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Whether it's performed for religious reasons or simply as a hobby, any form of dance has the power to bind people together from different parts of the world. Here's a look at some of the various types of dances and different dance styles that are very much popular till date.

Dance is one of the most beautiful forms of art that has grown in leaps and bounds. Dance is no longer just a hobby; it is also one of the most lucrative professions as well! Besides, dance therapy is very much in vogue these days simply because the experience of dancing helps a person to heal from within. Dance is a form of expression that helps a person to discover a whole new world! The different types of dances and dance styles that are prevalent all over the world are an indication of the popularity of this art form. From the olden days till date, dance has always been performed for social reasons or even for purely aesthetic reasons. The various types of dances are also considered as an entertaining way to remain fit!

Every dance form has its own unique identity. Each dance is beautiful in its own way and has a different appeal to it. Every country has a distinctive fashion about its dance styles and these dance forms have crossed the borders to become some of the most sought-after dance styles till date. Let's take a look at some of the various types of dances and different dancing styles that exist today.

International Styles:

Ballroom Dance:
The Ballroom dance is one of the most entertaining and elite styles of dancing. In the earlier days, Ballroom dance was only for the privileged class of people. This style of partner dance originated in Germany but is popular all over the world. Today, the popularity of Ballroom dance has spread to many corners! This dance includes many other dance styles. There are many dance techniques that have been developed especially in America.


› The International Standard recognizes around 10 styles that belong to the category of Ballroom dance

› American style has few forms that are different from above

Different Styles that belong to International Standard:

Tango: It definitely does take two to tango and this dance also belongs to the American Style category. Like all Ballroom dancers, the male has to give the lead to the female. The various moves used all make the dance look even more beautiful to the onlooker. This International Standard varies from the American Style in terms of movement.

Waltz: The Waltz is danced to slow beats and is an equally beautiful dance form. The Waltz dance is one of the slow and most attractive and rhythmic styles ever. When danced by the International Standard norms, this dance is performed more closely towards each other as compared to the American Style.

Foxtrot: Foxtrot, as a dance style, gives a dancer flexibility to combine the slow and fast movements together. This social dance was named after the actor Harry Fox.

Viennese Waltz: This style of Ballroom dance is based on the original form of the Waltz dance. There are many versions of this style of dance. This dance originated in the latter period of the 18th century.

Quickstep: This style belongs to the International Style of Ballroom dancing which originated in the 1920's. This dance includes many steps with quick momentum.

Cha-Cha-Cha: The Cha-cha-cha simply called the cha-cha is a type of Latin American dance which is very rhythmic in its appeal. This dance is energetic with slow movements as well.

Rumba: This sensual dance is based on slow hip movement. Rumba belongs to the International Standard as well as the American style. This dance is known for the beauty of the steps that are co-ordinated on a slow rhythm.

Samba: This beautiful and energetic dance also has many forms. The steps may differ in Samba that is danced as per the Ballroom style and the traditional style Samba.

Jive: This is yet another lively form of Ballroom dance. This dance is also amongst the five dances that belong to the Latin American dance styles.

Paso Doble: This lively dance is also an International Latin dance style with less emphasis on the hip movement. The basic structure of this Latin dance is based on the sounds and the movements used in Spanish bullfights.

Different Types of Dances that belong to American Style:

Bolero: This type of dance style is basically slow and has originated in Spain. It can be danced solely or as even as a couple.

Mambo: Mambo is a Latin dance that makes the use of many steps which are considered complex in origin. Mambo is also known as the base of Salsa dance.

East Coast Swing: This type of partner dance is based on the Lindy Hop. East Coast Swing dance consists of many simple steps that follow the basics of Lindy Hop.

The Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Cha-Cha, Rumba and Viennese Waltz also belong to the American Style of dances.

Other Styles of Ballroom Dances:

Salsa has it's base in areas of Cuba and Puerto Rico and Latin America. This partner dance is a very sensual form that is known for the flirtatious and lively steps. While dancing the salsa, the couples can even perform on one spot without traveling all over the floor. The dance steps of this very beautiful dance show many influences from other dances such as the Mambo, Changui, Palo, Rumba etc. There are many other various forms of the Salsa such as the Cuban style, New York style, Colombian style and the Los Angeles style.

This type of dance requires the partners to be together in a close position. The steps are often in circular movements or away from each other in a sideway fashion. There are many intricate steps to this dance. The various handholds are an indication of the same.

This is a romantic style of dance that finds its origins in the Dominican Republic. The Bachata is on the similar lines of the Merengue.

Sexy and stylish, Lambada is a Brazilian dance that is performed in partners or even groups. This dance was particularly in the limelight because of the famous track 'Lambada' by a music group, 'Kaoma'.

This is a style of dance that also refers to a type of music. The Polka is a fast dance, which is also present in various styles.

The Hustle is performed as a Ballroom dance and is very popular in the nightclubs as well. The Hustle was particularly popular due to the movie, 'Saturday Night Fever' where one could notice two types of this dance form.

Swing Dance:
The Swing dance style originated in the 1920s - 1930s. There are many versions of the Swing dance such as the Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, Boogie Woogie, West Coast Swing, Rock and Roll etc. Rock 'n' Roll is a very sporty form of dance that is extremely popular as well. Boogie Woogie is another dance style that is seen mainly in Europe. This dance is also seen in competitions.

Ballet Dance:
The Ballet dance is a very beautiful form of dance with a formal look. This dance was developed in France and Russia. There are many ballet schools around the world that teach all about the various technical terminologies in relation to classical ballet. The classical Ballet is the most formal style of ballet. Apart from this, there is the Neoclassical ballet and Contemporary Ballet.

Michael Jackson popularized Breakdance to a huge extent. Breakdance is actually a form of street dance that was a part of the hip-hop culture. The many movies based on Breakdance have also been an indication of its popularity. Breakdance is relatively a male dominated type of dance style. This type of dance is characterized with the typical 'battles' between groups. The 'Downrock' and the 'Freeze' are some of the typical forms of Breakdance. The various clothing styles used while performing Breakdance is a distinctive part of this form of dance.

Hip Hop Dance:
This style is actually a street dance style and is a combination of dance moves combined with loads of attitude as well as colorful dancewear. In the early days, this style was generally seen in breaking and from there on, one could witness many innovations in this dance style. There are various other styles used with hip-hop dance, which includes popping and locking. The hip-hop outfits have to be selected with care, which helps to add to the overall appeal of the dance form.

Step Dance:
This category includes dances that make use of footwork. These types of dances generally require one to have a rigid stance with more movement of the feet. Step dances are basically social dances. A good example of this dance would be the Irish dance.

Tap Dance:
Tap dance is an extremely popular form of dance. Here the emphasis is on the movements of the feet and steps that create a tapping sound. This dance finds its origins in the United States. The tapping sound is due to the presence of metal plates on the soles of the shoes.

Flamenco Dance:
The Flamenco dance and music is very much a major part of the culture of Spain. The beautiful songs play a major role for this type of dance style. This beautiful style is also particularly noticeable due to the gorgeous costumes. The music always includes the Flamenco guitar.

This dance style is one of the main dances in Portugal. It involves the tapping of the feet and quick changes of the position. This is a folk dance, which has its origins in Southern Spain. However, there are many theories about the origins of the same.

Jazz Dance:
Jazz dance finds its origins in the African American culture. From the olden days till date, there are many influences that have added a variety to this dance form. One can see many overlapping of steps in Jazz dance, which are similar to various other styles. The common steps in Jazz dance are the ball change, the pivot step, the toe rise, the pirouettes, Jazz walk etc. Jazz dance is basically an energetic form that is equally graceful like other dances. This type of dance can also incorporate various styles.

Folk Dance:
Folk dances are always performed in groups at social events. This does not mean the dancers need to be professionally trained. A folk dance can be attempted by all types of common folk. Every country and region has its own unique style of folk dance. There are various forms of folk dances one can see all over the world. From the energetic Indian folk dances to the Scottish Country dances, folk dances have their own beauty and charm.

Modern Dance:
Modern dance involves the use of many dance steps that are unusual and often interpret a dancers emotions and moods. The dancer in this case typically performs on bare feet. In Modern dance, it's not only the choreography that speaks about the emotions to be conveyed. The lighting, costumes and props are used with great creativity to create interesting and unusual dance sequences.

Country/Western Dances:
These types of dances are performed on country music. These social dances follow the typical pattern where the male leads in the dance and the partner follows. Therefore, this dance style includes both, the partner as well as the group dances. The country/western dances, which are partner based, include the Two Step, Waltz, Polka, Cotton Eyed Joe etc. The group dances include the Line dance, the Square dance, traditional Square dance, modern Western square dance etc.

Contra Dance:
This dance is a form of folk dancing. Here, the couples have to dance in two lines. These couples also have to face each other. There are various sequences, which couples need to perform. This social dance is a very fun form and also very easy to learn.

Belly Dance:
There are many theories about the origins of this form of dance. Some say this dance originated in ancient Upper Egypt were as few say its basics were developed in Uzbekistan and then were passed on to India. Belly dance is more particularly danced in nightclubs and is now also emerging as a new way to remain fit, especially for the ladies! The basic steps involve the use of circular movements by the hips with a shimmy for the shoulders. Belly dancing would require one to be really flexible. The costumes are rather bold for the ladies. This is often combined with face veils and hip belts.

Traditional Indian Dances:

India is a land of great mix of cultures, which witnessed in the wide variety of dances that can range from folk to the classical style. The Indian dances all vary as per the region it originates from and each have a distinct style from the steps to the kind of costumes worn. Besides, these dances also represent a particular culture. The steps are based around a strict style that is followed by all the students. Improvisations come in later. The dance also makes the use of 'Natya' or acting to portray the story being told. Many of the dances are based on religious mythologies.

Kathak is characterized with the fast footwork and the many numerous 'chakkars' or spins used in the compositions. This dance originated from the Northern part of India. The name is actually a Sanskrit word which means katha-to tell a story. Kathak, like all other traditional dances of India follow the pattern where the Guru passes on the knowledge to the student, also known as the 'shishya'. Kathak is also performed in various styles or Gharanas, such as the Lucknow Gharana, Jaipur Gharana, Rajgarh Gharana and the Banaras Gharana. Today, with the popularity of fusion, Kathak is used in combination with modern steps to create a fine blend of beautiful compositions!

The main feature about Kathakali is the striking costumes and makeup. This is a form of dance drama that originated in the Southern state of Kerela. The make up used is one of the most interesting features of this dance. This is an elaborate procedure, which is combined with a large headgear.

This dance has its origins in Kerela. A very graceful dance, the performance in this case is generally solo and mainly by women. This type of dance includes very rhythmic movements with elaborate mudras. Mudras are hand gestures used to express a particular meaning.

One of the popular dances in India along with Kathak, Bharatnatyam dance has its origins in Tamil Nadu. This dance uses the base of story telling combined with pure dance movements. The dance is also distinctive due to the particular styles of dressing and make up. The origins of this dance go back to the Natya Shastra. In the ancient days, this dance was performed only by the Devdasis. However, in the recent times, this dance is not only popular in India, it has traveled across the globe as well.

This type of classical dance is also amongst the most popular types of dances seen in India today. This classical dance has its origins in Orissa, India and can be distinguished from other styles of Indian dance due to the specific movements of the body. Like all other forms of Indian classical dance, the knowledge is passed on from the teacher to the student (Guru to Shishya).

This classical Indian dance has its roots in Andhra Pradesh. Danced on the accompaniment of Carnatic music, this dance is also gaining popularity outside India. The style may be a little similar to Bharatnatyam, however, there are many unique steps that belong purely to this dance.

Manipuri is quite different from other forms of Indian dance in terms of the costume as well as the dance steps. The dancer uses subtle movements and the costumes are quite different in appearance. Basically, a dancer uses many rhythmic movements that gives a very soft appearance overall. The costume can be distinguished easily due to the stiff cylindrical skirt.

This traditional style of dance originated from Assam. This style of dance was the creation of Sankardeva. As per the records, its observed only males performed this dance style. Initially, there was a delay in the inclusion of this style of dance as a traditional Indian dance. However, since 2000, it received the recognition by the Sangeet Natak Academy.

Some of the Popular Folk Dances in India:

A very lively dance, the Bhangra has its origins in Punjab. The energetic movements, particularly of the men, accompanied by the beating of the drums are a sight to behold! The costumes are colorful and add to the liveliness of the atmosphere. Bhangra music and dance is now incorporated even in pop music and has spread to many areas around the world.

This folk dance is very popular and was first seen during the Peshwa rule. This dance is accompanied by typical music where the lead dancer is accompanied by a group of other dancers in the background. This dance has its origins in Maharashtra.

This Indian dance is often compared to the social dances that are seen in the West. Garba is danced in a circular format amongst groups and has its origins in Gujarat. Like any other Indian classical dance, this dance is performed also for religious purposes. In the modern times, Garba also sees influences from Raas- another traditional dance. The Dandiya Raas is very popular and is performed with sticks.

Dekhni is one of the popular folk dances of Goa. This dance has an interesting combination of Western as well as Indian music and is always centered on a girl. The theme is based on a girl who wants to cross the river and needs to persuade the boatman to help her cross the same. The other dancers carry small lit clay lamps.

Bollywood Dance:
The Indian film industry Bollywood is known for its inclusion of the song and dance routine in all the movies. Form the olden days till date; there has been a massive change in the styles that are presented. The dances in the olden days were subtle and often incorporated folk dances as well. However, in the recent times, women especially have been given a bold look and there is the inclusion of discotheque sequences and steps that are very typical of Bollywood. The craze for this song and dance routine is such that there are special shows designed for the fans abroad so that they can get a glimpse of their favorite stars grooving to all hit numbers!

This was a glimpse of all the types of dances and different dancing styles that are performed all across the world. It's interesting to note the different variations and styles and to a dancer, the limits are endless! Dance is all about finding a form of expression and enjoying to the fullest. Dance thus help people to cross barriers without worrying about language or cultures!

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