Social or Competitive Dance?

What is the difference between social dancing and competitive dancesport?


All partnership dancing provides an opportunity to have fun, connect with another person, exercise, and express yourself. But there are distinct differences between social dancing and competitive ballroom dancesport. At DS Dancesport we teach both and are here to help you meet your goals no matter which type of dancer you are! Either way, it is important to understand both types.


Social dancing is dancing for fun, exercise, as a shared hobby with a special person, for showing off at parties and events, or for dancing at the clubs. Social dancers learn basic steps and patterns in dance styles of their choice as well as understanding of partner lead and follow and how to apply these skills to dance to different types of music and improvise in the moment. Styles could include East or West Coast Swing, Foxtrot, Waltz, ChaCha, Salsa, or a variety of club and nightclub dances.


With practice and continued learning, social dancers can become very adaptable and skilled. The more you learn and the more you perfect your dance technique, the more fun you will have and you are sure to impress your dance partners and friends with your talents. Social dancing can be a lifelong pastime, as the opportunity to learn new steps, styles, and techniques is nearly endless! It is easy to find many studies and reports linking dancing to better health, improved mental capacity and more graceful aging. So why not! Become a social dancer and bring joy to every day of your life!


Of course, the more you social dance, you might get bitten by the competitive dancesport bug. Sometimes social dancers evolve into competitive ballroom dancesport and some dancers start out on this path because of the nature of their goals and aspirations, or their level of love for and commitment to the sport.


A competitive dancer will train with a coach and/or partner on a progressive, accelerated, and focused program of learning. They will learn technique and patterns in various styles with an emphasis on perfecting and improving skills and working toward goals on the competition floor.

Dance training will be given in one or several areas including American Rhythm, American Smooth, International Latin, and International Standard programs. We will get into these styles more in a future blog so stay tuned for that!


A student may dance competitively with a professional coach or instructor at the ProAm level or they may dance with another student together under the guidance of a professional instructor (AmAm). Either way, the focus is on perfecting skills, developing style,

and continuous improvement to achieve goals on the competition floor.


As an instructor, I love working with students in both social and competitive dancesport programs. Each has its benefits and the most important thing is that the student selects a pathway that makes the most sense and is most satisfying to them! We will talk together and design a plan that meets your goals.


Feel free to contact me with any questions about this topic and also watch for future blogs that will give a more detailed view on what it is like to be a competitive ballroom dancesport dancer.


See you on the floor,


Deannah