If you tell someone you are interested in taking ballroom dancing, they might have a very definite idea of what type of dance you are talking about. And if you ask someone what ballroom dance is, you could get very different answers, depending on a person’s level of familiarity with this activity. In this week’s blog, we will attempt to briefly sketch out some of the differences between styles of dance. We are Arthur Murray Dance Centers of Washington, D.C. We have seven locations and offer many dance classes for dancers of every level. There are two schools of dance that are taught at most ballroom dance studios, and we are no different. We offer both International Style and American Style.


International Style

This style of dance includes the standard dances including the waltz, tango, Viennese waltz, and the Latin dances, which include cha-cha, samba, rumba, paso doble, and the jive. This style of dance has two clear hallmarks. One of these hallmarks is the closed position of the dancers. This style is more prevalent in Europe and is more strict about foot position. This type was practiced in America until WWII when Americans started making their own developments.


The American Style

American style dances include the smooth dances such as the waltz, tango, foxtrot, and the Vienne Waltz. The dancers in this category are allowed to use more relaxed, open positions and even solo actions. This style evolved from social dancing that is taught at dance schools such as Arthur Murray and did so as a result of American’s resistance to the strict rules about foot positions that characterize the international style.


Social Dances

These dances are more for fun than falling under the “ballroom” flag. This is not to say they are not strictly taught and judged. In this category are the hustle, salsa, merengue, west coast swing, Argentine tango, Lindy, and hip-hop.


Western Dances

As you can see from our website, we teach a number of dances that fall into American style, as well as social dance. One type of dance we have not touched on is country dances. We offer dance lessons in Country Western Swing, Country Western Two-Step, Country Western Waltz, and Country Western Shuffle.  CAPSSSS

Western dances developed in America, though they are very popular in Europe as well as in the states. These dances are popular for couples to do together and have two unique characteristics: the dances are performed to country and western music and they include a promenade. Additionally, according to Wikipedia, “Country dancing is informal. Because of cowboy boots, country western dance is more likely to feature a flat-footed glide with some heel and toe touches rather than a lot of ‘toe type’ dancing. In addition to a quiet upper body, there is very little hip movement. Pumping of the hands, bouncing, and waddling are not encouraged.”
If you are interested in learning any of these dances, or more about the dances we teach, call one of our conveniently located dance studios around the D.C. area. Call today!