The Basic Positions in Ballroom Dancing

Bringing joy to Andersen through ballroom dance 130627-F-OG799-111


Like any hobby or skill, if you want to learn how to do something properly, you need to start with the basics - and that includes learning how to ballroom dance. When performed properly, ballroom dancing is elegant and beautiful - both to take part in and to watch. But you need to have a solid foundation to build your craft. That’s why in this blog post we’re going to take a look at the basic positions you need to know for ballroom dancing.   

What dances are included in ballroom dancing?

First of all, we’re going to take a look at exactly what ballroom dancing is. Many people (including Google!) get ballroom dance confused with Latin American dance, but the two are actually two different artforms. Maybe not to the untrained eye, but the whole point is to know your craft and hone it - and to do that you need to know the fundamentals 

Ballroom dances:

  • Foxtrot
  • Quickstep
  • Tango
  • Waltz and Viennese Waltz

Latin American Dances:

  • Cha Cha Cha
  • Jive
  • Paso Doble
  • Rumba
  • Samba

You can also include salsa dancing and the mambo in the Latin American dances, however, strictly speaking, these are another style of Latin dance and not really connected to the dances listed above. 

So now you know which types of ballroom dances we’re going to be talking about, let’s look at the basic positions you need to learn to be able to dance a foxtrot, waltz or quickstep with style! 

The basic positions in ballroom dancing 

One thing to remember is that all of the ballroom dances are different and depending on the dance, the position of your hips, pelvis and knees will change. However, the basic principles we’re going to talk about here will stand in you in good stead - quite literally! - when it comes to learning how to ballroom dance.

  1. First, stand up straight with your feet together - try to relax and don’t be too rigid
  2. Position the weight of your body over the balls of your feet
  3. Keep your spine straight and try not to curve the small of your back
  4. Lift your rib cage and engage your core while keeping your shoulders pulled down
  5. Keep your head raised at all times

Ballroom dance - a balancing act

Keep in mind that posture is everything in ballroom dancing and keeping your head up is crucial. It may help to think of your skeleton and the way that your spine connects to your head to help you remember to keep your poise. Wearing well-fitting clothing such as tailored ballroom dancing dresses that are designed to move with your body is also important. 

Be aware of your body and the effect that one part of it has on another. For example, stand up straight and look to the left and feel how your hips also move with your head. Look at the ceiling and notice how your pelvis tilts forwards. A good ballroom dancer is aware of the different parts of their body and the relationship each part has with the others.

Similarly, be conscious of your weight and keep it forward over the balls of your feet while your heels remain in contact with the floor. Many novices make the mistake of leaning back with their weight on their heels. This is incorrect and can even lead to you falling over if you lean back too far after a misstep! Making sure that your ballroom dance shoes fit well and have a good, non-slip sole is another way of helping to maintain the right posture and staying balanced.

You’re now ready to dance!

Obviously there is a whole lot more to learning ballroom dancing but the five steps above will help you to stand correctly and get into the correct position before you begin to move. Now go out there and have fun!