Dance Styles & Categories
Dance styles will probably be broken into several main categories. So far I’ve come up with Standard, Latin, Swing, Country/Western, Night Club, Country/Folk, and Freestyle. Please feel free to suggest others.
Ballroom and Standard/Latin or Smooth/Rhythm
There are two major Ballroom dance syllabuses available in Winnipeg and throughout the world. Ted Motyka Dance Studio teaches International Ballroom and other studios usually teach North American Ballroom. Both teach the same dances with slightly different steps and directions. Each has it’s own strength and purpose. As someone who dances both styles, all I can say is that they are equal to all but those who prefer one style over the other.
Each syllabus teaches five dances in each of two categories. International Ballroom refers to the dances characterized by travelling or walking along the line of dance as “Standard”. North American Ballroom refers to these five dances as “Smooth” because of their smoothness of movement. The “Standard”’ or “Smooth” dances are Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Quickstep, and Viennese Waltz.
International Ballroom refers to the five non-travelling or stationery dances as “Latin” because of their Latin American origins and influences. North American Ballroom refers to these five dances as “Rhythm” because of their rhythmic style. The “Latin” or “Rhythm” dances are Rumba, Cha-Cha, Jive, Samba, and Paso Doble.
For the purpose of this section all that matters is that what International Ballroom calls “Standard”, North American Ballroom calls “Smooth”, and what International Ballroom calls “Latin”, North American Ballroom calls “Rhythm”. I shall use the International Ballroom names for my categories because I find them more descriptive for my purposes.
These are the walking or travelling dances most commonly associated with Ballroom dancing, Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Quickstep, Viennese Waltz. Though Tango is included in this section because of it’s travelling/walking characteristic, it may be moved to the Latin section of this page, the better to relate the development of the musical style associated with Tango and the historical development of Ballroom Tango from Argentine Tango.
Any dance with Latin American music or dance origins. If it’s got a Latin sound, I categorize it as Latin. Here you will find the Ballroom Latin dances Cha-Cha, Rumba, Samba, Jive (which will serve to connect us to the Swing dances) and Paso Doble. You will also find Mambo, Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Bolero, Cumbia, Lambada, Argentine Tango and some lesser known ones like Maxixe (aka Brazilian Tango).
Swing music has been very popular from as far back as the 1920s (Lindy Hop). In this section I’ll include Lindy Hop, Charleston, Jitterbug, East Coast Swing, and West Coast Swing .Also some of the lesser known variants like Balboa, Shag (Collegiate, Carolina, and St. Louis), Boogie Woogie, Country/Western Swing, Push, and Whip.
I’m also inclined to include Jive in Swing as well as Latin because Jive, while definitely a dance with strong Latin roots, also has strong Swing roots.
I will need some help with this section because I’m not as knowledgeable about Country as I am about other dance styles. Your input is more than welcome. For now, expect to see Country/Western Swing, Cowboy Cha-Cha, Line Dance, Square Dance (Western Contemporary, Modern), Two Step, and Clogging.
Night Club dances are usually those dances danced by couples in club settings that don’t really belong specifically in any other category. Though there is often overlap with others styles, Night Club dances have developed into certain unique styles sufficiently for them to warrant a category of their own. Disco and variants belong here, as does Modern Jive, LeRoc and Ceroc. I would also include Slow Fox and Night Club Two Step in this category.
Dances usually associated with rural or ethnic groups and ordinary “folk”. “Country” refers to non-urban or specific ethnic groups, and “folk” used to mean the dances of the common people rather than the dances of the aristocracy. Many of the Ballroom and Latin dances we now know had their roots in country or folk dances. Country/Folk dances are dances like Clogging, Cumbia (original, older style), Mazurka, English Morris and Maypole dances, and Schottische.