Rhythm Dancing

by Miriam Ellis

Rhythm Dancing is and has been a requirement for Amateur and Professional International Ballroom Examinations (including all Medal Tests) for some years.  In conducting various examinations I cannot help but observe that most candidates do not understand the correct way of dancing Slow and Quick Rhythm, yet the sad feature is that a candidate can actually fail an exam if Rhythm Dancing is not up to standard.  The most common fault is that they dance some version of American Bronze Foxtrot, which is far from being the same as Rhythm Dancing.

Listed below are a few guidelines, which, hopefully will give some assistance in this department:

  • Slow Rhythm is played at a tempo of 30-40 MPM; Quick Rhythm should be 40-50 MPM
    (Please refer to the Examinations Handbook for specific Exam requirements)
  • The purpose of the inclusion of this dance on tests is to check the candidate’s rhythm
  • A Ballroom hold is used, but should be kept more relaxed and compact
  • Progression is kept to a minimum, as is CBM and Rise and Fall
  • Knees should be softened, to allow for freedom of expression to the music

Only a few figures need be danced.  Suggested ones are:

  1. Forward and Backward Walks
  2. Quarter Turns (with heel pivot ending)
  3. Chasse Reverse Turn (with heel pivot ending)
  4. Natural Pivot Turn
  5. Reverse Pivot Turn

Since space does not allow it is not possible to give a breakdown on the above figures. For more detailed information, please refer to:

  • Teach Yourself Ballroom Dancing (ISTD)  –  Page 27
  • Modern Ballroom Dancing (V. Silvester)   –  Page 60
  • Ballroom Dancing (Alex Moore)                  – Page 306