American Smooth evolved from social dancing into a fully recognized competitive style of dance. It was taught and popularized by North American dance schools such as Fred Astaire and Arthur Murray. It came about because the North American dancers were not responsive to the rigidity and discipline taught by the European dance schools. They were more focused on having fun and having freedom of movement to be expressive and interpret the music the way they felt it.
The American Smooth style allows the dancers to be in open or closed positions allowing for a very “Fred and Ginger” style. American Style Smooth has a greater variety of patterns and is easier to learn at the beginner and intermediate levels. At the advanced and competition level, American Style is as difficult to master as the International Style.
The 4 American Smooth dances are: Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot & Viennese Waltz
The International style grew out of English or Modern Style Ballroom dancing and is the style used in International Ballroom competition dancing.
This category loosely corresponds to the Smooth category of American Style ballroom. In International Standard, dancers dance are in closed position and maintain body contact. Side by side, under arm turns, and dips are not allowed.
The 5 International Standard dances are: Slow Waltz, Tango, Slow Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz & Quickstep