Ballroom “Types”

These might be stereotypes or archetypes, I’m not sure, but I feel like almost all ballroom dancers fall into one or more of these.  Of course these are just for fun!

Casual dancer: Shows up to group lessons and socials, might do a competition or two, but never falls into the obsession phase of dancing.

Creeper: That creepy lead/follow at socials who is overly aggressive and usually not particularly good. Sometimes grabs you for a dance without asking.  Does inappropriate moves on the dance floor, whether it’s things that are not supposed to be done socially (lifts, drops) or those that are closer in body contact/space than you would like. Does not have a good sense of reading social cues. Bonus points: excessive sweat/BO.

Ballet-all-my-life dancer: Is new to ballroom, having danced ballet (or jazz/lyrical, etc.) her whole life.  (Almost invariably female.) Picks up choreography lightning fast and has great posture and beautiful pointed feet, but has a difficult time breaking old ballet habits.  Those being, toe leads, turned out feet, different turning technique, ramrod-straight posture with little hip action.

Swing/salsa dancer: Good lead but often does not have fantastic technique, often sort of slouchy, relaxed posture.  Might still be great fun to dance with, busting out new stuff you’ve never seen before!

Superstar: Works hard, gets good fast, is seen practicing at all hours, and is just a generally awesome dancer and performer.  Good at both technique and performance. <- this is who I want to be

Awesome but single: Great dancer who for some reason or another just cannot find a suitable long-term partner.

Slow and steady worker: Someone who may not have a ton of natural talent, but who just works really hard and improves steadily over time.   Often stays out of the spotlight in the beginning, and then surprises you with their skill seemingly out of nowhere.

Standard/smooth dancer only: Awesome at standard/smooth, great frame, but incapable of moving their hips in Latin/rhythm or turn out their feet very much.  Looks kind of stiff and awkward when doing Latin/rhythm.

Latin/rhythm dancer only: Awesome at Latin/rhythm, can move their bodies in sexy ways, but incapable of holding a decent frame.  Cannot do a heel lead to save their life.

International only: “I don’t do American style.” (and vice versa)

Natural dancer: Someone who has never taken formal dance their whole life, but just gets everything really fast and is awesome. Genetic freaks of nature?

Technique robots: People with amazing technique who are totally boring to watch, with not much personality or facial expressions when they dance.

Performers: Might not have the best technique but they are having the time of their life on the floor and are a joy to watch. Genuine smiles abound!

Technique reference book: Know every little detail from technique books, down to the last random acronym.  Knows everything backwards and forwards and sideways, from alignments to footwork to fractions of rotations (unfortunately, is often baffled by the smooth/rhythm syllabi, since there is no single set syllabus for these.)

Youtube addict: Has seen hundreds of ballroom Youtube videos, from World Super Stars to competitions to Blackpool lectures to technique to performances. (I’m obviously not one of these people, *cough cough*)  Can pull up a specific video in a matter of seconds.

Socializer: Hangs out with ballroom dancers as a social outlet.  Might have danced for a bit but doesn’t anymore. Always hears “you should come back!” every time they hang out with said dancers.

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5 thoughts on “Ballroom “Types”

  1. Love this! Am trying hard not to be the salsa type. I think I fall between salsa and natural although you are right, the posture and I find especially knowing when legs are straight or bent is difficult for a beginner in latin/ballroom coming from salsa. Love your blog keep up the awesome posts 🙂 xx

  2. Reblogged this on Ballroom Bombshell and commented:
    100% a “Latin/Rhythm Dancer Only”! My group instructor said it was “painfully obvious” that I was a Latin dancer during my Foxtrot. I really need to work on my heel leads….

  3. Oi! I’m proud to be a Technique Reference Book for smooth and rhythm! Certified in three different smooth syllabi, two rhythm syllabi, and multiple alternate rhythm syllabi (i.e. hustle, west coast, merengue, American samba, etc.).

    Just because there’s no one definitive American syllabus doesn’t mean you can’t obsessively learn it; it means there’s more you get to learn!

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