What are the 5 ballroom dances?

How to Ballroom Dance? An Introduction for Beginners


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The five most popular ballroom dances worldwide are Rumba, Foxtrot, Waltz, Cha-Cha, and Swing.

Dancers proficient in these five dances can dance with partners from any area of the world.

There are two styles of ballroom dancing – American and International.

American style is danced mostly in the USA.

Essentially, the Standard and Smooth categories have the very same dances, and the Latin and Rhythm classifications consist of generally the same dances.

In competitions, this is how they listed by dance:

What are the 5 ballroom dances?

American Style: 

  • Smooth – Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz.
  • Rhythm – Cha Cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, Bolero, Mambo, Samba.

International Style: 

  • Standard – Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep.
  • Latin – Cha Cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble, Jive.

Below you will discover a simple explanation of the leading most popular styles of ballroom dance:

1. Waltz

john wood dancing
John Wood & Anne Lewis Dancing Waltz

When someone discusses ballroom dancing, this is the most typically thought-of dance.

It is 28 bars per minute, performed in 3/4 time, and it can be reasonably romantic.

2. Foxtrot

Foxtrot is an all-American dance set to jazz music and can be slow or fast, depending upon the band.

3. Cha Cha

This dance is a fun and sexy dance with a highlight on quick, compact foot and leg actions.

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4. Rumba

This dance has a sexy feeling with lots of hip and body action– referred to as “Cuban motion.”

5. Swing

The most typical swing dance in competitions is the East Coast swing, a design established by Arthur Murray and others right after the second world war.

People all over the world enjoy the competitive and social nature of ballroom dancing.

These dances are partner dances enjoyed socially and competitively worldwide.

What are the 5 ballroom dances

Ballroom Dancing: Quick Overview

Ballroom dancing established in England.

Ballroom dance was noticed in the 16th century in France for the very first time.

Throughout the very first half of the 19th century, a lot of ballroom dances, such as the polka and the waltz, were an essential part of gatherings called assemblies.

These were planned nights for a minimal group of guests linked through family, association, or community, such as a regiment or a hunting group.

In the early 20th century, ballroom dance became very popular in the United States with the hugely successful style of dancing from Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. 

Even though the majority of their numbers were diligently choreographed, staged, and oft-rehearsed, they affected ballroom dancing’s acclaim and acceptance greatly.

The World Dance Council is in charge of organizing the dance competitions.

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The World Dance Council Ltd (WDC), previously understood as the International Council of Ballroom Dancing (ICBD) up until 1996, was developed at a conference arranged by P.J.S Richardson on September 22, 1950.

Consisting of 9 European nations and three others, today, the WDC has become the leading authority on competitive ballroom and Latin dance.

It has members in lots of countries throughout the world.

Ballroom Dance Evolution: Quick Introduction

how to dance tango other versions

In Europe, partnered dancing is done in a wide range of styles, both casual and pro forma, however, the most visible and promoted form is what the English call “International Style” ballroom, which is based on (DanceSport) technique and styling. 

Early Competition Appearance

Modest clubs in London began to hold events of a single dance kind, like foxtrot or tango, in the early 1920s.

Then the very first English ballroom dance competition in combined types premiered in March 1922.

A More Friendly Approach

Ballroom competitors began to introduce more comprehensive and more exaggerated motions into their dancing throughout the 1930s.

These changes happened in 3 phases, for three different factors.

The first stage didn’t originate from the Associations or the judge’s preferences.

It came from the audience’s response.

One of the very first examples was with the competition ballroom tango.

To quote Richardson once again, because he was among the judges at that time:

“Rivals discovered that these overstated movements, especially a sudden turn of the head when altering instructions [in the tango], made the kudos of the viewers, if not the marks of the judges.

The quickstep was likewise going through a stage of eccentricity.

These changes happened because of the desire of rivals to win approval from the crowd.” 

These movements were sometimes condemned by the judges initially.

However, the Associations didn’t like the new changes, but they eventually gave in, and it became the brand-new characteristic.

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