The Different Styles of Ballroom Dances

Couple man and woman ballroom dancers tangoing silhouette

The Different Styles of Ballroom Dances

Many people love ballroom dancing because they enjoy the challenge of learning and improving each dance. For those of you who aren't familiar, there are actually many different types of ballroom dances to learn. Each dance has its own steps, stylization, and typical kinds of music used. At the competitive level, these dances are commonly split into two categories—International Standard and International Latin. Or perhaps you may see the American Style categories of American Smooth and American Rhythm. While there are too many ballroom dances to explain all of them in one post, we will break down a few of the common ones, just so you can get a feel of how different they can be.


A waltz is performed in triple time, or in counts of three, and usually in a closed position. The beginnings of this historic dance date all the way back to the 16th century Europe. In contemporary ballroom dance, a fast waltz is called a Viennese Waltz which is another one of the main styles of International Standard style.


Tango originated in the late 1800's in Argentina and Uruguay. The tango is a sensual dance with African and European influences. The style was influenced by the small spaces people were dancing in and also the styles of clothes common during its formative years.


The jive is a very fast Latin dance that originated in the African-American community in the 1930s. A word commonly used in the U.S. for jive is Swing dance and includes the Lindy Hop and the Jitterbug. U.S. soldiers brought Jive over to Europe during World War II.

These are just three styles of ballroom dance but there are many more to learn and to love. For more information on ballroom classes at Quick Quick Slow Ballroom Studio, contact us today.