– the dominant beat of the music measure, usually the first beat of the measure. accent
– slowly developed movements such as attitudes, arabesques, and develops where adage, adagio
only one foot is in contact with the floor.
– fast movements where only one foot is in contact with the floor. These include kicks and allegro
- A combination of two or more patterns or movements. amalgamation
- The American style smooth dances allow the dancers to be in open positions American style
allowing much freedom of choreography. The nine dances of American style ballroom dances are divided into two groups: 1) Smooth style consisting of: foxtrot, waltz, tango, and Viennese waltz and
2) Rhythm style consisting of: cha cha, rumba, East Coast Swing, bolero, and mambo.
- The anchor step is a stationary triple step danced in third foot position to the timing of anchor step
1&2. It is popular in the west coast swing.
- Half of a quick count (half of a beat). and
- A pose with one leg stretched straight out to the back and one arm arabesque
usually stretched out to the front. The back leg may be on the floor or at 45, 90,
or 135 degrees. These angles are measured from the vertical. So, 90 degrees
means parallel to the floor.
- A pose. As with the arabesque, the working leg is raised. But unlike the attitude
arabesque, it is bent, not straight, and, also unlike the arabesque, it can be done
to the front, the side, or the back. In attitude to the front or the back, if the angle is
90 degrees, the calf should be as nearly horizontal as possible.
- Sometimes referred to as the "blues music of the Dominican Republic" this Latin dance bachata
was developed there, borrowing from the Cuban bolero.
See the Bachata Learning Area for more information >>
- A step in any direction, followed by a close (no weight) and a hold. balance step
- A change of weight from the ball of one foot to the flat of the other foot.ball change
– partner dancing the traditional ballroom dances: waltz, foxtrot, swing, cha cha, ballroom dancing
- The metrical division of music into groups of beats, and marked by vertical bar lines drawn bar
across the musical staff. Also known as "measure." Its main purpose is to indicate the placement of rhythmic emphasis and to be a visual aid to musicians.
- The body rises by bracing the leg muscles and stretching the spine then relaxes to a body rise
- Originally a Spanish dance and music developed in the late 18th century with a distinctive bolero
rhythm in triplet time at a moderately slow tempo. In Cuba in the 20th century it was further developed into a popular duple time dance. Modern Bolero is one of the rhythm competition dances in the American style of ballroom dancing.
- A stop in the music. break
- A step that changes the direction of movement. The Latin break-step is a two step break step
sequence where the first and second steps are taken in opposition. Most Latin dances use break steps.
- Dancers bump hips to the side or the buttocks of their partners. bump
- a slotted swing dance that shares many figures with ―jitterbug‖ and east coast swing. Carolina shag
See the Carolina Shag Learning Area for more information >>
- Balance point of the body mass - located near the diaphragm. center
- The most recently developed of the Latin dances, cha cha takes on a happy, ```````cha cha
carefree expression and is usually danced to music with a tempo in the range of 110-130 BPM.
See the Cha Cha Learning Area for more information >>
- Chained, rolling turns. A turn or chain of turns, in which one full turn is made with chaîné turns
each two steps. The technique: step forward and bring the feet together making a weight change (while in first foot position) and completion of a 360-degree rotation.
– a three step sequence used to change weight from one foot to change step (or closed change)
the other. Usually these steps are the first three steps of the box step.
- A figure where one partner pursues the other. Popular in cha cha. A visual chase
―what-you-see-is-what-you-do‖ lead is used for this figure.
ng leg slides out. Place weight on it and draw other - A step-close-step sequence. The workichassé
leg along floor to it.
– a step-close-step turning step where the feet close to first position during the turn. chasséturn
- A creation or compilation of steps, patterns and movements which make up a choreography
dance or a dance routine.
- To bring the feet together without a change of weight. close
– a triple step, sometimes used in swing dancing. Usually, the pattern is called out as coaster step
- A movement of the body which turns the opposite hip and contra body movement (CBM)
shoulder toward the direction of the moving leg. Often used to begin turning movements.
– a position achieved by moving the leg rather than the contra-body movement position (CBMP)
body by either crossing in front or behind. The foot position achieved by stepping in line with the
- Hip motion resulting from the alternate bending and straightening of the knees. Cuban motion
– Alternating side breaks to the left and to the right. These are also called side breaks. cucarachas
In the breaking action, the feet move from first position to second position.
- The official name given to the sport of competitive ballroom dancing. Relates to the DanceSport
more athletic form of ballroom dancing as recognized by the Olympic Committee.
– a diagram that shows floor movement directions, such as ―forward line if dancer’s compass
dance,‖ ―diagonal wall, ―diagonal center,‖ etc.
- A movement in which the working leg is drawn up to the knee of the developpé
supporting leg and from there smoothly out to a position in the air, usually at 90 degrees (i.e., parallel to the floor).
- To touch the ball or heel of the free foot to the floor with a strong emphasis. dig
- A drag is a theatrical type of dance movement in which the follower is drag
scooted along the floor surface by the leader. The leader may effect the drag
either through leverage or through compression.
- A theatrical type of movement in which the follower's body weight is drop
partially or completely supported by the leader while at least one part of the
follower's body remains in contact with the floor.
– A triple-step swing dance also called jitterbug that is typically danced to jump East Coast Swing
blues or to country swing songs.
See the East Coast Swing Learning Area for more information >>
- Feet apart, heel pointing to instep. extended
- Circular motion of the free foot. fan
- High, straight leg kick where the extended leg makes a circular sweep. fan kick
A turn on one foot with the other (unweighted) foot held in second dance position. fan spin –
- There are five basic positions of the feet. First position: feet together (feet in line feet, positions of
with heels together); Second position: feet apart (feet in line, heels apart, separated by about the
length of one's foot; Third position: heel to instep (feet touching, one foot in front of the other with
heel to instep); Fourth position: normal walking step (feet apart, separated about the length of a foot,
one foot in front of the other); Fifth position: feet touching, one foot in front, heel to toe and toe to
- Heel to toe. Often used in a rock-step. fifth position
- A standardized step pattern. figure
- Feet together, toes forward and slightly turned out. first position
- To bend slightly or relax a portion of the body. Example: the flex of the knee. flex
- Sharp, quick kick backwards with a pointed toe and a flexed knee. flick
- The ability of the leader to maneuver around the dance floor in a skilled and controlled floor craft
manner as to avoid colliding with other dancers.
- The non-support foot passes by the weighted foot before changing directions. follow through
- The ability of the follower to react correctly to the signals given by the leader through following
physical and visual connections.
- The use of the five positions of the feet in dancing. footwork
– Also called four count swing. One step is taken on each beat of the music. See four count hustle
four count swing.
- Similar to three-count hustle but easier to learn, four count swing is perfect for four count swing
fast disco music and for ―techno-beat‖ music.
See the Four Count Swing Learning Area for more information >>
- Walking step, forward or back. fourth position
- Posture, body position, and arm position for the purpose of maintaining connection. frame
or - To turn independently without any body contact. free turnfree spin
- A stop no movement. freeze
- Typically danced to big band swing-style music written in 4/4 time and with a music tempo foxtrot
ranging from 120 to 136 BPM, the foxtrot was developed by American entertainer Henry Fox and
later refined by the British to yield the version danced today.
- A continuous traveling step pattern to the side with crosses behind and/or in front. Steps grapevine
sideways where the trailing foot alternates between crossing in front and crossing behind.
– Usually used in cha cha dancing. The timing changes from the guapacha (guapacha timing)
standard 1,2,3,4& to 1,2&3, 4& 1,2&3. No step is taken on the & count between 2 and 3, rather, the
step normally taken on count 2 is delayed by ? beat
– (In music) A count to describe a designated time before taking another step. hold
- Original starting place. home
- Often associated with retro disco music, the hustle is the perfect dance for dance-beat, hustle
nightclub music including everything from pop to rap and hip hop.
– the lady turns to her left under the man's left hand, or she turns to her right under the inside turn
man's right hand.
- The Internationally recognized style of ballroom dancing. For the five "standard International Style
dances," the couples must remain in closed dance position throughout the dances. The 10
International Style dances are divided into two categories: 1) standard, consisting of waltz, tango,
Viennese waltz, slow foxtrot, and quickstep and 2) Latin, consisting of cha cha, samba, rumba, paso
doble, and jive.
- Movement of one part of the body independently of the rest. isolation
- Somewhat similar to East Coast Swing the Jive is one of the five Latin competition dances. jive
A three step sequence often danced in swing dancing to the count 1&2. The Kick ball change –
step consists of a kick, a step to the ball of the opposite foot, and then a step to change weight.
Usually danced to triple step timing. Often replaces the rock step in swing dancing.
– The partner dances originating from the Caribbean: mambo, rumba, merengue, etc. Latin dances
See the Bachata, Cha Cha, Merengue, Rumba, Salsa, Jive, Samba and Tango Learning Areas
for more information >>
- Effective communication of intended actions by the leader through the use of leader's own leading
body movements and through one or more physical or visual connections to the follower.
Often seen in theatre arts routines. One partner leans into or away from lean -
the other, and the non-leaning partner supports this figure.
– Often seen in theatre arts routines. One partner counterbalances leverage move
the other so as to keep him or her from falling.
- A theatrical type of movement in which the follower's body lift
weight is completely supported by the leader and held aloft.
- See picture line. line
- A tight cross of the feet in 1st or 2nd position. The lock step is usually danced to triple step lock
timing. During the step, the lower part of the legs cross such that the back leg becomes locked
behind the leading leg until the leading leg moves forward. The lock step is often used in the triple
step of the cha cha cha.
- A weight transfer to a bent leg with the other leg extended. lunge
- Similar to salsa but "danced on the second beat of the measure." mambo
See the Mambo Learning Area for more information >>
- A festive and happy Latin dance with tempo range from about 120 to 160 BPM. merengue
See the Merengue Learning Area for more information >>
– The 180 degree turn that effects an ―about face.‖ The turn consists military turn
of a prep step and a pivot. See the turn technique video!
- The term used to describe the ballroom dances of the International Style: Modern Style Ballroom
waltz, foxtrot, Viennese waltz, tango, and quickstep. This term has largely been replaced by the term standard.
- A term used in teaching to say that one partner will be dancing the same foot natural opposite
positions in a particular dance pattern except in the opposite direction and on opposite feet.
- a turn to the right. natural turn
– A break step taken in open facing position, usually with the partners dancing in open break
opposition. In other words, they both break back simultaneously.
– the lady turns to her right under the man's left hand or she turns to her left under the outside turn
man's right hand. See also inside turn.
- A turn either left or right, using a series of ball changes with 3/4 of the weight staying paddle turn
over the turning foot.
- A movement in which the pointed foot of the working leg is made to pass the knee of the passé
supporting leg. The result is a figure ―4.‖
- A dance figure (e.g. Oversway, Contra Check) characterized by changing shapes in picture line
stationary position. Also known as line.
- A complete turn on one leg. The dancer usually goes round more than once. The dancer pirouette
spots (see "spotting") in order to avoid becoming disoriented. Pirouettes are usually fast.
- A 180 degree turn on the ball of one foot, performed in extended 3rd foot position with pivot turn
the thighs locked. A series creates traveling rotations, with 180 degrees of rotation per weight
A moderately fast dance (200 beats/minute) in 2/4 time for couples, originating in Bohemia in polka -
the 19th century and becoming popular in Europe and in the U.S.A. The dance consists on "triple
steps." The count is 1&2, 3&4. See the Polka Learning Area for more information >>
- A lead-in move or step a set up used as a preparation for a turn or a change of dance prep
- A step or weight change that takes one beat of music. quick
- a turn to the left. reverse turn
- To leave the natural rhythm of the pattern. rhythm break
- A category of dancing that include the following American Style dances danced rhythm category
at competitions: rumba, cha cha, bolero, mambo and swing.
- A ride, sometimes referred to as a horse and cart movement occurs when one partner ride
supports and rotates the riding partner on an axis.
- Coming up on the toes by bracing the ankles and stretching the spine then lowering to rise and fall
- Two weight changes with the feet apart, taken in any direction. rock
- The indicated body part circles right or left. roll
- A slow, sensuous, romantic Latin dance which spotlights the lady and features much rumba
- A triple step dance pattern accomplished by leaning in the opposite direction of the sailor step
crossing foot (weight stays centered over lead foots original position) Example: Leaning toward left
(1) Step left behind right (&) Side step right (2) Side step left (to original position).
- A hot Latin dance hot which, when danced correctly, displays a lot of shakin', shimmying, salsa
and hip action. See the Salsa Learning Area for more information >>
- The official dance of Brazil. This Latin dance has a tempo of about 100 beats per minute. samba
See the Samba Learning Area for more information >>
- Feet parallel, shoulder width apart. second position
- see Carolina shag. shag
- Alternating shoulder movements forward and backward. shimmy
Popular in Latin dances such as mambo and cha cha, these are movements where the shine –
partners are not physically connected. Often the partners dance similar patterns while disconnected
or they act out a piece of music interpretation.
- A triple step similar to a polka step with no lilt. Used in triple two step. shuffle
- To bring the free foot slowly together to the weighted foot. slide