Know Your Dances: Dance Styles Explained - with Music & Video Samples of Each Dance

Copyright © 2013 by Goldcoast Ballroom, Inc.

International Standard Ballroom Dancing (image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)When you hear a piece of music, do you immediately recognize what dance you would do to this music?

To help you become acquainted with the different styles of dancing and the sound, beat, timing, and rhythm of music for each dance, here is a general description of the dances included in “ballroom dancing,” along with samples of beautiful music for each of them and links to videos of professionals doing each dance:

International Standard Ballroom Dances:

International Style Ballroom dancing is the classical style of ballroom dancing that is done throughout the world, with the same standard dances, patterns (figures), steps, and technique worldwide. This style of dancing was developed primarily in England, and is now regulated by the World Dance Council (WDC).

This is a style of dancing done as a couple, in closed (or promenade) dance hold (exemplified by the image above – showing a professional world competitive couple performing an International Standard dance). International Style Ballroom does not involve open, side-by-side positions or extended and reaching arms, such as typify American Style Smooth dancing (see below).

The five International Standard dances are listed below, along with samples of the type of music to which each dance is done, and links to videos illustrating the dance. The timing (count) and regulation tempo or speed of the music (in bars per minute) for each of these dances — as recognized by the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF), formerly known as the International DanceSport Federation (IDSF) — is indicated below the name of the dance:

Click Below to See Music and Video Samples of the International Standard Ballroom Dances:

Click to See Music & Video Samples of International Standard Ballroom Dances

Click to See Music & Video Samples of the
International Standard Ballroom Dances

 

American Style Smooth Ballroom Dances:

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)American Style Smooth Ballroom dancing is called that because it is a style of dancing that was pioneered, developed, and is popular in the United States. The dancing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers is the classic example of American Style Smooth dancing.

American Style Smooth dancing is generally typified by a combination of open (side by side) patterns and figures, with dramatic extended and reaching arm positions, along with some dancing in closed position (as a couple in closed dance hold).

The four American Style Smooth Ballroom Dances are listed below, along with samples of the music for each dance and links to videos illustrating the dance. The regulation timing, as recognized by the National Dance Council of America (NDCA), is indicated for each dance:

Click Below to See Music and Video Samples of the American Style Smooth Ballroom Dances:

Click to See Music & Video Samples of American Style Smooth Ballroom Dances

Click to See Music & Video Samples of the
American Style Smooth Ballroom Dances

 

International Style Professional Latin Dancing (image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)

International Style Latin Dances:

International Style Latin Dancing is the classical style of Latin dancing that is done throughout the world, with the same standard dances, patterns (figures), steps, and technique worldwide.

The five fast-paced International Latin dances are listed below, along with samples of the type of music to which each dance is done and links to videos illustrating the dance.

The regulation timing and tempo (speed) of each dance, as recognized by the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF), is indicated beneath the name of each dance:

Click Below to See Music and Video Samples of the International Style Latin Dances:

Click to See Music & Video Samples of the International Style Latin Dances

Click to See Music & Video Samples of the
International Style Latin Dances

 

 

American Style Rhythm Dances:

Bolero - An American Rhythm Dance

Bolero – An American Rhythm Dance

American Style Rhythm dances, which are included in American Style ballroom competitions, loosely correspond to the Latin category of dances in International Style ballroom.

The American Style Rhythm dances include Cha-cha-cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing, Bolero, Mambo, and sometimes may also include Samba and West Coast Swing. The music sounds the same as or similar to that for the corresponding International Style Latin dances, except that the International dances in general are slightly faster.

Following are the five American Style Rhythm dances included in American Style ballroom competitions, along with samples of music for each and links to videos illustrating each dance. The regulation timing, as recognized by the National Dance Council of America (NDCA), is indicated for each dance:

 

Click Below to See Music and Video Samples of the American Style Rhythm Dances:

Click to See Music & Video Samples of  the American Style Rhythm Dances

Click to See Music & Video Samples of the
American Style Rhythm Dances

 

Other Social Dances:

Disco Mirror Ball - Disco Hustle is one of many popular Other Social DancesIn addition to the International Standard Ballroom Dances, American Smooth Ballroom Dances, International Latin Dances, and American Rhytym Dances, Goldcoast Ballroom teaches several other popular social dances – which broadly fall under the heading: “Other Social Dances.” Among these Other Social Dances are:

Nightclub:
Nightclub Two-step – Hustle – Modern Jive / LeRoc / Ceroc – and the whole swing variety: West Coast Swing / East Coast Swing/ Lindy Hop (always included in the “Rhythm-Swing” category) / Carolina Shag / Collegiate Shag

Latin nightclub:
Merengue – Salsa – Cumbia – Mambo – Porro – Cha cha

Brazilian Dances:
Forró – Pagode – Samba de Gafieira – Lambada – Zouk

Country/Western:
Country Western Polka – Country Western Two-step – Country Western Waltz

Cajun dances:
Cajun One Step or Cajun Jig – Cajun Two Step – Zydeco – Cajun Waltz – Cajun Jitterbug

Historical/Vintage Dances:
Polka – Schottische – One-Step – Peabody

Click Below to See Music and Video Samples of Some of these Other Social Dances:

Click to See Music & Video Samples of  Some of these Other Social Dances

Click to See Music & Video Samples of
Some of these Other Social Dances

 

Argentine Tango:

Argentine Tango, a Popular Dance (image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)

Argentine Tango, now a hugely popular dance, is performed here in the streets of Buenos Aires (image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)

Argentine tango is now a hugely popular dance in the U.S. and throughout the world.

This dance is performed to music of 4/4 timing, that is characterized by a melancholy and nostalgic feeling, expressed both in the lyrics and in the music which typically includes the somewhat whiny and uniquely Argentine instrument, the bandoneón.

The Tango originated in Buenos Aires at the ending of the 19th century. It has spread internationally, and grown widely in popularity.

 

Click Below to See Music and Video Samples of the Argentine Tango:

Click to See Music & Video Samples of the Argentine Tango

Click to See Music & Video Samples of the
Argentine Tango

 

 

At Goldcoast Ballroom, we teach group classes and our instructors give private lessons in all of the above International Standard, American Smooth, International Latin, and American Rhythm dances, plus Argentine Tango, and most all of the other dances listed above.

We also play music for all of the dances listed above at our Social Dances, Practice Sessions, and Parties.

For more information about our schedule of classes, dances and events, see our CALENDAR, our Dynamic Gallery of What’s Happening on our Home page, and our NEWS page.

For information on our World Class Instructors, see our INSTRUCTORS page.

 

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Copyright © 2013 Goldcoast Ballroom, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Note: The above music samples are shared courtesy of Grooveshark, a service that provides music free for public listening and sharing, under an arrangement that pays fair compensation to the artists and music rights holders for making their music available for sharing via Grooveshark.

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