Formation dance

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Formation dance is a style of ballroom dancing. It is pattern or shadow team dancing by couples in a formation team. The choreography may be based on a particular dance or a medley of dances. Formation dancing may be done for exhibition or for competition between teams.[1] There is also a type of formation in Bhangra.

International Style Ballroom: Dance sport[edit]

Latin Formation Team TSC Blau-Silber Aachen


Formation dancing originated in 1932 in London's Astoria Ballroom. It was Olive Ripman who introduced it under the name "pattern dancing".[2] Soon it became a competitive dance form.[3]

Formation team contests began in the 1930s in England, and spread to many other countries. International matches have taken place. Formation dances were an important part of the BBC TV program Come Dancing when Frank and Peggy Spencer's formation teams competed against Constance Millington's team.[4][5] The peak of popularity was in the 1960s, and is now growing from strength to strength with formation teams from all over the world competing against each other.[6]


The choreography of a formation team includes both choreography of a dancesport routine of an individual couple and the overall pattern of movements of the couples on the floor. All couples are expected to follow the beat of the music and movements should be executed simultaneously. Teams are marked on their synchronicity

Latin Dancesport formation is a medley of dances that include the 5 International Latin dances: Cha Cha, Rumba, Jive, Paso Doble and Samba.

Standard or Ballroom formation is a medley of the 5 international ballroom dances Waltz, Quickstep, Tango, Viennese Waltz and Foxtrot.

The routines generally feature at least some free-form choreography in the walk on and walk off, which may include movements from jazz dance, ballet, or any other type of dance. This is clearly marked by a gong. A complete routine usually lasts a total of 6 minutes.

Formation routines allow dancers to show off their own technique in addition to their ability to move as a team. Unlike individual competitions tricks such as "round abouts", "chain reactions" form a large section of the choreography.

Shapes (also known as patterns or images) that are an accepted part of choreography are diamonds, squares, diagonals, circles and lines. The routine is judged by the distribution of competitors across the floor, how "readable" the patterns are and the transitions between these patterns.

Specialist formation choreographers include Ona Skaistutė Idzelevičienė,[7] Roberto Albanese,[8] Horst Beer,[9] and Rachael Holland.


The international governing body is the International DanceSport Federation (IDSF) (which has Olympic recognition[10]). Competing teams must be a member of one of its member organisations such as the English amateur dancesport association ltd (EADA)

The following is a summary of the IDSF rules for European and World Formation competitions.

  • Each member country may send 2 formation teams to compete in each of the 2 international styles (Latin and Standard).
  • These are selected by national competitions, such as the British National Championships at the Blackpool Dance Festival.
  • International competitions have a minimum of 4 countries
  • The usual sporting anti-doping rules apply.
  • All competitors must be amateurs.
  • Each team must contain between 6 and 8 couples.
  • In the standard section Men's dress must be black or midnight blue.
  • In Latin men may wear coloured shirts but all men must dress the same.
  • In standard formation, solo work is restricted to 8 bars. This does not apply in Latin where solo work usually plays a part.
  • Lifts are not allowed in the main "judged" part of the routine, but are usually allowed in the walk on and walk off, which is clearly marked by a gong.
  • A routine is a maximum of 6 minutes long including entry to and from the floor (a walk on and walk off). Only 4 and a half minutes of this is judged so a gong is used to clearly signify which sections are to be judged.
  • Competing teams are judged by those experienced in formation.

In early rounds, judges mark if they believe teams should go through to the next round. In final rounds teams are ranked and the skating system applies.

Other competitions of note are the Blackpool Dance Festival and the Donaupokal Invitational Competition Vienna. Germany is notable in having several leagues of formation teams, and holds several competitions each year.

Formation teams, 2013[edit]

This is a list of Adult Formation Teams competing in 2013 in the IDSF World Ranking Competition.[11] There were 22 Latin Teams and 18 Standard teams that compete annually in the World Cup

Country Latin Formation Team Standard Formation Team
Austria HSV Zwölfaxing, TSC Schwarz Gold
Belarus DC Mara, Minsk Univers Formation-team, Minsk
Bulgaria Ogosta Dance
Czech Republic TK 1976 Most, TKG Hlinsko TK TŠ Starlet Brno, TK Chvaletice
England Fever Latin Team Preston

XS Latin (TDE Manchester)

Germany Grün-Gold-Club Bremen, FG TSZ Aachen/TD TSC Düsseldorf Rot-Weiß TC Ludwigsburg, Braunschweiger TSC
Hungary Gála TE, Botafogo Dance Ensemble Szilver TSE, Ködmön TSE
Lithuania Klaipėda University DSC "Žuvėdra" (A and B)
Moldova Codreanca
Mongolia Moon dance formation Mongolia Ulaan Sarnai Mongolia, Khatantuul Mongolia
Netherlands Double-V (A and B), Dance Explosion Step in Time, Dance Impression, Old-Forest
Poland KS Kamion Dance Warsaw, Dance Formation A-z Przemysl, Dance Formation SPIN Wodzislaw Slaski, Dance Formation Takt-Chelm, LA CMG Radom LOTOS-Jantar, Kadry
Romania Floris Dance Team Floris Dance Team
Russia Vera Tjumen, DSC Tsveta Radugi Impulse
Serbia Vracar Formation Team
Slovakia KTS Interklub Madit, TC Košice
Wales Ystrad Fawr Latin Team


Below are the Winners of IDSF World Championships

Year Venue Standard Result Venue Latin Result
1995 Stuttgart, Germany 1. TC Ludwigsburg, Germany Berlin TSG Bremerhaven, Germany
1996 Berlin, Germany 1. TC Ludwigsburg, Germany Vilnius TSC Schwarz-Gelb Aachen, Germany
1997 Kishinev, Moldova DSC Kodryanka Kishinev, Moldova Munich TSC Schwarz-Gelb Aachen, Germany
1998 Berlin, Germany Allround Berlin, Germany Gothenburg TSC Schwarz-Gelb Aachen, Germany
1999 Elbląg, Poland Jantar Elblag Jantar Elblag Poland Vilnius Žuvėdra Klaipėda University, Lithuania
2000 Braunschweig, Germany Braunschweiger TSC, Germany Wels (Stadt) TSG Bremerhaven, Germany
2001 Berlin, Germany DSC Kodryanka Kishinev, Moldova Bremerhaven TSG Bremerhaven, Germany
2002 Kishinev, Moldova DSC Kodryanka Kishinev, Moldova Vilnius Žuvėdra Klaipėda University, Lithuania
2003 Stuttgart DSC Kodryanka Kishinev, Moldova Essen Žuvėdra Klaipėda University, Lithuania
2004 Braunschweig, Germany Braunschweiger TSC, Germany Minsk Žuvėdra Klaipėda University, Lithuania
2005 Elblag, Poland Braunschweiger TSC, Germany Munich Žuvėdra Klaipėda University, Lithuania
2006 Moscow, Russia Vera Tyumen, Russia Bremen Grün-Gold-Club Bremen Germany
2007 Stuttgart, Germany 1. TC Ludwigsburg, Germany Bremerhaven Grün-Gold-Club Bremen, Germany
2008 Kishinev, Moldova DSC Kodryanka Kishinev, Moldova Wiener Neustadt, Austria Žuvėdra Klaipėda University, Lithuania
2009 Ludwigsburg Germany [12] 1. TC Ludwigsburg, Germany Bremen, Germany [13] Grün-Gold-Club Bremen, Germany
2010 Elblag, Poland [14] FS LOTUS Jantar Elblag, Poland Moscow, Russia [15] Vera Tyumen, Russia
2011 Braunschweig, Germany Braunschweiger TSC, Germany Vilnius, Lithuania Žuvėdra Klaipėda University, Lithuania
2012 Ludwigsburg, Germany Braunschweiger TSC, Germany Bremen, Germany Grün-Gold-Club Bremen, Germany
2013 Tyumen, Russia Vera Tyumen, Russia Bremen, Germany Grün-Gold-Club Bremen, Germany
2014 Braunschweig, Germany Braunschweiger TSC, Germany Bremen, Germany Grün-Gold-Club Bremen, Germany
2015 Ludwigsburg, Germany 1. TC Ludwigsburg, Germany Wiener Neustadt, Austria Grün-Gold-Club Bremen, Germany
2016 Pécs, Hungary Vera Tyumen, Russia Bremen, Germany Grün-Gold-Club Bremen, Germany
2017 Braunschweig, Germany Vera Tyumen, Russia Vienna Austria DUET Perm, Russia

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Spencer, Frank and Peggy 1968. Come dancing. Allen, London. Chapter 3, p33.
  2. ^ History of Dancesport by Dancesport Ireland Archived January 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Classes and Cultures: England 1918–1951", by Ross McKibbin (2000) ISBN 0-19-820855-3, p. 405
  4. ^ Peggy Spencer Talks to BBC about Starting Formation Dancing
  5. ^ ISTD History of Formation[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ ""Formation Dancing"". Archived from the original on 2011-10-04. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
  7. ^ Biography of Žuvedra Coach Archived 2004-05-09 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ German Wikipedia Biography of Roberto Albanese
  9. ^ German Wikepdia Biography of Horst Beer
  10. ^ Certificate of Olympic recognition of IDSF Archived June 26, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Formatieteams wereldwijd". Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  12. ^ "ProDance Competition Results 28.11.09".
  13. ^ "IDSF World Formation Latin".
  14. ^
  15. ^

External links[edit]