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16: Beginner’s Guide to Sequence Dancing 

What Is Sequence Dancing?

I imagine, if you have been to any sort of dance class at all, you will have been taught a series of steps for any particular dance so you can get around the floor.  Imagine everyone doing the same sequence of steps at the same time, and that’s (more or less) Sequence Dancing.  The best sequence dances, when well done, can be very beautiful and satisfying.

With very few exceptions, sequence dances are 16 bars of music long, and the music played for sequence dances is in 16 bar phrases so that it fits.  The sequence ends so that it leads into the start again in a loop, and it just repeats until the music ends.  Sometimes less informed DJs might play music which does not have the appropriate phrasing, and that is likely to confuse dancers who dance to the music rather than just go through their routine by numbers.

The benefits of sequence dancing are:

Sequence dancing is thus very good for beginners to Ballroom Dancing.

However, there are also very considerable barriers to beginners wishing to take up sequence dancing:

This can be, regrettably, very off-putting to newcomers.  The only answer is not to be put off, have a go, be persistent, go again the next week and keep trying – you will get it in the end, and nobody will mind in the mean time (or if they do, go find somewhere more welcoming).

Popular Sequence

The answer to there being thousands of sequence scripts, for beginners and casual sequence dancers, is to stick mainly to the core “popular” sequence dances.  This is a small collection of 20 (or so) sequences which get played everywhere, particularly dances described as “Popular Sequence” (but might be considered “old hatĘ by serious sequence dancers).

The Internet has democratised sequence dancing: the scripts used to be closely guarded by copyright (and still are), but there are now many videos on YouTube which demonstrate the dances and can be learned from.

Dances which keep ballroom hold (typically Waltzes, Tangos, Foxtrots) and Rumbas are usually very good for an inexperienced lady with an experienced man – they can be lead (assuming the lady can follow), so the lady doesn’t need to know the dance.  These are indicated below by “*”.

The following is my suggested Popular Sequence set, listed in order of preference:

Square Tango * (“My First Sequence Dance”, very basic and simple to get started with)

Saunter Together

Rumba One *

Waltz Catherine *

Sindy Swing

Balmoral Blues

Melody Foxtrot *

Mayfair Quickstep

Queen of Hearts Rumba *

Sally-Anne Cha Cha Cha

Tango Serida *

Mambo Magic

Blue Angel Rumba *

Saunter Reve

Emmerdale Waltz

Alpine Stroll

Viennese Swing

Tina Tango *

White City Waltz