The Differences Between International & American Styles
International Style is without a doubt the classic “old school” style of Ballroom. In International Standard, dance partners must remain in a closed dance position continually (meaning they stand in front of each other, in body contact throughout the dance). American Smooth is similar to its counterpart from overseas, but does allow the dancers to separate (called “open position”) in their dance frame. In the beginning stages of training, International Style is more disciplined than American Style (which typically starts first as a social Hobby, then progresses to Sport). American Style can also include “Exhibition” solo work which allows the couple more freedom in their choreography. Both styles can be very technical with a high level of proficiency requirements, but there is more freedom in the American Style when it comes to closed figures, where the International Style is more strict with fewer figures offered. In the world of ballroom dance competition, there are also differences between the dresses or gowns worn for American versus International Styles. Because dance partners stay in closed position when dancing International, these dresses often have floats coming from the tops which would not be conducive for American Style, which features both open & closed positions.