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Step into American Smooth!

It’s History and How It’s Different from International Ballroom Dancing

Ah, ballroom dancing! It’s been around for centuries, making courtiers and commoners alike cut a rug across Europe. Nowadays, we have a bunch of styles to choose from, each with its own flavour and flair. But, hold your horses! Let’s focus on the fun and fabulous American Smooth style that you might have heard of.

So, American Smooth Ballroom dancing started out in the US of A during the early 20th century. It brought together the traditional ballroom dance with some of the coolest popular dances of the time, like swing, jazz, and the iconic foxtrot. It’s like taking a bite of a freshly baked apple pie, but in dance form!

Early exponents and influencers of 'American Smooth', Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers in action on the left.

If you’ve ever seen American Smooth and International Ballroom dancing side by side, you might have noticed a few things. For one, in American Smooth, couples can separate and re-join each other during the dance. This freedom allows them to perform fancier and more intricate moves, and to express themselves in ways that would make their grandparents blush.

But that’s not all, folks! American Smooth allows lifts and drops during the dance, which adds a whole lot of spice and excitement to the mix. It’s like being on a rollercoaster, but with more glitter and less nausea! There are 4 American Smooth dances, compared to 5 International Ballroom dances: Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz & Foxtrot. Quickstep has been overlooked, but I'm sure that's because it would perhaps be a little too fast and frenetic with all of the change of holds, lifts and moves on a competition dance floor. Proper Quickstep is bonkers enough!

Matt Goss & Aliona Vilani performing the American Smooth on the 2013 Strictly Christmas final.

It's a growing genre here in the UK now, most likely due to its inclusion as one of the dances on BBC TVs, Strictly Come Dancing. This fact hasn't been lost to us at Dizzyfeet Dancing, and we recently gave American Smooth a whirl during our dance holiday in Great Malvern - where we’re thrilled to report that everyone seemed to love it. To give those of you that didn't come along to our weekend (and to those that did), the majority of our classes this week and next will be dedicated to that specific American Smooth Foxtrot routine. So if it is something you like the look of, come along and join us on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday! (routine below). We’re even seriously considering offering American Smooth classes in the future, so keep an eye out, y'all! (Yee ha! and all that...)

Here's a video of the multiple times American Smooth Champions, Nick & Viktorija:

So in conclusion, American Smooth Ballroom dancing is a style that’s unique and super fun. It blends the traditional and the trendy in a way that’ll have you tapping your feet and shimmying your hips. You could even say that it is Latin American in a tail suit and ball gown!

Check out our modest American Smooth Foxtrot routine below. Come and have a go!

This week James has mostly been wearing an orange cardigan that Ella thinks belongs on a woman....

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