Generally, they move in 1 of 3 ways on the floor:
(For more info on individual dances, click on any one of the dance names from the drop down menu for more detailed info, video examples of the dance, and music playlists!)
S = Slow = 2 beats of music
Q = Quick = 1 beat of music
BPM = Beats Per Minute
ALL forms of structured partner dancing are considered a ballroom dance.
Men typically (but not always*) begin their steps and patterns forward on the Left foot. (*Some International patterns, East Coast Swing, Bolero, Jive, West Coast Swing, and Night Club 2-Step are exceptions to this rule).
Ladies typically (but not always*) begin their steps and patterns backward on the Right foot. (*Some International patterns and West Coast Swing are exceptions to this rule).
(Dances shown in black we do not teach at our studio.)
American Smooth Dances
|American Rhythm Dances||International Standard Dances||International Latin Dances||Social Latin Dances||Social Swing Dances||Country Dances||Other Social Dances|
|Foxtrot||Rumba||Slow Foxtrot||Rumba||Salsa||East Coast Swing a.k.a. Jitterbug|
|Waltz||Cha Cha||Waltz||Cha Cha||Casino Rueda||Lindy Hop||East Coast Swing||Polka|
|Viennese Waltz||East Coast Swing||Viennese Waltz||Samba||Bachata||Shag (Collegiate & Carolina)||Night Club||Night Club 2-Step|
|Tango||Bolero||Tango||Paso Doble||Merengue||West Coast Swing|
|Kizomba||West Coast Swing|
Tel: 707.761.5214 Hours: Monday-Thursday 6-10pm and by appointment
Between Smooth & Standard: One of the biggest differences between American Smooth dance styles and International Standard dance styles is the dance positions used. American Smooth uses many different positions including, but not limited to closed, promenade, outside partner, fall-away, open, shadow and side by side positions. In International Standard dance styles they are more limited to closed, promenade, outside partner and fall-away dance positions which are all kept in close contact to the partner. Next time you’re watching a ballroom competition on TV., you can impress your friends by telling them whether it’s American Smooth they’re doing or International Standard simply by observing what holds the partners are using.
Between Rhythm & Latin: A big difference between American Rhythm dance styles and International Latin dance styles is in the use of Cuban Motion (the motion of the hips and ribs used through knee action). In American Rhythm styles the dancer will land on the standing leg with a bent knee and straighten as the working leg moves to its next position. In International Latin styles the dancer will land on the standing leg with a straight knee and only the working leg’s knee will bend as it is coming through to the next step. I’ve heard the difference be described as a STEP, PULL for American, and as a STEP, DRAG for International.
In General: In American, men always step forward on their left foot to begin, and ladies back on their right (excluding Bolero which begins to the side, and East Coast Swing where both partners begin back, though I consider E.C. Swing to be more of a Social dance). In International, a man may start forward on either foot, as well the lady back on either foot for some of the dances and patterns (excluding Jive where both partners begin back).
(Answers are as I’ve experienced and noted)