Dance Style Descriptions
Dance Style Descriptions
International Style, American Style, & Social/Nightclub Style
The term "Ballroom Dance" refers to 3 distinct styles: International Style, American Style, & Social/Nightclub Style.
International Style vs. American Style
The International Style (International Standard and International Latin) is the primary style of "ballroom dancing" that is taught around the globe, including the United States. However, in addition to the International Style, the American Style (American Smooth and American Rhythm) is taught in countries such as the United States & Canada. The dance technique used for both International and American styles is similar, but International Standard allows only closed dance positions, whereas American Smooth allows closed, open and separated dance movements. In addition, different sets of dance patterns are usually taught for the two styles. International Latin and American Rhythm have different styling, and have different dance patterns in their respective syllabi.
Standard/Smooth dances are normally danced to Western music (often from the mid-twentieth century), and couples dance counter-clockwise around a rectangular floor following the line of dance. In competitions, competitors are costumed as would be appropriate for a white tie affair, with full gowns for the ladies and bow tie and tail coats for the men; though in American Smooth it is now conventional for the men to abandon the tailsuit in favor of shorter tuxedos, vests, and other creative outfits.
Latin/Rhythm dances are commonly danced to contemporary Latin American music, and, with the exception of a few traveling dances (e.g., Samba and Paso Doble), couples do not follow the line of dance but perform their routines more or less in one spot. In competitions, the women are often dressed in short-skirted latin outfits while the men are outfitted in tight-fitting shirts and pants, the goal being to emphasize the dancers' leg action and body movements.
Derived from the care-free nature of Social Dancing, this genre has developed over time in either night-clubs or pure social environments. Growth and development in this style comes from an emphasis placed on basic lead/follow understandings. The number of figures is determined by the "leader" putting a series of actions together while the "follower" improvises to add a flare to the steps danced.
Social or Nightclub style include dances such as the Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing, Hustle, Salsa, & Merengue. These dances are danced in close communities where the dancers within that group focus on just one of the many Social/Nightclub styles. For instance, a Lindy Hop group might go to a Swing Nightclub. Although many types of swing dancing music will be played, the Lindy Hop group would slow down or speed up their specific dance to match the speed of the music.
Dance Genre Descriptions
This style of dance is often times identified with the close partnering of the couple. All figures danced in this style are danced in formal dance hold with connection through the core. grace & sophistication lends itself to this style. The dances include Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Tango, & Quickstep
This style of dance is known for the precise leg, foot, & core action. Focus is put on isolation of different body movements. Characterized by either defined straight legs or defined bent legs. Clarity of movement and actions lend this style its polished appearance. The dances include Cha Cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble, Jive.
This style of dance is recognized by the show-like quality in which couples weave in and out of both close position contact (contact through core) and open position contact (connection through one hand). This style is both breathtaking to watch and a beauty to behold. The dances include Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz.
This style lives out its namesake by demonstrating a clear understanding of the different rhythms. Focus is put on continuous leg action coming from the constant bending and straightening of the legs through the knees. Actions from the core are very important as this isolation is what distinguishes dance from dance. Due to the understanding of core rhythms, this style is noted by its percussive appearance.