The Dances

'Dancesport' is a term used to describe competitive Ballroom and Latin American Dancing.  There are five dances in both disciplines. By the end of the year, you should have some experience in all ten dances.  Both styles of dance are partner dances which are enjoyed by many both socially and competitively. These dances are often featured in popular media such as on the stage in Burn the Floor, in the film Strictly Ballroom and on the popular television show Strictly Come Dancing.



The ballroom section of a competition consists of five core dances - Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz and Quickstep.  All dances move around the room in an anti-clockwise direction and are characterised by the close ballroom hold.


The Waltz is generally the first dance taught in classes.  It is a slow, 3/4 time dance that originated from an Austrian-German folk dance.  Competitively it is timed 28-30 bars per minute (BPM) and has a pronounced first beat in a bar.  It is known for its elegance, smooth transitions and soft flowing movement.


Tango as danced today, originated from the Argentine Tango in the 1880s. It is characterised for the passion and staccato actions seen throughout. Danced with a certain finesse, it's timed 4/4 and is danced 31-33 BPM. It is a powerful dance, with the walks danced in a stalking nature.


Originating in England, it evolved from a combination of other styles like the Foxtrot and Charleston. The tempo of the Quickstep is faster, around 50 BPM and is timed 4/4.  It is characterised by the syncopated hop, skips and jumps seen when danced by advanced dancers. It can be a very fun and energetic dance.

Viennese Waltz

The original Waltz, made popular by Strauss, was the first Ballroom dance performed in closed hold.  A faster version of the Slow Waltz, it's danced 58-60 BPM and is recognised by its traditional rotary style. Due to the intensity of rotation and speed it can be a hard dance to master.


The Foxtrot, like the Waltz is one of the slowest ballroom dances, 28-30 BPM.  It's rhythm is 4/4 timing and is danced with a broken rather than even beat. It is a sophisticated dance characterised by continuous flowing movements around the dance floor.  Created by Harry Fox in the USA, the quickstep evolved as a faster version.


Latin American dances are very different to Ballroom styles, with a more fun feeling. Originating from Latin America, the five core dances in competitive Latin are the Cha Cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble and Jive.

Cha Cha

The Cha Cha is often the first Latin dance taught to beginners, characterised by the "two-three-cha-cha-cha" rhythm.  Its timed 4/4 and is danced competitively at 30-32 BPM.  A dance originated from Cuba, it is known for its compact style and flirtatious style.


The Rumba is the slowest of the Latin dances at a tempo of 26-28 BPM in 4/4 timing. A Cuban dance, it is said to be the dance of love, shown by the intimate figures danced. It can be one of the most intimate dances outside of salsa and Bachata.


Originating from the USA, the Jive is one of the faster Latin dances, deriving from the Jitterbug. It is known for its speed and precision where dancers require a quick leg action. It is a non-progressive dance, timed at 4/4 and danced at a 42-44 BPM speed. 


The Paso Doble comes from Spain and is the dance of the bullfight, modeled on moves made by the matador. The man represents the matador and the lady the cape. It is a progressive dance which is the only dance choreographed exactly to the music. 


The party dance, the Samba evolved as a carnival dance from Rio de Janeiro. It is one of only two travelling dances in this genre. It has a different hip action to the cuban dance, mainly the bounce action. It is a 2/4 or 4/4 timed dance and is danced 50 BPM.

Other Dances


Many of our members, as well as being diehard Ballroom and Latin dancers, are also Salsa fanatics! Salsa is a Latin dance which originates from the Americas. The main styles are New York and Cuban. It involves fast footwork, lots of spins and a few flips and dips. Salsa is seen in a lot of dance films

Rock & Roll

At competitions Rock & Roll has two categories - Acrobatic and Non-Acrobatic.  It is a very fun and lively dance, originating from Swing.  In the Acrobatic section, elements are allowed where the follow is lifted by the lead while the Non-Acrobatic ensures that both dancers have at least one foot on the floor at all times.

Sequence Dance

A style of dancing following a set routine where all dancers dance the same routine at the same time.  Sequence is an event danced at some of the friendly competitions and the Northern finals. The Mayfair Quickstep is most commonly used;  a very fun and easy dance to pick up by copying the person in front!

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