Types of Dance Styles

Dance is more than just moving your body to the music. There are many types of dance styles that you may not know the proper name of, but have definitely seen before. Many dancers use their craft as a form of self-expression. Depending on what moves them, they may choose to focus on one or many genres of dance. From beautiful Ballroom dancing to dazzling World dance and sizzling Salsa, they all deserve to be seen. Even if you’re not a dancer, watching the art of a professional can be a special and humbling experience. Explore Howcast dance tutorial videos for the most popular dance styles around!

Ballroom Dancing

Cha-Cha-Cha! Ballroom dancing is a classical social dance between two partners that follows a dedicated step pattern. The beginning of Ballroom can be traced back to Italy, during the Renaissance. It was adapted from folk and country styles of dance. Ballroom quickly became popular all around the world, and really got into the mainstream in the early 1900s. The genre has evolved and grown since then, introducing new dances, more integration into popular culture, and the acceptance and influence of other common cultures.

Examples of this style of dance include Bolero, Cha-Cha, Jive, Mambo, Polka, Quickstep, Rumba, Samba, Tango, Waltz, and Viennese Waltz. Many studios continue to teach this style of dance to beginners.

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Traditional Jazz Dancing

Jazz dance is a freeing and fun style of dance, where performers can express themselves without rigid step patterns. Jazz originated from African American culture in the late 1800s. Jazz has been hugely popular in entertainment from the days of Vaudeville performances to influencing current trends in modern dance. Great examples of this genre include The Charleston, Black Bottom, Jitterbug, Swing dance, and the Cakewalk.

Jazz is one of the most common styles of dance that is taught in dance schools, along with Ballet and Tap Dancing. It also still plays a massive role in theater and performance dance.

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Latin Dancing

The Latin dance genre has deep roots in the indigenous South American, Mexican, Caribbean, and Central American cultures. There are also ties to Native American, African, and European cultures. In each Latin routine, there are extensive connections to those roots, despite how the dance has evolved over time. Similar to Ballroom dance, Latin dance uses a deliberate step pattern in each of the popular dances, called Latin Ballroom. Social Latin dances, like Salsa, are considered Street Latin.

The most recognized Latin dance styles are Salsa, Argentine Tango, Samba, Rumba, Mambo, Bachata, and Merengue. These styles are still trendy today.

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World Dancing

Dance has been influenced by geography and culture since its inception. Dancing is truly ingrained in tradition. World dance focuses on the connection between a specific style of dance and a particular culture or place. Most of these dances originated in the country they’re associated with, but there are exceptions.

Some of the most popular types of world dance include Latin, African, Polka, Country Western, Belly Dane, and Irish Step. There are many styles of dance within each of these categories to learn as well!

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Professional & Performance Dancing

As art, music, and dance exploded with popularity in the early years of the Renaissance in Italy, professional dance became more common. Today, many dancers perform as a full-time job. There are five main types of performance dance: Ballet, Contemporary, Concert, Modern, and Tap.

Ballet is known as the most technical, and probably the most famous style of dance. Contemporary is an alternative to the classical techniques of Ballet and Jazz. Concert dance is any choreographed dance performed live to an audience. Modern dance is a freestyle genre that allows for improvisation, but was created as direct opposition against classical Ballet. Finally, Tap dance is another of the most famous dances, where the performer focuses on tapping the metal on the bottom of tap shoes to create a routine. Everyone knows the sounds that tap shoes make!

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Modern & Contemporary Dance

As music has changed and evolved over the centuries, new forms of dance have emerged as well. Disco, House, Punk, Rave, Hip Hop, and Bollywood dance styles are part of the Modern and Contemporary dance genre.

Disco burst onto the dance scene during the 1970s. Much of its appeal came from the combination of both the exciting dance and colorful outfits. Styles of Disco include the Bump, the Hustle, Watergate, Boogaloo, the Robot, and more. Disco then paved the way for House dance. House dance followed the emergence of house music, and is popular in club settings. Pulsating beats and flashing lights in a club setting make up the style of dance that is Rave. Bollywood dancing originates in Indian culture, which has gone mainstream in the western world. Elaborate routines and choreography, exaggerated movements, and numerous participants in sync make up the Bollywood style. And of course, there always new dance crazes emerging every day!

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Learn How to Dance with Howcast

Each style of dance has its own set of technical expertise, style of music, and level of enthusiasm, but they all share a level of art and passion. Dancing is considered a language of the soul and has so many benefits that are innate to human nature. A beloved pastime for people across every culture, dance is a method of expression, a form of art, and the beauty is that anyone can do it.

Howcast makes it easy to get learn how to dance in your favorite style—or to explore many different dance styles. Watch our expansive collection of dance videos and you’re sure to be dancing to the beat in no time!