Tempo Recommendations for Dance Music


Recommended Tempo for Dance Music 

The right tempo for the music brings the dance to life.

Tempo Recommendations for Dance Music

Compiled by Rich Gross, January 2012

The tempo recommendations  for various types of dances are listed below. The list includes tempos for International
and American Style Ballroom as well as Latin tempos, Country-Western tempos and some specialty tempos.

 

Dance

Smooth or Ballroom/Standard

Foxtrot – American — the recommended tempo is 120-136 BPM (beats per minute)
Foxtrot –International — the recommended tempo is 112-120 BPM (beats per minute)
Quickstep (International) the recommended tempo is 192-208 BPM (beats per minute)
Tango – American and International — the recommended tempo is 120-132 BPM (beats per minute)
Tango – Argentine — the recommended tempo is TBD
Two Step (Country)  the recommended tempo is 168-200 BPM (beats per minute)
Viennese Waltz – American — the recommended tempo is 150-180 BPM (beats per minute)
Viennese Waltz – International — the recommended tempo is 150-180 BPM (beats per minute)
Waltz – American — the recommended tempo is 84-96 BPM (beats per minute)
Waltz – International — the recommended tempo is 84-93 BPM (beats per minute)
Waltz – Country –76-98 BPM (beats per minute)

Rhythm or Latin

Bachata the recommended tempo is TBD
Bolero (American) the recommended tempo is 96-104 BPM (beats per minute)
Cha Cha – American and International — the recommended tempo is 112-128  BPM (beats per minute)
Cha Cha – Country–the recommended tempo is 96-118 BPM (beats per minute)
East Coast Swing – American — the recommended tempo is 136-144 BPM (beats per minute)
East Coast Swing – Country — the recommended tempo is 124-142 BPM (beats per minute)
Jive (International)152-176 BPM (beats per minute)
Hustle the recommended tempo is 104-121 BPM (beats per minute)
Mambo (American) the recommended tempo is 188-204 BPM (beats per minute)
Merengue the recommended tempo is 58-64 BPM (beats per minute)
Nightclub Two-Step the recommended tempo is 54-64 BPM (beats per minute)
Paso Doble (International) the recommended tempo is112-124 BPM (beats per minute)
Polka the recommended tempo is 104-124 BPM (beats per minute)
Rumba – American — the recommended tempo is 120-144 BPM (beats per minute)
Rumba – International — the recommended tempo is 96-112 BPM (beats per minute)
Salsa the recommended tempo is 150-250 (TBR) BPM (beats per minute)
Samba – American — the recommended tempo is 104 BPM (beats per minute)
Samba – International — the recommended tempo is 96-104 BPM (beats per minute)
Sway the recommended tempo is TBD
West Coast Swing the recommended tempo is 102-128 BPM (beats per minute)
ff

Sources:

NDCA (National Dance Council of America)

“ND CA Rule Book” (8/30/11)

USISTD (United States Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing)

“Syllabi, Step Lists & Tempi”: “ISTD & USISTD Syllabus Lists”

Last updated Sep 3, 2011

ISTD

“Modern Ballroom Dance Society Faculty: Syllabus Outline,” 31 May 2011

National Syllabus May 2011; and

“Latin American Dance Faculty: Syllabus Outline,” 30 Nov. 2011

Latin American Dance Syllabus Outline

WDSF (World DanceSport Federation)

Was ICAD (International Council of Amateur Dancers), then IDSF (International DanceSport Federation)

WDSF COMPETITION RULES

Status: Conclusion of 2011 AGM, Luxembourg, June 19, 2011

USA Dance

3.5 MUSIC TEMPI in “USA Dance: Dancesport 2011A Rulebook,” Edition 13, Jan. 2011 (page 11):

“The tempi for each dance shall be as specified by the IDSF.”

USA Dance = IDSF tempo recommendations

WDC (World Dance Council)

Was ICBD (International Council of Ballroom Dancing)), then WD&DSC (World Dance and DanceSport Council)

WDC Competition Rules – June 2011

UCWDC (United Country Western Dance Council)

“The 2011 UCWDC Rules, Contest Procedures and Scoring Format,” Revised 2010

IHDA (International Hustle Dance Association)

Pro/Am Structure Guidelines for Competing, and Am/Am Structure Guidelines for Competing, http://i-h-d-a.com

Wikipedia, “Salsa (dance),” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salsa_dance#Rhythm

 

Links to Ballroom Dance Organizations

NDCA (National Dance Council of America) www.ndca.org

USISTD (United States Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) www.usistd.org

WDSF (World DanceSport Federation) www.worlddancesport.org

USA Dance usadance.org

WDC (World Dance Council) www.wdcdance.com

UCWDC (United Country Western Dance Council) www.ucwdc.org

IHDA (International Hustle Dance Association) www.i-h-d-a.com