Which are the most and least difficult ballroom/latin dances?

Can someone give an approximate list of difficult for learning the various ballroom and latin dances? For example, Viennese waltz: Difficult or easy?

Salsa: Easy?

Swing: Hard?

Well, I didn’t learn them all :smiley: – just took lessons for about six months before our wedding, but I’m happy to share my impressions. We went to Arthur Murray, where they believe in cross-training several styles of dance at once. That’s how I got to try out the styles below in only six months. The cross-training does help a lot – for instance, you can throw a lot of waltz and rumba steps into a fox trot to make it look a lot more complex.

So here goes my opinions:

Rumba – very easy, based on the box step. You can look like you really know what you’re doing within a few weeks.

Fox Trot – pretty easy, based on an easy slow-slow-quick-quick rhythm. Never gets hectic, which allows plenty of time for beginners to work in spins and such.

Waltz – not sure what the difference between Viennese and “regular” waltz is. The waltz we were taught is also based on the box step (but in 3/4 time instead of 4/4 time as with rumba). Now then, the box step is very easy to learn, and you can be waltzing on your first day of class just fine by sticking with the box step and never releasing your partner. But to look good waltzing, you really have to learn to “spead out” the box step, actually travelling the floor and releasing your partner regularly. Also, for the purposes of looking fully competent, the posture and subtle movements of your body are more important in waltzing than in many other dances (IMHO).

Tango – the basic steps aren’t hard (comparable to fox trot), but like waltz … it’s the subtle things that make you look either like a total newbie or like accomplished beginners.

Single Swing – not too bad, but took us a few weeks to even do the basic steps with confidence. However, once over the hump, you can learn a small handful of tricks and look dazzling.

Triple Swing – this is single swing with an extra two shuffle steps per measure thrown in. Though it is done to slower music than Single Swing, I found Triple Swing tons harder because of the extra steps per measure. Took a few months to even look semi-competent. Never fully mastered it.

Salsa, Merengue, Cha-Cha, Two Step – didn’t get much practice with these, but stunk woefully at all of them. These strike me as decidedly harder than the dances above.

FWIW, basic Merengue has long been considered the “dance step for people who can’t dance” here in the Caribbean. YMMV though with the fancy hyper-stylized ballroom versions.

Maybe … perhaps Merengue would have been like Single Swing where the whole basic steps + subtle accompanying body movements would have just clicked after a few weeks of practice.

Thinking back, I don’t remember if Merengue’s steps were difficult … but I definitely looked bad doing them :smiley: Never got to the point of looking smooth. Some other dances (at “competent beginner” levels) are much more forgiving of a stiff posture. Not Herman-Munster stiff … you all know what I mean, right :smack:

The cha-cha is deceptive. I learned this dance in the eighth grade when my mother made me take lessons. I had to re-learn it (the right way) at a salsa concert.

Wrong: 1-2, chachacha
Right: chachacha, 1-2

World of difference.