As in all the arts, terminology will never become as exact as in the sciences. Terms will become more and more clearly defined as studies are published and as each term’s usage is spread widely to satisfy the needs of the public.

  Since the Editor is obliged to use terms in order to classify his material, he has compiled the list below. It certainly is not definitive or exhaustive, but only a tentative approach to this challenging subject.

Broad categories

Acro       acrobatic, tumbling

Ballet        classical

Ballroom     Latin, social, sportdance, dancesport, couple dance

Cha-cha, Rumba, Jive, samba, Valse lente, Fox-trot, Tango, Quickstep, Valse viennoise

Belly      Oriental, baladi, Arab, Raqs Sharqi, fusion

Cheerleading       twirling, majorette, pom-pom, baton

Contemporary     lyrical

Ice                          figure scating, ice dancing



Pole          pole fitness

Sensual     pole dance, lap dancing, twerking, high heels dancing

Tap            claquettes, zapateado

Urban      hip-hop, street, breakdance, krump

Water      synchronized swimming


Dances spread outside their place of origin

Angola             kizomba

Argentina        tango

Brazil               samba, capoeira

Colombia        zumba, cumbia

Cuba        salsa, rueda de casino

Dominican Republic          bachata

France       cancan, java

Germany             waltz

Greece                 syrtaki

India                     Bharatanatyam




                             Manipuri (Jagoi, Cholom, Thang-Ta, Raas Leela)






Ireland     Irish step dance

Italy         tarantella, furlana

Japan      butoh

Mediterranean    bellydance, raqs sharqui, Oriental dance, Middle Eastern dance, Gypsy dance, Arab dance

Pakistan     bhangra

Spain      flamenco, escuela bolera, zapateado

Scotland   Scottish Highland dance

Folk Dances of the World
Edited by Alkis Raftis
International Dance Council – Conseil International de la Danse
CID, UNESCO,  1 rue Miollis,  FR-75732 Paris 15,  France
tel. +33 1 4568 4953     www.CID-world.org