There are two main categories when talking about Standard Dancing – The International Standard and American Smooth.
While nearly identical, the main difference is that in International standard it requires a closed position where the dancers are in a near parallel formation facing each other for the entirety of the dance. In American Smooth dancers are allowed to use an open hold or to break hold completely.
For competitive dancing, the Latin dance styles are grouped into two main categories: American Rhythm and International Latin. When comparing the two styles, the most obvious difference is that they each have some unique dances. All the dances in each style do differ from their counterparts in subtle ways, mostly having to do with technique. You will find competitive events in each style.
Here at Arthur Murray, we have an entire Country Western Syllabus that teaches many of the popular dances. And for those of you who have aspirations of competition, these dances can be found at nearly every event that we attend.