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DancePedia - Basic Ballroom Dance Vocabulary

International style ballroom danceInternational Style

The internationally recognized style ballroom dancing. For the five "standard" dances the couples remain in closed position throughout the dances. 10 International Style dances are divided into two categories: Standard - Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot and Quickstep; and Latin - Samba, Cha-Cha, Rumba, Paso Doble and Jive.







American Style Ballroom danceAmerican Style

A type of Ballroom dancing which evolved from social dancing and is now a fully recognized competitive style. 9 main American dances are divided into two groups: American Smooth - Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot and Viennese Waltz; and American Rhythm - Cha-Cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing, Bolero and Mambo.


a standardized step pattern

Lead and follow in dancingFollowing

the ability of the follower to react correctly to the signals given by the leader through physical and visual connection. The act of moving a fraction of a second later that the leader, and yet still be on time.


effective communication of intended actions by the leader through the use of leader's own body movement and through one or more physical or visual connections to the follower.

Dance stepsStep

the transfer of weight from one foot to another. Frequently used to mean the same thing as figure or pattern of steps.




Rise and Fall in ballroom danceRise and Fall

Coming up on your the toes by bracing the ankles and stretching the spine then lowering to the heels.

Ballroom dance frameFrame

posture, body position and arm position for the purpose of maintaining connection.

Contra Body movement in ballroom danceContra Body Movement

a movement of the body which turns the opposite hip and shoulder toward the direction of the moving leg. Often used to begin turning movements. Abbreviated CBM.

Cuban motion in Latin dancingCuban Motion

Hip motion resulting from alternate bending and straightening of the knees.

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