.

International Standard Ballroom Style

Let us first talk about the different styles with the International Standard Style.

Waltz Dance

This is amongst the most graceful dances and one of the easiest to learn.

It has a strong rise and fall technique which can showcase the partners’ movement.

Likewise, it is characterized by flowing and long movements that include many turns.

If done correctly, it is as if the dancers are gliding on the dance floor with absolutely no effort.


The foxtrot is much like the waltz in such a case that it includes smooth movements.

This time, the partners should glide on the dance floor as they are on ice skates.

It is also usually a choice for beginners. It can be danced in a big band or swing music.


This is a very sensual dance that has its origins in Argentina.

It combines a lot of dramatic and quick movements paired with different shapes.

The dancers tend to walk in a technique that is called staccato.

Viennese Waltz

The Viennese Waltz differs from the waltz in terms of speed and number of steps.

It is usually four times faster, with more steps, but they are still elongated.

Also, it has a lot of foot actions and differs from the one, two, and three timings.

Mostly, it is about showing off each partner as they are being twirled around in the room.

It is not advised to be learned by a beginner.


Coming from the root word quick, this is the fastest dance style.

For this to be done right, both of you should move with lots of energy, skips, flicks, and hops.

Some say that it is the quicker version of the foxtrot.

It is all about syncopated feet rhythms, runs, and extremely quick stepping.

All of these combined make it a very entertaining dance to watch.

International Latin Ballroom Style

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Let us now move on to the five styles under the International Latin Style.

Cha-Cha Dance

This is also a fairly easy dance to learn, but you must learn a lot of footwork.

Definitely, it is a cheeky dance that puts a lot of emphasis on the quick and concise leg and foot actions.

It also has that classic Cuban motion wherein the partners should synchronize with each other well so that there will be a perfect alignment.


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This is most commonly referred to as the most sensual and passionate dance.

It has a lot of hip and body action and a consistent 4/4 beat.

When done correctly, the room will be filled with so much tension as the dance is supposed to be intense.

There is also a bit of leeway for independent freestyle.


For this one, it can be performed solo or with a partner.

It mostly mimics the Brazilian carnival feeling.

A lot of bounce is derived from the ankles and the knees.

Also, it is very easy to freestyle this dance.

Paso Doble

This style is also very intense because it mimics a Spanish bullfight.

Therefore, the movements are quick and big, and it is as if the man and the woman are constantly challenging each other.

It also has a lot of decorated movements, such as kicking and clapping.


This one is also a quick dance that incorporates a lot of kicks.

It can also be like a swing and is a variation of the jitterbug.

Similarly, there are also a lot of bounces with this one and huge amounts of energy.

Other Dances and Styles

Let us discuss some other styles that are not under the standard styles.

Salsa Dance

This also originated from Latin dances, including many hip movements, turns, and strides.

Nowadays, many people dance to fast music, but it can also be danced slowly.

Mambo Dance

This is a very energetic dance with a lot of bulky movements.

Some of it might resemble modern-day hip-hop styles.

Other choreographies also include a bit of kick and stride.

Lindy Hop

This was inspired by swing but has more boxy steps.

The counts are also different since, with this one, it always ends on a half count.

There are triple steps, rock steps, and walks.

Frequently Ask Questions (FAQ)

What are the Top Five Ballroom Dance Styles?

The top five ballroom dance styles, known for their popularity and appeal, are:

1. Waltz: An elegant and romantic dance with flowing movements, characterized by 3/4 time and rise-and-fall motion.

2. Tango: A passionate and intense dance with sharp staccato movements, representing a fusion of emotions and expression.

3. Foxtrot: A sophisticated and smooth dance known for its long, gliding steps and graceful elegance on the dance floor.

4. Cha-Cha: A lively and playful Latin dance featuring quick footwork and flirtatious hip actions, perfect for energetic and dynamic performances.

5. Rumba: A sensual and expressive Latin dance that focuses on body movements and creates a strong connection between partners.

With their distinct styles and unique characteristics, these dances continue to captivate audiences and dancers worldwide.

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  1. Sujandar Mahesan says:

    I have read other article about Ballroom Dancing in your website before. Thank you so much for keep posting articles that is really useful for all the Ballroom Dancers out there. These ten types of styles really made my cousin think. Now she is in the process of deciding what she wants to choose.

    1. Hey Sujandar! Thank you for stopping by again!…

  2. Kira Price says:

    Tango, Salsa, and Latin styles have to be my most favorite styles to watch on TV, Dancing With The Stars, or live events in my downtown. How can they take so much on their feet is what I have always wondered with some of the styles. Really difficult foot work. 

    My dream was to be in ballet but my mom saw fit to not see myself embarrass myself so much respect to the art. I wish could have partaken!

    1. Hey Kira! Thanks for your comment… Never late to start 😀

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