Dance Definitions Guide

Welcome to the Dance Definitions Library


Browse A Variety Of Terminology Related To Different Forms Of Dance. Click on the Available Links for A Brief Demonstration.


A’s ::

Abe Kabbible : (Theatrical Term) – A commonly used movement in jazz dancing. Example here : Abe Kabbible

Accelerando : A gradual increasing of speed or tempo in music.

Active Foot : The free or working foot with the weight on the opposite or supporting foot.

Ad Lib : To dance as one wishes without regard to a set pattern of movements. To improvise. Ad Lib

Allegro : A musical term which means quick or lively.

Arsis : Weak beat, or the unaccented part of a measure of music.

B’s ::

Back Flap : Same as the more commonly used term “Back Brush Step.”

Back Flap, Heel Drop : Same as the more commonly used term “Back Brush Step, Heel drop.”

Balance’ : A basic ballet movement swaying from one foot to the other. This movement is used in various form of tap. Balance

Back-Front : Same as ball change.

Ball Beat : A dropping of the ball of the foot.

Ball Change : A changing of the weight on the balls of the feet from one foot to the other; executed forward, to the side, or in place. Ballchange

Ball Tap : Same as Tap Ball.

Bandy Turn : Same as Bandy Twist.

Bandy Twist : A basic movement that Jim Bandy originated. He was a dancer of the Vaudeville days. Bandy Twist

Bar :: In common usage, A measure of music.

Barre :: Originally intended for ballet exercises but is used extensively in modern jazz classes, character dancing, and in some instances, tap classes.

Barrel Roll :: Or turn. A complete turn of the body with the arms extended in a windmill fashion.

Beat :: The regularly recurring and periodically accented pulse or throb which constitutes the unit of measurement in all measured music ; tempo.

Bells :: A clicking of the heels together while in the air ; Raise the L leg diagonally to the left side. Flex the knee of the R foot ; leap into the air while clicking the heels together and land on the right foot. Movement may be executed to either side.

Black Bottom :: Dance craze of 1926 which followed the Charleston containing the African American influence – strictly a theatrical form of dance and rarely ever used in social dancing.

Bombershay :: Theatrical term of which there were numerous variations. Bombershay

Boogie Woogie :: A primitive sounding percussive style of playing the blues on the piano, characterized by a persistent bass rhythm and fluid configurations of a simple melody often in contrary motion to the bass ; 8 beats to the measure and written in 12 measure phrases.

Bop :: A musical style accenting the off-beat.

Bounce :: A medium tempo in 4/4 time.

Break :: A two measure movement that follows a six measure movement to complete an eight measure phrase. Breaks are commonly associated with Time Steps but may be used in any format.

Since there are so many breaks, I will make a separate page.