Types of Ballroom Dance: Crash Course on Rhythm

Everyone knows that there are lots of dances, but people often aren’t sure how to categorize them. Whether you’ve been taking ballroom for some time, or if you have taken it for years, people often don’t realize the many groups within ballroom dance.

Most commonly taught in America, are of course the American styles of ballroom – rhythm and smooth. However, today we are going to look specifically at rhythm dancing, the newest of all the styles. Currently, the Midwestern United States is also the middle of rhythm dancing with the mecca being Columbus, Ohio. Major coaches and supporters of the hip lift method such as Bill Sparks, Sam Sodano, and Tony Merideth currently reside in Columbus to help inspire and develop a new generation of rhythm dancers. Now, what does this mean for rhythm dancing?

In DanceSport, the five major rhythm dances are Cha Cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing, Bolero, and Mambo. Now, some people question whether salsa, merengue, or bachata are part of the rhythm category, however this is not the case. While some of these dances have the same origins, as let’s say mambo, they have developed differently, and are now considered to be NightClub dances. Three of these dances, Cha Cha, Rumba, and Mambo, are the ones that use Cuban motion, one of the most defining features of the rhythm dances.

If you have an opportunity to take a lesson with one of these coaches, or even go social dancing in Columbus or the Midwest, you will see how rhythm and Cuban motion have permeated the dance culture.