Dance Dictionary

Ball Change

Quickly step on ball of free foot and close again on newly free foot; two changes of weight in one beat of music.


The correct distribution of the weight of the body when dancing. Standing or moving so that the body is carried in the most economical and graceful manner. (Also a figure used in various rhythms.)


Sometimes called Standard, a category of International Style dances in ballroom competitions. It includes waltz, tango, foxtrot, quickstep, and Viennese waltz. This category loosely corresponds to the Smooth category of American Style, although in Ballroom, dancers are always in closed position.

Bar or Measure

A short section of music in the regularly recurring rhythm, usually marked by an initial stronger accent and then one, two, three, or more lesser accents. For instance, a waltz measure consists of one strong downbeat and two lesser beats: 1, 2, 3; 1, 2, 3;

Beat  bt      A beat or count is one unit or accent in the recurring rhythm of a piece of music. In most dance music, you can count four instances of emphasis per measure. Waltz beats recur in groups of three.


One foot or person crossing or standing in back of the other.

Blend, blending

Gently adjusting to a new dance position. For instance, the cue might be “back half box blending to sidecar.” You would dance the half box in closed position and slightly adjust so that you end the figure in sidecar position.

Blow A Kiss

Press the finger-tips to your lips, and then move your hand toward your partner, extending the fingers, as if wafting the kiss toward her or him. An alternative acknowledgement at the end of a dance; from open position, you might step side, -, and blow a kiss, -;

Body Ripple or Body Wave