International Standard is comprised of five dances: Slow Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Slow Foxtrot, and Quickstep.
The most distinguishing characteristic of International Standard, often abbreviated as “Standard”, is the hold. In International Standard, the couple is expected to maintain a consistent frame throughout the entire dance, breaking only to bow when the music has ended.
Standard is considered by many to have the steepest learning curve of the styles. Even Standard enthusiasts admit that one must know a little something about it before it can be fully appreciated.
High level Standard dancers are expected to find and perfect a position with their partners that diminishes tension and allows the bodies to move in perfect harmony with each other. This takes years of training and a deep understanding of the mechanics and physics of movement. It also takes a highly developed sense of your own body, and of the body you’re connected to, since you must maintain a connection to it 100% of the time. This being said, the addictive gliding movement and formality of this style makes it a favorite of many dancers.
Danced at the social level, Standard can be exciting and fulfilling, conjuring up images of the golden ages of ballroom, dancing in the grand dance halls of the 1920s and 30s. International Standard is arguably the most elegant of the five styles.