Things worth learning: ballroom dance


“Ballroom dance is a set of partner dances, which are enjoyed both socially and competitively around the world, mostly because of its performance and entertainment aspects.” (Wikipedia)

I am familiar with the American School, which includes dances in two categories:

  • Smooth/Standard: waltz, tango, foxtrot, Viennese waltz
  • Rhythm/Latin: cha cha, rumba, East Coast Swing, bolero, mambo


Ballroom dance is a lot of fun, even if you’re not very good at it. (I’m definitely not.)

At some point in college I got the idea that I really wanted to learn the dances, but I didn’t take a class until more than a decade later. In retrospect I wish I’d tried earlier. Not only is ballroom dance fun, it’s a great way to socialize.

I enjoy the Standard dances like the foxtrot and the waltz more than the Latin dances. I’m clumsy and have a poor sense of rhythm. With the Standard dances a novice can usually get away with counting and a limited number of steps.


The only way to learn ballroom dance is by doing it. The best way to start is by taking a beginner’s class. You don’t necessarily need a partner. There are often more women interested in ballroom dance and classes than there are men.