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How to hear ballroom dancing music III: Tempo
Simply stated, tempo is how fast or slow the music is played. You could take any song, and play it faster or slower to change the song's tempo.
You may have had the experience of trying to dance to music that is impossibly fast or excruciatingly slow. It is important that ballroom dance music be within a certain range of tempo or it won't feel comfortable to dance to.
In competitive ballroom dancing there are strict guidelines about the tempo of music that can be played, so that the dances can remain true to character.
In social dancing the tempo can be very flexible. However, while the best dancers are able to adapt their dancing to almost any music, there are certainly points where musical tempo makes it impossible to dance certain steps.
Tempo is counted in "bars per minute".
Generally accepted tempi for ballroom dancing music are as follows:
- Foxtrot: 28-32 bpm
- Tango: 30-33 bpm
- Waltz: 28-30 bpm
- Cha Cha: 28-32 bpm
- Rumba: 26-32 bpm
- Swing: 36-44 bpm
- Salsa: 47-48 bpm
Dancing For Dessert offers online dance instructions for all ballroom dance styles. Learn dance steps for salsa, swing, foxtrot, waltz, tango, rumba, cha cha, and wedding dances. Our online dance lessons will have you dancing with confidence and ease.