List of DanceSport dances

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An amateur DanceSport competition at MIT.

The dances that make up the list of DanceSport dances are performed competitively at amateur and professional levels throughout the world. Ten international style ballroom dances—five Standard and five Latin—are defined by the World Dance Council (WDC), which has world-wide membership of all countries taking part in ballroom competitions.

The WDC incorporates various groupings and former titles, such as the World Dance and DanceSport Council (former title). The WDC is the governing body for international professional and amateur DanceSport. The World DanceSport Federation is, to some extent, a rival body which issues rules for amateur competitions.[1] The list is supplemented by nine American style dances—four Smooth and five Rhythm—which are defined by United States dance organizations, such as USA Dance, (formerly USABDA, the United States Amateur Ballroom Dancers Association).

Besides determining which dances are performed, these organizations specify many other aspects of their competitions, for instance, the tempo of music allowed and the duration of each competition round.

WDC International style dances[edit]

Within World Dance Council international competitions are two categories of dances, Ballroom (also called Standard or Modern) and Latin.[2] In England (e.g. at the Blackpool Dance Festival), the categories are traditionally called Ballroom and Latin American dances respectively. In the Ballroom dances, men typically wear evening dress (coattails, waistcoats and white bow ties), while women wear gowns. Partners remain in closed position throughout the dance, and movements tend to be elegant and sweeping. The ballroom dances are progressive, moving anti-clockwise round the floor.

The Latin dances are more overtly sensual, with skimpy costumes for women and tight-fitting ones for men.[3] More variation in movement is allowed than in the Standard dances. Close, semi-open and open figures are danced. Choreography is now extremely important. Hip action - Latin technique is required; and athletic and balletic maneuvers are incorporated which makes it into a DanceSport. Two Latin dances are progressive going counter clockwise (samba and paso doble), but there is no obligation to consistently move round the floor.[4]


Name WDSF tempo (MPM)[5] WDC tempo (MPM)[6] WDSF dancing time (seconds)[5] WDC dancing time (seconds)[6]
Waltz 28–30 28 90–120 90–120
Tango 31–33 32 90–120 90–120
Viennese Waltz 58–60 60 90–120 75–90
Slow Foxtrot 28–30 28 90–120 90–120
Quickstep 50–52 50 90–120 90–120


Name WDSF tempo (MPM)[5] WDC tempo (MPM)[7] WDSF dancing time (seconds)[5] WDC dancing time (seconds)[6]
Cha-cha-cha 30–32 30 90–120 90–120
Samba 50–52 48 90–120 90–120
Rumba 25–27 24 90–120 90–120
Paso Doble 60–62 56 90–120 90–120
Jive 42–44 42 90–120 90–120

American style[edit]

The Smooth and Rhythm categories of American style DanceSport roughly correspond to the Standard and Latin categories of International style. In Smooth, dancers wear costumes not greatly dissimilar to those worn by their counterparts in Standard---Standard dresses often have prominent floats embellishing the arms and fuller skirts which are typically absent in Smooth, due to the open movement and changing arm positions requiring less restriction on the body; however, the dances themselves are significantly different as a result of influence by dancers like Fred Astaire and Arthur Murray in the years following World War II. While elegance and flow remain the goal, as in International Standard, dancers do not remain in closed position exclusively, instead breaking away from each other periodically and experimenting with open footwork. The Rhythm dances were also influenced by American dancers of the post-World War II era, but the differences between it and International Latin are more subtle. Costumes are similar, and while step patterns are not identical, movements are as free and explicitly sensual as in Latin.[8]


Name USABDA tempo (MPM)[9] USABDA dancing time (seconds)[10]
Waltz 28–30 90–120
Tango 30–32 90–120
Foxtrot 30–32 90–120
Viennese Waltz 54 90


Name USABDA tempo (MPM)[9] USABDA dancing time (seconds)[10]
Cha-cha-cha 30 90–120
Rumba 32–36 90–120
East Coast Swing 34–36 90–120
Bolero 24–26 90–120
Mambo 47–51 90–120

See also[edit]


  • "WDSF Competition Rules" (PDF). World DanceSport Federation. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  • "WDC Competition Rules August 2014" (PDF). World Dance Council. Archived from the original (PDF document) on December 9, 2014. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
  • "WDC Competition Rules June 2015" (PDF document). World Dance Council. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  • Picart, Caroline Joan (2006). From Ballroom to Dancesport: Aesthetics, Athletics, and Body Culture. Albany: State University of New York. ISBN 978-0-7914-6629-2.
  • "WD&DSC Competition Rules". World Dance and DanceSport Council. Retrieved October 10, 2006.
  • "2006-2007 USA DanceSport Rulebook" (PDF). United States Amateur Ballroom Dancers Association. Archived from the original (PDF document) on October 12, 2006. Retrieved October 10, 2006.


  1. ^ See the linked pages for details.
  2. ^ This is the present WDC terminology.
  3. ^ Originally, 1930–1960, clothing for latin dance was similar to ballroom, with at least dinner jackets and black tie for men, and simple dress for women, with skirts shorter than the ballroom gowns.
  4. ^ Picart, 89-90, 92-96
  5. ^ a b c d WDSF Competition Rules 2015, rules E.3.1 and E.3.2
  6. ^ a b c "WDC Rulebook, August 2014, section 2.1" (PDF). WDC. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 April 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  7. ^ "WDC Competition Rules, June 2016". World Dance Council.
  8. ^ Picart, 90-95
  9. ^ a b 2006-2007 USA DanceSport Rulebook, section 3.5
  10. ^ a b 2006-2007 USA DanceSport Rulebook, section 3.4