What is the Most Difficult Ballroom Dance?

Of all the ballroom dances, what would you say is the most difficult to do well?

For me it is probably the Foxtrot. The long, slow steps are are extremely difficult to execute while maintaining great partnership.
For me it's waltz. So much technique ....... Used to dance waltz really well until we got into the technique side of things. Has felt really yuck for about 5 months now. Though I'm starting to get the idea of locking the ankle during rise and fall, and that is helping the "feel" quite a bit.
DM, I'm with you on foxtrot. The pseudo rise and fall and the swinging hips thing confounds me! That said, it's a bewdiful dance, one that I'll master even if it kills me, which it probably will!!!
Waltz and foxtrot are definitely challenging to do right. When I first started dancing, I was like--"Oh, these are *easy*!" Then I started working on the technique--like MS, I find partnering in these dances among the greatest of challenges that I've faced in dance so far.


Well-Known Member
i was thinking that it would be the FIRST one you studied - a lot of the hard stuff on the learning curve would transfer over in terms of frame, connection, etc.
Yeah, I think I agree with tsb... until you find a dance that you really enjoy doing (and thus motivating to do), it's all going to feel equally difficult.

But as time goes on, there are definitely favorites of mine (VW). Usually that's a reflection with the confidence I have with the figures that I have learned. Among the dances I really don't know about doing it well, for me it's samba and jive. Samba has a different feel of hip motion that I am used to with rumba (I think because of speed). Jive breaks just about every rule I know about ECS, lindy, and WCS that it's just awful for me to do jive well without looking like I'm on a pogo stick.

Then there are the standard dances when I already have American smooth down. When a tango is playing, even if I'm in an international class (just starting out), I will still default to American figures because I am extremely comfortable with American tango.

So I guess to corrupt Yogi Berra said, ballroom is 90% mental and the other half is physical.


New Member
For me, Slow Foxtrot in the Standard dances and Samba in Latin.

Slow Fox is difficult because there are so many subtle variations in the steps. Then, to make things even more fun, the dance moves so much and in such a random way that floorcraft becomes a huge issue. As a leader, I have to think about my steps (I'm still at that stage), my technique, where I'm going to be five steps from now and where the other couples are likely to be at that point. Crazy! It's real funny when you see the whole group all converge into the center of the floor at the same time.

Samba is difficult because there are five different beat patterns, and because of the way you have to keep everything grouped into even 4 or 8-bar counts so your steps stay "cued" to the music (Samba music is broken into 8 bars so you don't want to start a new step on the 7th or 9th bar because that will break the rhythm).


Well-Known Member
Here is my impression after having taken lessons for almost a year.

During the first round of beginner classes it was tough learning the basics. I stayed away from most latin stuff, yet not because of difficulty, but instead less interest. As I focused on learning a couple of new steps beyond the basics, I found Quick Step and Vienese Waltz to be very challenging, and won't even try them in social situations until I take more lessons.

Recently, I started a series of foxtrot lessons, and the further I progress, the more difficult it has become to navigate the floor when it is crowded. Fascinating to discover, and interesting to see others opinions on this dance. I look forward to seeing if I feel similarly with more waltz lessons. I have noticed it is harder to predict where more advanced dancers are moving with both of these.

East Coast Swing has been tricky to do with different paces of music. Cha-Cha has been somewhat technically difficult as I get into the details. It seems to help with the other latin dances when I have spent time focusing on one style first. Tango has been totally different then the other dance types, but I can feel the music and enjoy discovering all the subtleties with each new step. I haven't learned enough Bolero to provide a decent view yet.

As my dancing proceeds I suspect my viewpoint will crystalize eventually.


New Member
Samba and swing (if you include westcoast)...

i've found samba to be the most phisically challenging to keep up and make look good. you have to be very precise with your footing or else it looks like your just bouncing around. in a way you could call it "smooth latin"

if you want to venture a little out of the "ballroom" range then i would say west coast swing is the most intricate because of all the variations and nuances involved. it takes a lot of partnership and very good sense of balance (know where your center is).


New Member
thanks everyone for the Welcome. glad to be here.

i hope i can provide some good and usefull feedback as well as stimulating conversation.


New Member
Welcome to the forums, dTas. I notice that you're not far from my neck of the woods. Are there good places to dance without having to go to Seattle?

You going to the USABDA competition May 8-9?


New Member
Thanks for the welcome Adwiz...

i'm not sure what my plans are as of yet for May. i may be at USABDA i may not. it largely depends on my partner and what we're doing dance wise.

i guess i can say this... i won't be competing but i might go for the fun of it.
Which is in your opinion the most difficult dance in international ballroom standard?

We have Quickstep, Slow Foxtrot, Tango, Waltz, and Viennese Waltz, and while people often say that Slow Foxtrot is the most difficult dance of all. But in my case I think that Slow Foxtrot is even easier than Waltz, and the most difficult dance to me is Quickstep because of the so fast music and therefore hard to lead/follow. And yours?

Dance Ads