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Ballroom dance glossary - dance terms and definitions

In this ballroom dance glossary you will find definitions for dances and dance terms used on this site and in the ballroom and Latin dance communities. 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


Latin dances – The partner dances originating from the Caribbean: mambo, rumba, merengue, etc.
See the Bachata, Cha Cha, Merengue, Rumba, Salsa, Jive, Samba and Tango Learning Areas for more information >>
Also see our Cha Cha, Merengue, Rumba, and Salsa DVD dance videos >>

leading - Effective communication of intended actions by the leader through the use of leader's own body movements and through one or more physical or visual connections to the follower.

Leanlean - Often seen in theatre arts routines. One partner leans into or away from the other, and the non-leaning partner supports this figure.
See 'Definitions of Dance Terms' video >>

leverage move – Often seen in theatre arts routines. One partner counterbalances the other so as to keep him or her from falling.
See 'Definitions of Dance Terms' video >>


Liftlift - A theatrical type of movement in which the follower's body weight is completely supported by the leader and held aloft.
See 'Definitions of Dance Terms' video >>

line - See picture line.

lock - A tight cross of the feet in 1st or 2nd position. The lock step is usually danced to triple step timing. During the step, the lower part of the legs cross such that the back leg becomes locked behind the leading leg until the leading leg moves forward. The lock step is often used in the triple step of the cha cha cha.
See 'Basic Steps in Ballroom Dancing' video >>

Lungelunge - A weight transfer to a bent leg with the other leg extended.
See 'Definitions of Dance Terms' video >>

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