Ballroom and Latin Dance Styles
Ballroom dance or dancesport can be enjoyed both socially and competitively. Ballroom dancing is broken down into two major styles: American and International.
The American Style, mainly danced in the United States, is one of the two styles of ballroom dancing that is also gaining worldwide popularity. This style is most commonly danced in social dance parties and is usually the starting point of those learning how to ballroom dance in the United States. Popular on the Competition floor as well, the American Style is broken down into two categories: Smooth and Rhythm
Smooth dances are characterized by their fluid movement across the floor. The dances are characteristic of “Fred and Ginger” and include Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, and Viennese Waltz.
Unlike the Smooth dances, Rhythm dances generally stay in a smaller, confined area of the dance floor. As the name suggests, the rhythmical nature of these dances allow you to really get loose on the dance floor. These dances include Cha Cha, Rumba, Swing, Bolero, and Mambo (similar to Salsa).
International Style is recognized all over the world and is the most familiar style in ballroom competitions. It’s very technique oriented and require lots of training to dance it well. Because of the style’s competitive nature, it’s a bit harder to dance socially unless two people really know what they’re doing. There are some subtle differences and not-so-subtle differences between the International and American styles such as the tempo, technique and hold positions. International style is broken down into two categories: Standard and Latin.
International Standard is “Fred and Ginger” competitive style. The couple never separates nor dance side-by-side which is common in the American Smooth style. The dances are pretty much the same as the American Smooth (i.e., Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, and Viennese Waltz) with one more dance added, the Quickstep. Strict technique and keeping the frame is key in competitions.
Like the American Rhythm dances, Latin dances generally stay in a small, confined area of the dance floor but a lot goes on in that space. You do lot’s of rhythm, body ticks, jumping around, and all sorts of body isolations which let’s you really get loose on the dance floor. Again, the style shares some of the American Rhythm dances (i.e., Cha Cha, rumba, and Jive- a form of swing, albeit they are danced at a different tempo) with the addition of the Samba and Paso Doble (the dance of the bull fight).
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