African-Americans in the Ballroom World

Black ballroom dancer

That's a good point, Larinda. I've never been at a high enough level to experience (and probably never will LOL) but it's not surprising that high level Black ballroom dancers would have difficulties being accepted.

While I was lying awake early this morning, it also occurred to me that there is quite a bit of acceptance of balroom dance in the African-American community. But it's at the socially elite level. The wealthy still have their daughters and sons taught the social graces, including ballroom dance. However, it's not generally accepted by the rest of the population, maybe because of the appearance of elitism. Mostly the wealthy and the wannabes do it. (These are generalizations, of course! :lol: )

That said, in my two and half years of ballroom dancing, hundreds of people I've met dancing and thousands I've seen, I would guess I've seen about fifty Black ballroom dancers. And many of them came into the studio to learn swing or salsa. As d nice will be glad to tell you, ballroom ECS is a derivative of dances invented by African-Americans. (Hope I'm not misrepresenting here, dnice. Correct me if I'm wrong). So there's nothing surprising about seeing Black people swing dance. And salsa is widely popular with people of all backgrounds, at least these days it is.

But the African-Americans I've seen doing strictly ballroom were for the most, learning wedding dances, or members of high school/college dances teams. Very few weirdos like me.

· Your right they aren’t too many African American doing Ballroom dancing but black in general yes, there are a few mostly Haitians. Haiti is located in Caribbean, western one-third of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of the Dominican Republic, in the timezone GMT -5. The country has boundaries of 360 - Dominican Republic 360 (km), and a coastline of 1,771 (km). Major urban areas: Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haitien, Gonaives, Jacmel, Port-de-Paix. My name is Steeve Jean Louis originally from Haiti I came to the USA 5 years ago become a US Citizen. I’m one of the best ballroom dancers in south Florida; I’m not the only one the most famous of us is Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine Arthur Murray Rhythm Champion 2007
· Winner of numerous Professional Rhythm Championships in 2006-2007, including...
o Ohio Star Ball DanceSport Championships
o Embassy Ball DanceSport Championships
o Holiday Classic DanceSport Championships
o Heritage Classic DanceSport Championships
· Featured on "Dancing With the Stars" in 2006
· Featured on PBS-TV "America's Ballroom Challenge"
· World Professional Mambo Champion 2005
Please guys do some more researches and also check out my video on YouTube just put my full name STEEVE JEAN LOUIS (Steeve with 2 EE).


Well-Known Member
My name is Steeve Jean Louis originally from Haiti I came to the USA 5 years ago become a US Citizen. I’m one of the best ballroom dancers in south Florida
thats quite a stretch isnt it? i am all for self confidence but lets be realistic esp since some of us here know you. :eyebrow:
Haha, new yorkers are deffinately known for speaking their mind, and I guess that's why people sometimes think they are mean, no we're just honest. Sometimes brutally haha. As far as being politically correct, African Americans are also black, so why not just ask if there are any black people? Why would someone get mad or offended for being called what they are? I don't know, that wouldn't make sense to me.
Hey Everyone,

I am a filmmaker who is considering doing a documentary on the subject of Black ballroom dancers that will also explores the african roots of some of the competition style dances. This forum has been very helpful. I am not a dancer so I will be doing a lot of research before embarking on this project.

If you know of any "must have" people that should be interviewed or featured for a project like this, please let me know.

And to add to the Black vs African American debate my opinion is that there is no real concrete term for us. So as long as you don't say colored or negro or anything else outdated you should be fine. I had a White friend who was chastised by another White person for saying Black instead of African American. She got really upset and asked me for my opinion, I thought the whole thing was very funny. To me Black refers to anyone of African decent no matter what country. African slaves were sent all throughout the new world and you will find black people in north, central, and south america as well as throughout the caribean. But this doesn't apply to eveyone either because I have heard Australian aborigines refer to themselves as Black. So it's all up to interpretation.

I have been to Africa and though Black Americans are 300 or so years removed we have held on to a lot more of the culture than you would think, but you really don't see it unless you go there or you study it. The problem is that we have always been taught to see anything African as negative and so we try to put as much distance as we can between us and Africans. There are major differences as well, we are descendants of slaves who have been in this country since before it was a country. When I was living in Europe African people would always ask me where I was from and I would say Chicago. They would say but where are your people from and I would say Arkansas and Tennessee. What they really want to know is what part of Africa are my people from and we can't answer that question. That definitely makes us different. But when you go there and see people who look like people in your family or from your neighborhood and have similar mannerisms and laugh the way you do, you will see that we are not that much different. :)
In IIDSF International Latin, There is one couple, of whom the lady is black, and they dance very well :) eg, they are 11th in the world.

They danced semi final in blackpool, several finals and semifinals in grandslams and mostly finals in "normal" idsf events. Even winning some recent comps...

They come out for Germany, and their names are:
Timo Kulczak / Motshegetsi Mabuse

Very nice couple to see them dancing, really showing the essence of each different dance.
There is a girl who did(maybe still does) who dances for germany. She was in one of the top amatuer couples in the championships can't remember her name.


New Member
Here's my take on the subject. (Don't forget, small small island experiences:p)
When I started Ballroom....I was basically the only black guy in my group. It felt really awkward cause I too used to think that Ballroomdancing was mainly for rich white people. The fact that my instructor is also white didn't make me feel any better. During the classes I noticed that the awkward feeling was because of none but myself. So after talking to a few other guys, it hit me.
They were just regular guys who liked dancing just like me...and got tricked into dancing the same way I got tricked into it.
I regularly trained with my partner at school....Some kids saw us dance, they liked it and wanted to join, including a few of my friends and my youngest brother. At this moment I can actually call myself the best male black ballroomdancer on my island (again, my tiny-unkown-to-the-rest-of-the-world-island:p)

ANYWAYZ, long story short.............
I think that because of the common misconception that Ballroomdance is for rich white people (not my words), black people tend to stay away in fear that they might be rejected or treated differently
I am a lurker, first time poster who's been reading this thread and finally decided to jump in.

I am a Black American who ballroom dances and I've never experienced overt racism. What I do experience from time-to-time is people seeming surprised at my skilll level. I am by no means advanced, but I am not a beginner either. When I attend a dance party at a studio other than my own (or when we have visitors to our studio) I often get surprised compliments (more so than other non-Black students at my same level.)

I will also concur with the person who posted that I prefer Black American over African-American. I have been to Africa, I felt more American than ever while I was there, and I couldn't wait to get back home. With that said, I am not offended by the term African-American, it's just not my preference.
ANYWAYZ, long story short.............
I think that because of the common misconception that Ballroomdance is for rich white people (not my words), black people tend to stay away in fear that they might be rejected or treated differently
I disagree. I taught Salsa for several years. We would get Black guys all the time. They would come to one or two sessions, couldn't pick up the basic steps, didn't like the music, and they wouldn't come back. Many of these same guys would then take "Urban Ballroom" or "Chicago Style Step", pick it up during the first session, and that's what you'd see them doing. In addition, these dances are danced to music they are more familiar with and in environments they are more comfortable in.

I'm sure what you say is true too a degree, but I argue that it is equally, or even more true that many Blacks don't take up traditional Ballroom dancing for more practical reasons: They don't care for the music, it's not something you can pick up in a session or two, and you can't dance it at most (Black) dance venues.

If that sounds racist, I'm sorry, but it's real. I taught Salsa in Inglewood / South Central LA for 3 years about the same time that Chicago Style Step and "Urban" Ballroom were starting to become popular in that predominately Black community. I talked to many a Black woman who referred to "Step" as "sexy" and "elegant". Not Argentine Tango or Rumba. So, where do you think the Black guys who you can convince to take up a dance at all are going to spend their effort?

Also, if the DJs aren't going to play Salsa/Hustle/Waltz/Foxtrot where you normally go to dance, why learn it? Unless, you are willing to step outside of your comfort zone.

And, I'm not just sitting on the sidelines hating. I spend a considerable amount of time trying to promote awareness of traditional Ballroom Dancing in the Black community where I live. It ain't easy.


Dance Ads