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What are the Different Styles of Ballroom Dance?

International Standard, International Latin, American Smooth, American Rhythm, American Nightclub

For those considering beginning Adult Ballroom Dance classes, the landscape can be confusing. We often get asked not only what the difference is between American or International Ballroom Dance but also, where one should begin. These are good questions and we are here to help.

American Style Ballroom

The easiest way to think about American Style Ballroom, or what we call Social Style, is what you would find at a company event, a wedding, at nightclubs or on vacation.

American Ballroom includes American Smooth, American Rhythm and American Nightclub. American Smooth and Rhythm consists of 12 main dances: Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Cha Cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, Bolero, Mambo, Samba and Merengue. There are 5 American Nightclub dances; Salsa, Lindy Hop, Hustle, Night Club 2 Step and Argentine Tango.

American Ballroom is danced most often at Ballroom Socials, which offer the perfect environment for practicing what you’ve learned as well as meeting great new people. American style is also danced in competitions and like International, is danced at different medal levels (Bronze, Silver, Gold).

Both International and American are part of the Teacher Training Certification Program offered at Joy of Dance.

The beginner student will find the transition into dancing American Style quite smooth along with the ability to progress into technique or competitions very attainable.

International Style Ballroom

International Style is more widely know and danced throughout out the European and Asian communities. It is more commonly done in a competitive form although, we at Joy of Dance, encourage you to also dance International Style at Socials in order to build up your skills.

International style ballroom has 2 divisions: International Latin and International Standard. It is danced at the Bronze, Silver and Gold medal levels and in competitions throughout the world.

International Style Ballroom includes: 5 Standard dances: Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango Viennese Waltz and Quickstep and 5 Latin dances consisting of Cha Cha, Rumba, Jive, Samba and Paso Doble.

The Beginner student choosing International will be more of the type that likes a technique and routine based foundation.

Which Should You Start With?

If you are completely new to Ballroom dance, we suggest the first thing you do is take an assessment with one of our professional ballroom teachers. In this situation your dance goals and preferences can be thoroughly explored. This is, we feel, the most important first step. The second step is to begin with the basics so your body and mind embrace the fundamentals of whatever style you choose. You’ll be able to see your progression with your teacher and feel more confident as you grow.

Hopefully this has been of some help to those thinking about entering the Ballroom community. We welcome the questions and we love the interest. We hope to see you soon and as always,
Happy Dancing!

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