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Dictionary of dance terms and dance definitions

We hope you find this dictionary of dance terms and dance definitions highly useful in your quest for Ballroom and Latin dancing information.Terms are sorted alphabetically, making this a handy reference for beginning and advanced dancers alike. Common Abbreviations are listed in their own section.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O |
P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Common Abbreviations


bachata - Sometimes referred to as the "blues music of the Dominican Republic" this Latin dance was developed there, borrowing from the Cuban bolero.
See the Bachata Learning Area for more information >>

balance step - A step in any direction, followed by a close (no weight) and a hold.
See 'Basic Steps in Ballroom Dancing' video >>

ball change - A change of weight from the ball of one foot to the flat of the other foot.
See 'Basic Steps in Ballroom Dancing' video >>

ballroom dancing – partner dancing the traditional ballroom dances: waltz, foxtrot, swing, cha cha, etc.

bar - The metrical division of music into groups of beats, and marked by vertical bar lines drawn across the musical staff. Also known as "measure." Its main purpose is to indicate the placement of rhythmic emphasis and to be a visual aid to musicians.

body rise - The body rises by bracing the leg muscles and stretching the spine then relaxes to a natural stance.

bolero - Originally a Spanish dance and music developed in the late 18th century with a distinctive rhythm in triplet time at a moderately slow tempo. In Cuba in the 20th century it was further developed into a popular duple time dance. Modern Bolero is one of the rhythm competition dances in the American style of ballroom dancing.
Watch our free video in the Learning Center >>

break - A stop in the music.

break step - A step that changes the direction of movement. The Latin break-step is a two step sequence where the first and second steps are taken in opposition. Most Latin dances use break steps.
See 'Basic Steps in Ballroom Dancing' video >>

bump - Dancers bump hips to the side or the buttocks of their partners.

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