Absolute Pattern: A
basic pattern that is danced individually. A great way
to learn before you partner up!
Active Connection: This is
when the "leader" initiates the pattern.
Adjusted Pattern: When you
add a partner then it becomes an adjusted pattern. You
have to learn the "adjustments" to make
after you learn the dance
on your own - when you add a partner.
Alegrias: This is a very
old Spanish dance categorized in Flamenco. It imitates
the movements of a bull fight and is done individually
by a woman.
American Rhythm:A type of
"Latin American" dance that is mostly done
in USA competitions.
American Smooth: This type
of dancing allows "open work" which means
the pair can separate while competing or dancing.
Anchor: Usually regarding
swing, the "anchor" is the finale rhythm
measure and it dictates which position the dancers
will end with.
Argentinian Tango: This
dance actually originated in Africa! But it spread
like wild fire to South America, Europe and America in
the early 1900's. The tango
is a very sensual and firey dance!
Back Break Turn: This is a
180 degree turn or half turn done with a partner which
stops you abrupty since you are connected with someone
at the arms. It's a resistance when you hit the half
Balboa: A fast tempo swing
Ball Change: A basic dance
step which uses the exchange of weight from the ball
of one foot to the flat of the other in a rocking
Ballroom dancing: A
traditional category of dance including most social
dance types we see today in the couples competitions.
Bamba: An old folklore
dance from Mexico which is about two lovers dancing on
a sash that ties together by the process...
Black Bottom: This original
New York made dance was created in the 20s in the era
of the Charleston. This couple dance consisted of a
shuffle, knee sway and stomps which originated with
African American folk.
Blank Rhythm: This is a
rhythm void of weight changing.
Body Flight: This is more
of a concept than a step or type of dance. It is the
notion that a dancer or group of dancers are consumed
with the movement and music and find a spiritual level
in their performance or movement.
This dance originated in Spain and evolved in Cuba. It
currently is a very slow rhythm - kind of like a
Boogie Woogie: This is a
type of jazz dance coined by African American dancers
which has been adopted into many mainstream dances
Boston Jive: A type of
swing dance like Lindy but with added kicks.
Bossa Nova: A dance from
the 60s that is like a slow Samba.
This dance was born out of the fusion of Jazz and
Break: This means to change
Break Ending: An end to a
specific dance, can be a type of "encore"
Break Turn (AKA: Military
Turn): This is when the dancer takes 2 steps (or a
ball-change) and a half turn between the steps of a
Bunny Hop: Sort of like a
"conga" with more jumps rather then a kick
at the end of each section.
Calypso: This was a dance
born of a very popular era in music which came from
England in the 50s. It has a resemblance to Bolero.
Can: From France in the 1800s,
this dance included women who kicked their legs into
the air wearing corsetted tops and full skirts.
C-Frame: The body alignment
needed for most types of swing.
Cha Cha: This is an evolved
triple mambo basically! This style is an advanced
marriage of American and Latin dancing (and music).
Charleston: This dance from
the 20s, was a wild youth dance at one time. The kids
would dance on the slippery jazz hall floors by
twisting the feet in and out.
Charleston Twist: This is
the basic Charleston done on high feet (or the balls
of the feet).
Clogging: Double time
stomping and tapping with the body held erect.
Compensating Step: This is
the step that gels together two different rhythms.
Compression Connection: A
couple connection that has tension or energy.
Conga: An Afro-Cuban
party-dance charecterized by the emphasis on the end
beats of musical phrases. There is a certain conga
beat that is played for this dance.
Contra body movement (CBM):
A body movement off opposition where the torso (with
shoulders and hips aligned) twist one way from the
legs. Turns are often prepped with this move.
Contra-body movement position (CBMP):
Another body movement but stems from the legs directl,
fueled by a cross over the other.
Contre Dance: A square
dance originated in France from the 1600s. This was a
type of dance that now resembles country dancing.
Country Dance: Originating
from England, this type of dancing is where current
American folk dancing comes from (square dancing, jig,
Cuban motion: A certain
motion derived from Cuban dancers that involves a hip
movement. This motion stems from a quick change of the
knees (from bent to straight).
Cucarachas: This is another
word for "side breaks" where the feet change
from first to second position.
DanceSport: The name of a
current ballroom competition that involves extremely
advanced professional dancers.
Delayed Double Rhythm Unit:
A rhythm unit that is doubled.
Delayed Single Rhythm Unit:
Basically this is a dance step that does not start on
1, but is delayed by a kick, or step that doesn't have
weight or a pause.
Dependent Step Pattern: A
phrase of steps that leave the dancer in motion at the
end of the phrase (where it doesn't have a final end
step) so that the dancer can hopefully continue
dancing on the next phrase...
Dig Swivel: Just what it
says, a foot dig then a swivel or foot twist on the
balls of the feet.
Dirty Dancin’: A very
sensual and close type of couple dancing. You can see
this type of dancing in "Dirty Dancin'",
which is a movie from the 80s starring Mr. Patrick
Double Time: This is basically a "delayed
East Coast Swing: A type of swing dancing that
we now know as the "jitterbug".
Fandango: A dance originated in Spain for
partners, involving castanets, finger snaps, and feet
stomping. The tempo then increases until the dance
gets so fast that it can't be done practically. The
dancers then pause with the music and pose with fire
in their eyes until the music prompts their movement
Flamenco: A Spanish dance that involves sharp
hand movements in the air and a stomping of the feet.
Fox Trot: A type of ballroom dance.
Freestyle: Dance improvisation.
Funk Swing: A type of swing that is loosely
choreographed. It leaves room for ad libbing.
Grapevine: A twisting side movement where the
body will twist from the waist down going back and
forth between the foot is leading. One foot leads
after the other.
Haitian Merengue: This form of merengue has a
slow and sleek basis but can also speed up to an
exciting motion. It stemmed from Haitian music which
is directly related to African beats.
Highland Fling: A traditional Stottish
folkloric dance stemming from the highlands of
Hop Clog: This is the "waltz clog"
but includes hopping.
Hula: The traditional Hawaiian folk dance. It
tells stories with the arms, hands and face
expressions. The basic step is a hip motion and slow
chasse with arms together flowing in wave-like ways.
Hustle: A disco dance from the 70s which
continues to find poplarity in the crossover of swing
International Latin: This is a style of Latin
(American) dancing that is now recognized worldwide.
An official Dancesport category.
International Standard: The dance style where
the partners do not unlock their embrace.
Irish Jig: An Irish folk dance.
Jitterbug: The form of swing dancing which came
from the Lindy and Charleston. It us a very lively
form of dancing.
Jive: This is a type of swing dancing.
Kick: A kick extending from the knee (not hip).
Kick ball change: This can be seen in swing
and other popular couples dancing. It is a basic
sequence of three steps consisting of kicks, a step on
the ball of the foot then another step on the opposite
foot. This somtimes will replace the "rock
step" in swing.
Lambada: This sultry dance came from Brazil and
found popularity in the 1980s. it combines portions of
the Samba with a passionate Rumba like motion.
Latin American Dances: There are two divisions
of Latin Dances (as noted by Dancesport and now
worldwide): There are the traditional dances and then
there are the standard latin Dances that are other
than Hispanic in origin, like Samba, Bolero, Rumba,
the Cha Cha, Mambo and Paso Doble.
Leading: This is the one in the paired couple,
that leads the direction and movements when ab libbing.
Lean: An arched lean, away or toward the
partner while dancing.
Leverage move: This is a hold move between
partners that takes a lot of trust! One partner
basically counterbalances the other and if one lets go
the other will go flying!
Lindy Hop: The Lindy was originally a ballroom
dance from the late 20s but later became a part of
Mambo: This is the marriage of swing to Cuban
beats, which was initially played as a Rumba sound
with a riff-like ending instead.
Mazurka: A folkloric dance from Poland. A
Mazurka is a circular dance done by couples.
Meringue: This is a lively and joyful Latin
Minuet: Once a lively dance, the Minuet turned
into a slow and elegant dance which involves a salute,
a high step, a balance and a lot of bowing
"polite" gestures. It became a court like
dance from society standards of the time it was
Modern Style Ballroom: This is bascially
another name for "standard ballroom', which is
recognized in dance competition sports.
Natural opposite: This is the person in the
couple that is dancing the choreography as it were
intended. The other always has to dance it
Natural turn: A right turn.
Open break: A break step taken in open facing
position, usually with the partners dancing in
opposition. In other words, they both break back
Outside turn: The lady turns to her right under
the man's left hand or she turns to her left under the
man's right hand.
Paddle turn: A turn either left or right, using
a series of ball changes with the weight staying over
the turning foot.
Polka: A quick dance for couples, originating
in the 1900s which became popular in Europe and in the
Prep: A move or step that sets up a movement
like a lift, turn - anything difficult.
Quickstep: This is a very fast fox trot!
Rhythm category: A category of dancing that
includes the following American Style dances (usually
danced at competitions): rumba, cha cha, bolero, mambo
Rock N’ Roll: A popular form of the Swing or
Lindy Hop. Began as a dance done mostly by teenagers
who were fans of artists like Elvis Presley and the
Round Dances: Country dances in America became
barn dances, square dances, and round dances.
Rumba: The Rumba has a very erotic style and
was originally a marriage dance. The main feature is
to take each step without initially placing the weight
on that step. Steps are made with a slightly bent knee
which, when straightened, causes the hips to sway from
side to side in what has come to be known as
Sailor step: A dance charecterized by a triple
step which is done by leaning in the other direction
of the crossed foot.
Salsa: This is a Latin dance originating from
Cuban and jazz music. Salsa is a very hot and steamy
dance! It is associated with the mambo.
Samba: A South American dance in a 2/4 time.
Schottische: A Scottish dance that is sort of
like the polka.
Shag: A hopping ballroom dance from the 30s.
Shimmy: A dance of African American origin
which includes shoulder shaking and body shaking.
Shim Sham: This was created in Harlem and is
sort of a slow shuffle step from the "soft
Shine: This is a concept in Latin dancing which
includes a section of the dance where the partners
break apart and "do their own thing" so as
to "shine" on their own. The partners could
be doing the same movement - most dancesport
competitions will reflect this in the mambo, cha cha
Slot: This is a dance concept in swing dance
that basically gives the parner who does not lead, a
path to dance and to mirror back their path movement
until they come back into the paired dancing.
Smooth Style Ballroom: This is another phrase
for "American Style" - waltz, tango or
foxtrot... Styles often seen in Dancesport
Social dance: Another word for the concept of
"ballroom dance". It includes all popular
Spanish Waltz: This is the waltz with more
Spanish movements and arm positions.
Spin turn: Another word for "pencil
turn" or "platform turn" which is done
on one foot in first position (usually).
Square Dance: An old American folk dance that
includes many people and many formations as well as
patterns. It is considered a country dance.
Standard Style Ballroom: Another name for
"International Style" ballroom dance as
defined by the competitions.
Suzi-Q: This dance came about in the late 30s
which includes a hand clap together to the front of
the body, then a slide on one foot over the other
while the arms move in opposition to the movement.
Swing: A very upbeat and popular rock n roll
50s style of dance which includes a lot of hops,
inward leans, and quick counts. This includes all
sorts of evolving swing like styles. It is done to
swing music and there are many partner lifts and
poppy, fun movements.
Syncopate: This is the concept of making a
dance unique, through interpretation. A step may be
added or taken away from the average unison of beats
provided for the steps. It allows personal expression
and creative qualities to shine.
Tango: There are three types of Tango:
American, Argentine, and International. The tango is
done both in closed positions and in many types of
marvelous dance relationships which involve a certain
freedom of expression and passion.
Tarantella: This is a folk dance from Italy in
which one dancer turns or spins in place, and then the
other partner joins them a little while into it.
Sometimes the use of tamborines are present, and the
dance can expand to a group setting in a large circle.
Top line: This is a body alignment concept in
terms of the "frame". The body frame needs
to stay consistant in order to be a sharp basis and
foundation for the dancing. Basically, the horizontal
line that lies from elbow to elbow and through both
shoulders is where this line is.
Traveling pivots: A series of pivots in plie
extended in fifth position.
Twist: A dance of the 60s coming from Georgia.
It was later adapted by Chubby Checker who brought it
to the east coast. The twist later spread like wild
fire to the entire US and world. It is the action of
twisting the body so the hips go one way and the upper
torso goes the other. The feet twist as well while the
arms are in casual opposition.
Two Step: A country dance that is very easy to
do: it's a fast double march then a skip. The two step
can be done fast, slow or as ultra fast as the music
Viennese Waltz: This classical style of
ballroom waltz came from refined composers such as
Strauss. The dance steps became more petit and the
turns became smooth and quite compact. A beautiful
Virginia Reel: This is a country dance of the
'barn dance" days.
A dance with levels, turns and a smooth,
lovely embrace and gliding quality.
Waltz Clog: This dance evolved into
what we now know as the "waltz time
step" in tap. It was originally performed
West Coast Swing: A type of swing
danced to slower swing or "disco"
music. It includes shuffles, taps, and a type
of partnering where the couple pushes together
and pulls away from eachother while connected
at the arms.