Alignment: Line of Dance (LOD), Diagonal Center (DC), Diagonal Wall (DW), Center, Wall

To help facilitate dancing around the ballroom without collision, each couple travels counter-clockwise and has their own line of dance (LOD). See alignments diagram.

Usually, feet and body are in line, alignment is described as Facing or Backing. Pointing is used by foot which is in a different alignment to the body. For example, PDW means foot is Pointing Diagonal Wall while body is facing a different alignment.

Amount of Turn

Amount of turn is measured between feet.

Counter Promenade Position (CPP)

Contrary Body Movement (CBM)

The body action that is generally used to initialize turn. Turn opposite side of body toward moving foot (forward or back).

Contrary Body Movement Position (CBMP)

The position where foot is placed on or across the line of the supporting foot (front or behind).

Foot Positions

The names of the foot positions are taken from ballet, and are used as a shorthand in ballroom.

    • First Position: Feet next to each other, heels are together, toes turned out.

    • Second Position: Feet are side by side, in normal standing position, with heels about one foot's apart

    • Third Position: One foot is in front of the other, with the heel of the front foot touching the middle of the back foot.

    • Fourth Position: One foot is about a foot in front of the other foot. Both feet turned out. In "Open Fourth Position", the heels are aligned. In "Closed Fourth Position" the heel of front foot is aligned with toe of back foot.

    • Fifth position: The heel of front foot is touches the toe of the back foot.

Footwork (LF RF B H T WF IE)

Footwork describes what part of foot is in contact with floor. In Standard dances,

    • "Toe" is intended to include Ball of foot. But, when a foot closes to the other foot from side position, it will close with Toe in contact with floor.

    • When "Heel" is used, whole foot is then used (but not mentioned in footwork description).

Some abbreviation used when describing foot, footwork:

  • B: Ball of Foot

  • BF: Ball Flat

  • F: Flat Foot

  • H: Heel of Foot (In Standard dances, "Heel" is followed by Whole Foot)

  • IE: Inside Edge of Foot

  • LF: Left Foot

  • RF: Right Foot

  • T: Toe of Foot

  • WF: Whole Foot

Heel Pull

A type of heel turn.

    • The turn to the right is made on the heel of supporting foot,

    • The moving foot is pulled back and then to the side of supporting foot (slightly apart)

    • Heel first, inside edge of foot, then flat.

Heel Turn

    • First commenced on the ball of the stepping foot, then continued on the heel

    • The closing foot is kept parallel throughout

    • Weight is transferred on to the foot that has closed as the turn is completed.

Left Side Position (LSP)

Natural Turn

Turns to the right.

No Foot Rise (NFR)

Normally when stepping back on the inside of most turns when the heel of supporting foot mains in contact with floor until full weight is on next step. Rise is only in body and legs.

Outside Partner (OP)

Step outside partner on the right side.

Promenade Position (PP)

A position where Man's R side and Lady's L side are in contact, forming "V" shape (Lady is behind Man, it is not a perfect "V".)

Reverse Turn

Turns to the left.

Right Side Position (RSP)

Rise and Fall

In Standard dances, like Waltz, Rise and Fall refers to the elevation and lowering through the feet, legs and body. For some figures, there is no foot rise (NFR).

Side Leading

Take the same side body either forward or backward with the moving foot.

Student - Teacher (St), Associate (A), Licentiate (L), Fellow (F)

These are the different skill levels in International Style ballroom dancing, also commonly known as Newcomer, Bronze, Silver, Gold level, respectively.


In Standard dances, Sway refers to the inclination of body away from moving foot and toward the inside of the turn.

Broken sway: from the waist upwards.

Tandem Position (TP)

Timing (&, a, Q, S)

Normally, there are 3 or 4 beats in a bar of music. "&" (and) denotes half beat of music. "a" is quarter (1/4) beat of music.

Sometimes, instead of numbers, timing is given by Quick (Q) and Slow (S). Quick is one beat, and Slow is two beats.