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Ballroom dancing - it's not all competitive!


Ballroom dance is a style of social dancing that was originally performed by couples or pairs, following a prescribed set of steps to a specific type of music. This tradition historically dates back to its early association with the most elite of social classes and also through invitation. Currently, ballroom dance is now practised in many countries of the world and the ballroom dance community, consists of dancers from all walks of life. 

But contrary to popular belief, ballroom dance comprises of sub-communities who enjoy both ballroom dance on a competitive and on a social level.

So we thought we’d break down the differences between both competitive and social ballroom dancing for you below. 


Competitive Ballroom Dancing   


Who are you dancing for?

- As a couple or a pair, your main objective is to dance for the ballroom judges, impressing them with your dance routine.


What are the expectations?

- On a competitive level, the ballroom judges want to see that the dance steps and ballroom dance styles are performed correctly and precisely, with sincerity and great care.


What is your primary focus, when dancing?

In competitive dancing, the main focus for the ballroom judges will be on how well; your dance routine looks and comes across to them. In this setting, appearance is everything!


Is there a standardised style, or technique to follow?


On a competitive level, yes!

In this setting, you will be expected to be trained according to the style of previous ballroom champions. All participants will need to know what technical criteria, the ballroom judges will be expecting to see.

So, it is vital, that both you and your dance partner work meticulously in order to emulate the form of that standardised style. Originality is appreciated, but only within the specific guidelines set.









Social Ballroom Dancing


Who are you dancing for?

- In a social setting, you are simply dancing together with your ballroom dance partner, for the sheer enjoyment of just dancing.

What are the expectations?

- Whilst for entertainment purposes, the main expectation from your ballroom dance partner is for him/her to be able to be able to interact with you; whilst, you dance through the steps, most enjoyable to you both.


What is your primary focus, when dancing?

- It is all about the experience of the dance. Greater focus is placed on how the dance feels to both you and your ballroom dance partner, as opposed to how it looks outwardly.


Is there a standardised style, or technique to follow?

Quite the contrary, there are no standardised styles to follow.

You are free to develop your own personal dance style. Having said this, in particular dance styles, such as Salsa and Swing, it is usually frowned upon to copy another's style.

Within social dancing, standardisation, may not work very well, especially if each partner is different. To be able to dance effectively within a social setting, it is important to be able to adapt according to each dance partner.



Just like with any sport, participants are training tirelessly in order to win when it comes to competitive dancing. On the other hand, the context of social dancing is not as rigorous and is also known to provide effective stress relief. Dancers are then able to focus on their connections to their ballroom dance partners instead of mastering detailed and complex technique and standardised styles.

Whether you want to brush up on your technique with your partner, or enjoy a week away with the opportunity to dance and interact with others, our Ballroom/Modern and Latin holidays with Holiday and Dance can provide. Daily workshops with evening dancing and entertainment makes for a perfect combination of well…Holiday and Dance ;) 

2021 will see us going to the South of Spain in Huelva for May, then to sunny Cyprus and the harbour town of Paphos in November.