Social Dance Types: A Guide for Beginners

7 Social Dance Types You Can Learn


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Whether you are an avid fan or a casual viewer, watching professional dancers create magic onstage is always a memorable experience.

It almost makes you want to try out professional ballroom dancing yourself, doesn’t it?

But with so many social dance types out there, which one should you choose?

Let’s walk you through the different types of ballroom dances and then you can decide which one you’re interested in:

Most Popular Social Dances: Beginners Guide


Rumba is a sassy and sensual dance form that originated in the West Indies but really developed in Cuba.

The most important thing in this social dance type is that you must develop a connection with your partner.

It is the slowest Latin dance form.

Like all Latin dances, Rumba involves a lot of hip movement.

It also has steps like shoulder checks and cross-body leads.

If you would like to learn slow, sensual dancing, then Rumba is a great choice for you.

Cha Cha Cha

The Cha Cha Cha is another popular dance type that originated in Cuba just like the Rumba, developed in Cuba post World War II.

It is an energetic, lively, and flirtatious type of dance that is loved by professional and non-professional dancers alike.

There is a lot of hip movement in this dance type.

It is based on three quick steps that are followed by 2 slow beats.

Besides hip movement, the Cha Cha Cha also involves a lot of quick spins, sharp actions, staccato, and some intricate foot movement.

If you are into groovy and playful social dancing, then you can consider learning this dance type.


Salsa is possibly one of the most famous social dance types in the world.

Its origins can be sourced to Africa and the Caribbean.

There are 4 major variations of this dance style.

These are the Cuban Style, the LA style, the NY style, and the Columbian style.

Salsa is mainly characterized by its fast foot footwork and its turning variations.

It is a fun, flirty, sensual dance type that is fun to learn.

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Merengue is a dance style with mixed origins.

It was developed in the Dominican Republic and It carries influences from several cultures such as African, Central American, and European cultures.

This dance style is characterized by how it involves concentrating your body weight onto one leg.

The leg movements must also be clear, swift, and graceful in appearance.


The Foxtrot is a slow, smooth dance form that involves fairly simple side steps and walking steps.

It is a beautiful and romantic form of social dancing that uses a combination of slow and quick steps.

It involves very smooth movements that must be timed perfectly.

For this reason, this dance style can be a bit of a challenge for new dancers.

If you are thinking of learning the Foxtrot, we suggest you take some lessons in the Quickstep and the Waltz first.

This will help you master the Foxtrot much more easily.


The Waltz is a popular dance type that originated in Europe.

The Waltz is a slow, smooth dance type that involves the dancers moving counter-clockwise on the dance floor.

It also involves a lifting action that is referred to as rise and fall.

There are three different types of Waltz that you can learn.

These include the American style, the Viennese Waltz, and the International Waltz.

The international Waltz is also known as the English Waltz.

These styles differ according to the number of patterns and variations in position movements.

The Waltz is a classic ballroom dance style that is comparatively easier to learn.


The Tango is another sensual ballroom dance type that originated in Argentina – Buenos Aires, to be specific.

It was originally a solo dance performed by a woman but slowly developed into a dance style for couples.

It is an intimate form of dancing, especially if you are doing the Argentine Tango (as opposed to the Modern Tango).

The woman must hold her head back while the man leads around the dance floor in a curving pattern.

You must be able to connect with the music as well as your audience to master this dance form.

To Sum It Up

If you are considering taking ballroom dance classes, then there are several social dance types that you can choose from.

Since you are a beginner, we suggest you start with classic dance forms such as the Waltz, the Rumba, and other slow dance forms.

Once you are able to master these dance styles, you can move onto more complex dance forms such as the Cha Cha Cha, the Foxtrot, the Tango, and Salsa.

You can also try other dance styles such as the Bolero, Swing dancing, and Samba.

Rest assured, whichever dance style you choose to learn first, you are in for a lot of fun!

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