It consists of two distinct styles; namely the Standard and Latin. The former is a dance for partners, it requires well- coordinated movements to complement each other in a rhythmic manner to express nuances of the music. Dancers rotate in a counter-clockwise direction, moving around the entire floor, constantly moving and transitioning from one place to the next in a fixed pattern. Grace and fluidity of movement are key at all times. The Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz and Quickstep are danced in this manner.
The Latin style expresses passion, with movements ablaze with vibrant energy and personal flair. The couple’s dancing pattern matches the rhythm of the music. Here, the couple usually dances in one area of the dance floor. Included in this style are the Jive, Rumba, Cha Cha, Samba and Paso Doble.
In recent times dances such as the Argentine Tango, Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Kizomba & Zouk have gained popularity.
The word waltz is derived from the German term walzen which means ‘to revolve.’ It is a very popular ballroom dance that evolved from the Ländler as far back as the 18th century. Characterized by a step, slide and step in 3/4 time, the waltz, with its constant revolving, embracing couples, it resulted in shocking polite society when the style first caught on.
This dance features a close hold, a low center of gravity and an emphasis on contra body movement. Here, movement is stealthy, almost cat-like in manner with a sharp staccato feel and highly dramatic attitude. The Leader’s right arm goes further around and lower on the Follower’s back than in the other popular Smooth dances.
This style has dancers travelling across the dance floor (Bedinghaus) smoothly. The long walking movements are stride-like and contribute to the iconic rise and fall motion. The footwork consists of a mix of slow and quick steps. While slow steps take up two beats of the music, the quick steps take up one beat.
This is a beautiful, classic dance style often featured in romantic movies and animated films. It features sweeping, graceful turns that rotate quickly around the floor. Although it shares many similarities with the slow Waltz, it is danced at a much faster tempo— in fact, twice the speed of the Slow Waltz.
This style was developed in the 1920s in New York City and was first danced by Black Americans. Its origins are a combination of the Slow Foxtrot blended with the Charleston; a dance which is recognized as one of the precursors to what is called Swing Dancing today.
Cha Cha Cha
This style is best performed to authentic Cuban music, although in ballroom competitions it is often danced to Latin pop or Latin rock. Music for the international ballroom cha-cha-cha is energetic and has a steady beat, even involving complex polyrhythms.
Styles of cha-cha-cha dance could differ according to rhythmical structure. The original Cuban and the ballroom cha-cha-cha count is ‘one, two, three, cha-cha’, or ‘one, two, three, four-and.’ There’s a ‘street version’ where many social dancers count ‘one, two, cha-cha-cha,’ thus shifting the timing of the dance by a full beat of music. It is also interesting to note that the dance known as Salsa is the result of a similar timing shift of the Mambo.
This is an energetic and lively dance that is immensely popular across the world. A style that can be danced with or without a partner, it is all about syncopated rhythms, bouncing action and rolling hip movements.
This dance style, which could also be spelled rhumba, is a ballroom dance that has Afro-Cuban folk-dance origins. It became internationally popular in the early 20th century. This dance is best known for the dancers’ subtle side to side hip movements with the torso erect. The rumba is danced with a basic pattern of two quick side steps and a slow forward step.
This is a Latin dance which originated in Spain and is related to bullfighting. The Leader here is the male who represents the bullfighter, also known as the matador. The woman represents the bullfighter’s cape.
This dance style originated in the United States amongst African Americans in the early 1930s. The name is derived from a form of African-American vernacular slang, popularized in the 1930s by the publication of a dictionary by Cab Calloway, the famous jazz bandleader and singer. In competition ballroom dancing, the Jive is usually grouped with the Latin-inspired ballroom dances, although its roots are based on Swing dancing rather than Latin dancing.
This is a Latin dance, associated with the music genre of the same name. It was originally popularized in the United States in the 1960s in New York City. It is an amalgamation of Cuban dances, such as Mambo, Pachanga and Rumba, as well as American dances such as Swing and Tap.
This dance which originated in the 1960s in the Dominican Republic, complements a genre of Latin American Music that was born as a fusion between Merengue, Bolero and Son Cubano. In the beginning the word Bachata didn’t mean anything other than ‘party’ or ‘celebration.’ Later it progressed into a style of music.
The origins of this dance can be traced to the late-1970s Africa, with influences variably attributed to Angola. It features a slower, romantic, more sensuous rhythm than the traditional Angolan semba music.
What is known as Kizomba music emerged as a fusion of Semba, Angolan Merengue, Kilapanga and other Angolan music. While it slowed down the cadence of songs, it added a stronger bass line to the composition of instruments. Eduardo Paim is internationally recognized as the father/creator of Kizomba music. It was he and his band who took a lead role in developing this music style.