Dance Types: International Standard Dance

International style of “Standard” ballroom dancing along with “Latin” was standardized in Europe and eventually worldwide, popularized by Dancing With The Stars. Mandatory emphasis is placed on the “closed position” in all figures.  Couples may not separate striving for partnership moving together  as one unit at all times.

International Standard dances:

  • Waltz: The “Waltz” is derived from the old German word “walzen” meaning “to roll, turn”, or “to glide” Graceful and flowing, the Waltz is characterized by its rise and fall. Often thought of as a royalty dance, the attitude of this dance can be quite uplifting and romantic or solemn and dramatic depending on the music.
  • Tango: Dramatic, passionate and sharp, International style Tango defines its look by its “stop and go”actions. In 1912 tango was introduced to British audiences, showcased in the successful musical comedy The Sunshine Girl. Concurrently, the dance became popular elsewhere in Europe, particularly in Paris and Europeans began to inject their own culture, style and technique into the dance. Initially, the English dominated the International style tango, but eventually, technicians from other backgrounds, most notably the Italians, have chipped away at the English standard and created a dynamic style that continues to raise the competitive bar.
  • Viennese Waltz:  (German: Wiener Walzer) is the genre of a ballroom dance. At least three different meanings are recognized. In the historically first sense, the name may refer to several versions of the waltz, including the earliest waltzes done in ballroom dancing, danced to the music of Viennese Waltz.
    What is now called the Viennese Waltz is the original form of the waltz. It was the first ballroom dance performed in the closed hold or “waltz” position. This dance in its nature is faster than “slow waltz” and characterized by continuous rotary action.
  • Foxtrot: A smooth, progressive dance, Foxtrot is characterized by its long, continuous flowing movements across the dance floor. It is danced to big band (usually vocal) music. The dance is similar in its look to waltz, although the rhythm is in a 4-4 time signature instead of 3-4. Developed in the 1910s, the foxtrot reached its height of popularity in the 1930’s, and is currently practiced on social and competitive dance floors worldwide.
  • Quickstep: A light-hearted member of the standard ballroom dances, the movement of quickstep is fast and powerfully flowing and sprinkled with syncopations. The upbeat melodies that quickstep is danced to make it suitable for both formal and informal events. Quickstep was developed in the twenties in New York and was first danced by Caribbean and African dancers. Its origins are in combination of slow foxtrot combined with the Charleston, a dance which was one of the precursors to what today is called swing dancing.

International Standard vs American Smooth

International Standard allows only closed dance positions, whereas American Smooth allows closed, open and separated dance movements. In addition, different sets of dance figures are usually taught for the two styles.