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A term used in the description of Alignments, to specify movement which is backward ( i.e. Backing LOD, Backing DC ).

Back Line

The line across the back of the shoulders, from elbow to elbow. In Closed Position, a good Back Line is expansive and slightly rounded, with no pinching of the shoulder blades.

Backward Tango Close

A Tango Close which begins with the man stepping back on the left foot.

Back-to-Back Position

Dance position where man and lady face away from each other.


The correct distribution of body weight between the feet or over the standing foot.


(1) The rounded part of the foot between the toes and the arch.

(2) Desccribed in the footwork section of the chart, abbreviated "B". A "Ball" step is taken without the heel in contact with the floor, but with little or no rise resulting in the body.


A series of two consecutive steps, the first step being taken with the ball of the foot only. The rhythm is usually syncopated.


Described in the footwork section of the chart, abbreviated "BF". A "Ball-Flat" step is taken first with the ball of the foot in contact with the floor, and then with the whole foot flat.


Described in the footwork section of the chart, abbreviated "BH". A "Ball-Heel" step is taken first with the ball of the foot in contact with the floor, and then with the whole foot flat. It is used in the description of backward walks to indicate the delayed lowering action of the heel.


A unit of music representing a group of consecutive beats. The number of beats in a bar is measured by the time signature, and is determined by the ratio and relative strength of the naturally strong and weak beats occuring in the music.
Base The lower half of the body, including the feet, legs and hips.

Basic Figure

A standardized step pattern which, together with other patterns, constitute the basis of a dance.


(1) A steady and continuous pulse in the music, within which the rhythms are formed.

(2) One single pulse of music. Beats are usually arranged into groups of 2, 3, or 4, called measures.

Beat Value The duration of a note relative to the length of a measure. Example: The beat value of a quarter note is equal to one quarter of a measure.


The skillful combining of movements in a smooth and natural manner.

Blocks of Weight

The primary sections of the upper body arranged vertically. From top down: Head, Shoulder/Chest, Abdomen, and Hips.

Body Contact

(1) The area of physical contact between man's and lady's body when in Closed, Promenade, or Outside Partner position.

(2) Any dance position where there is contact between the man and lady's body as described in #1.

Body Flight

The natural release of body weight from a swinging action. Body Flight is found in the ballroom swing dances.

Body Rise

Elevation of the body achieved by straightening the knees.

Body Swing

A pendulum-type swinging action of the body.

Body Turn 

Amount of turn of the body when it is different from the feet.

Body Turns Less /
Body Completes Turn

Indicated in the chart under Amount of Turn. Used primarily on the inside if a turn, when the amount of body rotation is less than the amount of foot rotation. Body Turns Less is always followed on a subsequent step by Body Completes Turn.

Body Weight

The concept of the weight of the entire body as a unit. The relationship of the body weight to the feet is determined primarily by the Center, but can be affected by the weight of individual body parts.


A slow latin dance which originated as a form of Rumba, and still shares many of the same figures. Bolero differs from Rumba in its tempo and style of music and movement.

Box Step

A pattern consisting of six steps, which when taken in its entirety, form the shape of a box.


A unit of two steps where the second step is taken in exactly the opposite direction from the first.


A break which is taken in open position, with partners moving in opposition.

Broken Sway

Body sway which does not result from the natural swinging action of the body, such as is found in an Oversway.

Bronze Level

The first complete level of the American Medalist System, representing the foundation of movements and basic dance concepts.


The action of closing the moving foot to the standing foot, without changing weight, between steps.

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