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Latin and ballroom dance terms and definitions

In this dictionary you will find Latin and ballroom dance terms and definitions used on this site and throughout the dance community. Terms are sorted alphabetically, making this a handy reference for beginning and advanced dancers alike. Common Abbreviations are listed in their own section.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O |
P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Common Abbreviations


fan - Circular motion of the free foot.

fan kick - High, straight leg kick where the extended leg makes a circular sweep.

fan spin – A turn on one foot with the other (unweighted) foot held in second dance position. See our turn technique video.
See our free streaming video on turn technique >>

feet, positions of - There are five basic positions of the feet. First position: feet together (feet in line with heels together); Second position: feet apart (feet in line, heels apart, separated by about the length of one's foot; Third position: heel to instep (feet touching, one foot in front of the other with heel to instep); Fourth position: normal walking step (feet apart, separated about the length of a foot, one foot in front of the other); Fifth position: feet touching, one foot in front, heel to toe and toe to heel.

fifth position - Heel to toe. Often used in a rock-step.

figure - A standardized step pattern.

first position - Feet together, toes forward and slightly turned out.

flex - To bend slightly or relax a portion of the body. Example: the flex of the knee.

flick - Sharp, quick kick backwards with a pointed toe and a flexed knee.

floor craft - The ability of the leader to maneuver around the dance floor in a skilled and controlled manner as to avoid colliding with other dancers.

follow through - The non-support foot passes by the weighted foot before changing directions.

following - The ability of the follower to react correctly to the signals given by the leader through physical and visual connections.

footwork - The use of the five positions of the feet in dancing.

four count hustle – Also called four count swing. One step is taken on each beat of the music. See four count swing.

four count swing - Similar to three-count hustle but easier to learn, four count swing is perfect for fast disco music and for “techno-beat” music.
See the Four Count Swing Learning Area for more information >>
Also see our Night Club DVD dance videos >>

fourth position - Walking step, forward or back.

frame - Posture, body position, and arm position for the purpose of maintaining connection.

free turn or free spin - To turn independently without any body contact.

freeze - A stop no movement.

foxtrot - Typically danced to big band swing-style music written in 4/4 time and with a music tempo ranging from 120 to 136 BPM, the foxtrot was developed by American entertainer Henry Fox and later refined by the British to yield the version danced today.
See the Foxtrot Learning Area for more information >>

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