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When ballroom dancing or social dancing, ballroom position is the standard position of the two people, with the other positions (e.g. promenade position, skaters position, open position, ...) being variations.

Unfortunately, depending on the decade and the school, ballroom position can mean different things. I believe that everyone would agree that ballroom position consists of

  1. The two people facing each other
  2. The leader's right hand on the follower's back.
  3. The follower's left hand in the general vicinity of the leader's right shoulder.
  4. The leader's left hand holding the follower's right hand.
It is amazing to me how much room that leave for variation.
  1. Are you facing each other squarely, or at an angle? Are you nose to nose and toe to toe or offset one way or the other? How much space is between you? Are you belly to belly? An inch between? A foot?
  2. Where, exactly, is the leader's right hand? Is it on the follower's left shoulder blade? On her left hip? The middle of her back? As far around as he can reach?
  3. Where, exactly, is the follower's left hand? On his biceps? On his shoulder? On his shoulder blade?Around his neck?
  4. Where are their other hands? Up? Down? In? Out? How are their hands holding on to each other? Palm to palm? Both palms down? Both palms up? At ninety degrees and hooked together swing style?
If someone tells you that XYZ is the one and only correct ballroom position, don't believe them.

Some questions to which there can be a correct answer

  • The one and only correct ballroom position for international ballroom dance competition Rhumba.
  • One of the ballroom positions recommended by Henri Cellarius for mid-nineteenth century turning waltz

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