Dance Information


National organizations
International organizations
Dances approved by NDCA and WDC
Dance tempi approved by NDCA and WDC
Chronology of dances
Dance history


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National Organizations
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USA Dance, Inc
National Dance Council of America
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The United States Imperial Society
of Teachers of Dance

National Association of Swing Dance Events

Alabama Dance Council

Professional Dancers Federation
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United Country and Western Dance Council
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American Bop
National Fast Dance
International Organizations
International DanceSport Federation

International Dance Teachers Association
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World Swing Dance Council
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UNESCO - Conseil International de la Dance - International Dance Council
Blackpool Dance Festival

World Dance Council



Some dances in American style have no equivalents in International style, and vice-versa.



International Style Standard Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Slow Foxtrot, Quickstep
International Style Latin Cha Cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble, Jive
American Style Smooth Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz
American Style Rhythm Cha Cha, Rumba, Swing Bolero, Mambo
Additional American Style Dances Peabody, Merengue, Paso Doble, Samba, Polka, West Coast Swing, Hustle


Tempi are expressed in MPM (Measures per minute). Thus, in a Waltz, a measure would contain three beats, in Foxtrot four beats, and in Merengue two beats. If a Merengue is counted as four beats per measure, the MPM's for social dancing would need to be doubled from 48-51 to 96-102.









STANDARD OR SMOOTH Waltz 28-31 30 30-32 28-30 3/4
Tango 32-34 33 30-32 30-32 2/4
Viennese Waltz 56-60 60 54-58 54-56 3/4
Foxtrott 28-30 28 30-34 30-32 4/4
Quickstep 50-52 52     4/4
Peabody     60-62 60-62 4/4
LATIN OR RHYTHM Cha Cha 32-34 32 30-32 28-30 4/4
Samba 48-50 50 54-56 54-58 2/4
Rumba 27-29 27 32-36 32 4/4
Paso Doble 60-62 62 58-60 58-60 2/4
Jive 44-52 44     4/4
Bolero     24-28 24-26 4/4
Mambo     48-51 47 2/4
Merengue     29-32 29-32 2/4
East Coast Swing     34-38 36-40 4/4
OTHER West Coast Swing     28-32 28-32 4/4
Polka     60-62 60-62 2/4
Hustle     28-30 26-30 4/4

Chronology of dances

  (Ref: ISBN 0-87484-244-1 "This is Ballroom Dance", Ellfelds & Morton, 1974). For more information, got to   and select Modern.html from the list of publications.

Some dances have been around for a very long time, others are of more recent vintage. Most come and go, a few become standards. The list below shows the year certain dances first made their appearance. Those that are still commonly danced as ballroom dances are highlighted.

Some dances are conspicuous by their absence in the chronicle below:

  • The American Waltz or slow Waltz is not listed, but it most certainly evolved from one or more of the Viennese Waltz, the Hesitation Waltz and the Whirlwind Waltz and very probably was first introduced by Arthur Murray Studios (founded in 1913) and/or Fred Astaire's Studios, founded in 1947.

  • The American style Tango, clearly evolving from the Argentine Tango, was probably also popularized by A.M. and or F.A.

  • The Quick Step clearly evolved as the Foxtrot's fast cousin. The Foxtrot was invented by the American dancers Irene and Vernon Castle arount 1910 as the Castle Walk. It was renamed 'Foxtrot' in 1913 in honor of Harry Fox who is credited for popularizing the dance when he showcased it in 1913 in New York in the review "Ziegfield Follies.

  • There is no mention of the Paso Doble's conversion from a Spanish/Gypsy folk dance to a ballroom dance.

  • While the Jive (or Jitterbug), itself an evolution of the Lindy Hop, made its appearance in 1936 New York, it's modern day descendants, the single step and triple step Swings, as well as the West Coast Swing are not listed. Maybe their development can also be traced to dance studios attempting to tame the wild and flamboyant Be-Bop, Jive and Lindy Hop and render it more compatible to you and me.

  • The Hustle is also a Swing type incarnation popularized by John Travolta in the 1977 movie Saturday Night Fever but it actually started in the early 70's in Latino discos in Florida and New York.

Colonial Period
1900 Minuet, Contra-Dance, Sir Roger de Coverly (Virginia Reel), Lancer's Quadrille (Square), Viennese Waltz, Polka, Mazurka, Gavotte, Galop, Varsouviana, Schottishe, Cakewalk, Strut, Caledonian, Two Step
Modern Period
1904 Three-step
1910 Grizzly Bear, Cubanola Slide, Argentine Tango
1911 Gabby Glide, Turkey Trot, Texas Tommy, One-step
1912 Bunny Hug, Camel Walk
1913 Fox Trot, Balling the Jack
1914 Hesitation Waltz, Castle Walk, Castle Glide, Maxixe, Boston
1915 Kangaroo Hop, Horse Trot, Lame Duck, Whirlwind Waltz
1916 Walking the Dog
1918 Toddle
1919 Shimmy (Shimmy Shiwobble)
1921 Java
1923 Charleston
1925 Flea Hop, Sloppy Sailor Walk
1926 Black Bottom
1927 Lindy Hop, Sugar Foot Stomp
1928 Varsity Drag
1930 Hoosier Hop, Rumba
1931 Siboney
1932 Dixie Stomp
1933 Roosevelt Hop, Westchester
1934 Shag, Continental, Carioca
1935 Trucking, Susie Q., Veolanda
1936 Jitterbug (Jive)
1937 Big Apple, Pecking, Boomps-a-daisy
1938 Lambert walk, Spreading Chestnut Tree, Palais Glide
1939 Samba, Conga, Polka revival
1940 New Yorker
1941 Hokey-Pokey
1942 Balboa, Harlem Shuffle, Limbo
1945 Bebop (Bop), Wiggle-Wobble, Fly, Duck
1949 Mambo, Swim, Boogaloo, Shingaling
1950 Cha Cha, Funky Broadway, Bristol Stomp
1951 Merengue, Fish, Watusi, Locomotion
1952 Bunny Hop, Madison, Hitch-Hiker, Popeye
1953 Creap, The Dirty Dog, Frug, Jerk, Surfer Stomp
1955 La Plena, The Stroll, Monkey, Shake, Pony, Mule
1957 Jamaican Calypso, Skate, Horse, Bounce, Barman
1959 Pachanga, Cumbia, High Life, Waddle, Dip, Funcky Chicken
1960 Bossa Nova, Freddie, Bug, Football, Whipped Cream
1961 Twist, San Francisco Stomp, Pillmore, Grapevine, Popcorn
1962-70 Hully-Gully, Mashed Potato
1975 Nightclub Two-Step

Dance history