Books on Ballroom Dancing

About this list

This list contains books on or about ballroom dancing, including Latin American dacnes, Swing, and the so-called nightclub dances such as the Hustle.

This list includes books on dancing that, for the most part, appeared after 1970. While this cutoff date may seem somewhat arbitrary, it means that most of these books are either still in print, or can be found in major libraries. Social dancing changes with time; older books on dancing are of interest mainly to the historian and not to the practitioner of dancing. Moreover, the dancing boom of the 50's and 60's led to the production of a great many forgettable low-budget paperbacks, whose authors were neither competent dancers nor teachers. If you are interested in a comprehensive list of older books, I recommend searching the library of congress catalogues.

A few older books do appear in this list. They either have exceptional historical value, such as the book written by the Castles and another by Arthur Murray, or are unique in some way and assumed to have some redeeming value.

Follow the link for information on Dance Book Suppliers

** Ken Akrill:

An Analysis of the Modern Quickstep Technique to Associate Level
Xerox copy, spiral bound

** Ken Akrill:

An Analysis of the Slow Foxtrot Technique to Associate Level
Xerox copy, spiral bound

** Ken Akrill:

An Analysis of the Modern Tango Technique to Associate Level
Xerox copy, spiral bound

** Ken Akrill:

An Analysis of the Modern Waltz Technique to Associate Level
Xerox copy, spiral bound

** Walter Laird:

The Ballroom Dance Pack
London ; New York : Dorling Kindersley ; Boston :
Distributed by Houghton Mifflin Co., 1994
80 p. : col. ill. ; 29 cm. + 1 sound disc (digital ; 4 3/4 in.)
ISBN: 1564584836 : $24.95
Includes 6 step cards and 2 feet templates inserted in pocket

The book presents helpful learning hints for beginners, in the Waltz, Quickstep, Tango, Cha Cha, Samba and Rumba. They refer to this book as a "pack" since it includes "Step Cards, Foot Templates and a Compact Disc" with good strict tempo dance music available for both learning and dancing International Style.

** ISTD:

Ballroom dancing
Lincolnwood, Ill. : NTC Pub. Group, c1992, revised by Peggy Spencer
viii, 184 p. : ill. ; 20 cm.
ISBN: 0844239089

** Alex Moore:

Ballroom Dancing 9th edition
(1986, A&C Black, London. ISBN 0-7136-2794-8)

An excellent book for all types of dancers; many tips and instructions. Figures broken down step by step in tabular form and with footprint charts. This book also includes the Viennese Waltz. (Int'l Style)

** Hart Harker:

Ballroom dancing : finest of all hobbies
New York : Vantage Press, c1992
xiii, 112 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.
ISBN: 0533096219, $13.95

** IDTA:

Ballroom dancing for beginners and bronze medallists
Brighton, England, c1973
40 p. 19 cm

** ISTD:

The Ballroom Technique

All figures broken down step by step in tabular form. This is the official book for ISTD examinations. (Intl. Style)

** Allen Darnel:

Beginners-only dance book: Learn to dance social level dancing
Beginners Only Publishers, c1996
ISBN 0-964482-70-3
5959 Westheimer - Suite 100, Houston, TX 77057
Tel: (713) 789-5959

Basic steps of the Foxtrot, Waltz, Swing, Rumba, Cha Cha, Mambo, Tango and Samba. The book contains 214 pages, 52 illustrations, and goes for $25 (mail order from the address above). More information can be obtained from the following web page . Allan Darnel offers a free 1-hour dance lesson with the purchase of every copy of the book.

** Lyndon Wainwright:

Better Dancing
Kingswood, England : Kaye & Ward, c1983
94 p. : ill. ; 23 cm
ISBN: 0718214765 : 4.95 pounds (British currency)
Photographs by Jack Blake

NYPL: *MGW 85-1125

** Betty White:

Betty White's Dancing Made Easy
New York: Flare Books/Avon Books, c1976, illus.

** Frank Regan:

Championship ballroom dancing
Minneapolis, Minn. : EAB Press, c1994
110 p. : ill. ; 29 x 36 cm.
photography by Gary R. Spencer ; foreword by Sam Sodano

** Jack Henley:

Classic Teaching Methods for Dance Teachers
Livonia, MI: J. Henley, c1994
27505 Goff Street, Livonia, MI 48125, Tel. 313-538-6687
Paperback, spiral bound, $25

This book is an outgrowth of the author's personal notes while he was working for the Arthur Murray studios. The book contains anecdotal advice about dance lessons and interacting with students. While the material is targetted mostly at the studio owner and teacher, it contains sound advice that is useful to dance teachers in general. What is does *not* provide is a comprehensive program, or even a systematic approach to developing a dance program. Nor does it address in any detail the difficult and important issues of teaching technique vs. patterns, pacing of the lessons, or managing group classes (most of the text implicitly assumes a private teaching environment). Nevertheless, it is useful reading for dance teachers.

The book is not carried by any of the dance suppliers I know. You can order the book directly from the author. His contact information is given above.

NYPL: *MGW 95-994

** Christopher Willis:

Competition Figures Charts and Footprints

Figures in Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep and Tango.

** Richard Montgomery Stephenson / Joseph Iaccarino:

The Complete Book of Ballroom Dancing
Garden City, NY: Doubleday, c1980
246 p. : ill. ; 27 cm., ISBN 0385145535, $12.95
Bibliography, index

NYPL: *MGW 92-1350

** Ann T. Kilbride / A. Algoso:

The complete book on disco and ballroom dancing
Los Alamitos, CA. : Hwong Pub. Co., c1979.
viii, 280 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.
ISBN 0892601507 (0892601493 pbk.), $6.95

** ISTD:

Dancing : ballroom, Latin American and social
Sevenoaks : Teach Yourself Books, 1977
viii, 152 p. : ill., plan ; 18 cm., foreword, Victor Silvester
ISBN: 0340225173

** Abe Peck / Suzy Rice:

Dancing Madness
New York: Anchor Press, c1976
144 p. : ill. ; 21 x 26 cm
ISBN: 0385114788 : $5.95
conceived and edited by Abe Peck ; art direction and design by Suzy Rice

NYPL: *MGW 76-3826

** Julie Malnig:

Dancing Till Dawn: a century of exhibition ballroom dance
New York: Greenwood Press, c1992
xi, 174 p. : ill. ; 25 cm., bibliography and index
ISBN: 0313276471 (alk. paper)
ISBN: 0814755283 (paper-back : acid-free paper)

Comprehensive historical text on the subject of social (ballroom) dancing, with especial emphasis on exhibition dancing. Starts with the developments in the late 19th century on to the "contemporary renaissance" of dancing in the late 1980's and early 1990's. Documented with a great many references, as well as extensive footnotes and a sizeable bibliography make this a great text on the history of ballroom dancing.

Seven Chapters: The origins and rise of exhibition ballroom dance; Dancing deities - carreer path of the early innovators; Cabaret dancing; Taking the palace by Storm - exhibition ballroom dance in the Vaudeville of the teens and twenties; Exhibition ballroom dance in early musical theatre; Dancing and rebirth; The contemporary renaissance.

NYPL: *MGW 92-933

** Jorge Serrano:

Diagrams for Social Dancing
Waterloo, Ontario: [J. Serrano], c1984

NYPL: *MGW 88-4282

** Carter Lovisone:

The Disco Hustle
New York : Sterling Publishing Co. Inc., c1979
95 p. : ill. ; 28 cm
ISBN 0-8069-8838-X ; $3.95

Illustrated in detail, with many photos, this book explains Line Hustle, Street Hustle and Latin Hustle, as well as a history of Hustle. However, it obviously does not include the major changes that Hustle underwent in the 80's, and what you find in this book is different from the Hustle as it is danced today.

** Jack Henley:

Discover the Magic of Social Dancing
Livonia, MI: J. Henley, c1987
360 p. : ill. ; 28 cm

NYPL: *MGW 95-959 Performing Arts

** John Monte:

The Fred Astaire Dance Book
New York: Simon and Schuster, c1987
Compiled by John Monte, with Bobbie Lawrence ; photos by Chip Casanave
190 p. : ill. ; 24 cm
ISBN: 0671230646

NYPL: *MGW 78-4578

** Elizabeth Aldrich:

From the Ballroom to Hell : grace and folly in nineteenth-century dance
Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, c1991
xix, 225 p. : ill. ; 29 cm.
ISBN: 0810109123 (alk. paper) 0810109131 (pbk.)

Very amusing history of ballroom dancing. With reproduction of various pieces about dancing that appeared in the popular media of the 19th century. 19th century perspective on dancing and morality, as well as the then-acceptable etiquette of dancing.

** Vera Wilson:

The Girls' Book of Ballroom Dancing
Burke Publishing Co., England, c1959
Distributed by Roy Publishers, New York
144 p. Ill., Plates, 25cm

Despite the funny title, the British author of this book did a great job in describing and representing fundamental principles of social dancing, many of which are valid even today. Contains six chapters: Dancing - yesterday and today; Dancing as a hobby; Learning to dance; Party games and dances; Your personal appearance; Dancing as a career.

Chapter three, "Learning to Dance", describes step patterns in Waltz, Quickstep, Foxtrot, Tango, Rumba, Samba, Cha-Cha, and Rock-and-Roll. Includes many pictures and illustrations. The step patterns are mostly identical to what is taught today, with the exception of Cha-Cha. Another big difference from current practice is seen in the pictures of the closed dance position for Foxtrot, Quickstep, and Waltz (pages 42-43), where man's right hand is shown on Lady's lower back, instead of her left shoulder blade.

** Arthur Murray:

How to Become a Good Dancer
New York: Simon and Schuster, c1938, 1941.
x, 205 p. incl. front. (port.) illus., diagrs. 28 cm
Revised edition, 6th printing

** Arthur Murray:

How to Become a Good Dancer, With Dance secrets, by Kathryn Murray
New York, Simon and Schuster, 1959
254 p. illus. 24 cm

First appeared in 1954 under the same title, but with only 191 pages. Revised to this version in 1959.

** Thomas E. Parson:

How to Dance
New York: Perennial Library, 1986, c1984
vii, 115 p. : ill. ; 21 cm
ISBN: 0060970529 (pbk.) : $4.95

Thomas Parson is the author of a number of books on dancing, starting with ``Popular Ballroom Dances'' which was published in 1937 by Barnes and Noble. ``How to Dance'' was published originally by Barnes and Noble in 1955, with revisions in 1956, 1965, and 1969. It was re-released by Perennial Library in 1984; the second edition came out in 1986.

NYPL: *MGW 88-471

** Neville Boyd:

Latin American Dancing: includes mambo, square rumba, and rock jive
Turramura, N.S.W.: N. Boyd, c1991

NYPL *MGW 93-1400

** Christopher Willis:

Leading Competition Figures: Tango and Quickstep
Pictures posed by Sandra Gail and the author.

From the introduction of the book:
``The purpose of this book is to fill in some of the gaps between the theory and technique of ballroom dancing as available in print and competitive dancing as it exists today. ....
This book provides a detailed discussion of how to lead each step of each figure. In the modern dances, in contrast to the latin American dances, all of the "tricks" can be led. In addition to explaining the lead, each step of each figure is fully illustrated with pictures.
This book was written for serious competitive couples -- from novices to amateurs to professionals--not social dancers....''

** Christopher Willis:

Leading Competition Figures: Waltz and Foxtrot
Jenkintown, PA : Willis, c1979
137 p. : ill. ; 29 cm.
Pictures posed by Sandra Gail and the author.

See notes for "Leading Competition Figures: Tango and Quickstep".

** Christopher Willis/Jennifer Fung:

Leading Competition Figures: Waltz and Foxtrot (2nd ed)
Bangor, PA, U.S.A. : Willis, c1992
126 p. : ill. ; 29 cm
Pictures posed by Sandra Gail and the author

See notes for "Leading Competition Figures: Tango and Quickstep".

** Gwenda Forrester Academy:

Learn to Dance the Easy Way
Australia, The Academy, c1990

NYPL *MGW 92-720

** Robert Austin and Claire Hillard:

Learn to Dance: modern jive
200 p, includes CD
ISBN 1 85058 602 0

** Aranka Latincic:

Let's Dance
Pierrefonds [Quebec]: A. Latincic, c1989

NYPL: *MGW 92-1023

** Peter Buckman:

Let's dance : social, ballroom & folk dancing
New York : Penguin Books, 1979, c1978
288 p. : ill. ; 26 cm.
ISBN: 0140053255

** Elizabeth Romain / Flick Colby:

Let's Go Dancing
?? -- 1979

** Simon Selmon:

Let's Lindy!
Dance Books, London, c1993
ISBN 1-852730-39-0

** Anonymous:

Lindy made easy with Charleston
Dance Guild NYC, c1956

** Mari Helen Schultz:

May I Have This Dance?: a social dance digest
New York: Vantage Press, c1986
x, 132 p. : ill. ; 21 cm
ISBN: 0533068118 : $10.00
includes bibliography and index

NYPL: *MGW 88-4456

** Victor Silvester:

Modern Ballroom Dancing
North Pomfret, Vt. : Trafalgar Square Pub., c1993
224 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 25 cm.
ISBN: 0943955777, $19.95

Good book for beginners, detailed description and footprints. Covers Smooth and Latin. Interesting section of dance history.

** Victor Silvester:

Modern Ballroom Dancing: history and practice
London: S. Paul, c1982

A previous edition of this book was published by Barrie & Jenkins in London, c1974, ISBN 0214200434.

NYPL: *MGW 83-3983

** Irene and Vernon Castle:

Modern Dancing
New York and London, Harper & brothers, c1914
8 p.l., 19-175, [1] p., 1 l. incl. front., illus., plates, 19cm

``By Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Castle; with many illustrations from photographs and moving pictures of the newest dances for which the authors posed; introduction by Elisabeth Marbury. ''

Vernon Castle (1887-1918) and his wife Irene were dominating figures in the American dance scene of early 20th century, and were instrumental in popularizing social dancing. At least one copy of this book still exists in the Yale University Library.

** Allen Dow/ Mike Michaelson:

The Official Guide to Ballroom Dancing
Northbrook, IL: Domus Books, c1980
ISBN: 0891960651
ISBN: 0891960678 , $5.98 (paperback)
95 p., ill., index, 28 cm

Includes Waltz, Swing, Polka, Fox trot, Rumba, Cha-cha, Merengue, Tango, Mambo, Samba. This book explains 4 to 6 introductory patterns for each of the american style dances mentioned. Each of the patterns is illustrated with many pictures. However, the dancers in the pictures have very bad form. Wildly incorrect explanation (and illustration) of the dance positions. Definitely not recommended.

What with the 70's hairdo and clothes, the book can be worth a few laughs (it is not good for much else). For example, the lady in most of the pictures is wearing open-toed sandals, making you wonder how she keeps it on going backwards. The male demonstrator in the Latin dances is wearing a 3-piece suit!

NYPL: *MGW 82-5063

** Allen Dow:

The Official Guide to Latin Dancing
with Mike Michaelson ; [photography, Patrick K. Snook]
Northbrook, Ill.: Domus Books, c1980
ISBN: 0891960678 : $5.98

NYPL: *MGS (Latin American) 84-684

** Jack Henley:

A Passion for Teaching Dancing
Livonia, MI: J. Henley, c1993
200 p. : ill. ; 28 cm

NYPL: *MGW 95-1089

** Harold T. Zuluwinski:

Photo-Illustrated Dance Routines for Teachers
Burbank, CA: National Literary Guild, c1984
72 p. : ill. ; 28 cm
ISBN: 0866661654 (pbk.) : $14.95
Posed by Harold T. Zulawinski, Norma Adams, Genevieve P. Holmburg

A previous edition of this book appeared all the way back in 1934 (in loose-leaf form) under the name ``Illustrated dance routines, waltz, fox trot, one step, tango, for teachers and students''. The pictures of that version were also posed by Harold Zulawinski and Norma Adams.

NYPL *MGW 86-634

** Kenneth Laws:

The Physics of Dance
New York : Schirmer Books, c1984
photographs by Martha Swope
xv, 160 p. : ill. ; 25 cm, bibliography and index
ISBN: 002872030X

All about the physiological aspects of dancing, human mechanics and biophysics. Excellent book.

** Alex Moore:

Popular Variations
New Rochelle, NY: Distributed by Sportshelf, [1977]

NYPL: *MGW 84-4078

** ISTD:

Popular Variations In Latin American Dancing.
London : The Society, [1976]
46 p. ; 21 cm, $6.50
Stamped on cover: Distributed by Sportshelf, New Rochelle, N.Y

Edited by Elizabeth Romain on behalf of the Latin-American Dance Branch Committee, Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. Advanced variations and amalgamations for competition dancing. (Intl. Style) ``Includes the Popular Variations originally published in July 1972, and the additional popular variations shown at the 1975 Refresher Course and Congress.''

** Walter Laird:

Questions and answers on Latin dancing
Hounslow, England, 1966
85 p. ports. 18 cm
Distributed by Sportshelf, New Rochelle, N.Y.

** Alex Moore:

Questions and Answers for Modern and Latin American Ballroom Examinations
Kingston on Thames, Alex Moore, Zeeta Dance Studios, c1965

NYPL: *MGW 73-677

** Elizabeth Romain:

Questions and answers for the ISTD Ballroom Associate Examination
London, England: Hearn and Spencer

** Elizabeth Romain:

Questions and answers for the ISTD Latin Associate Examination
London, England: Hearn and Spencer

** Jeff Allen:

Quickstart to Social Dancing
QQS Publications, Cranston, RI.
ISBN 0-9654423-0-6; $17.00 (paperback)

A self-study book for beginner dancers. It includes Foxtrot, Rumba, Merengue, Swing, and Cha-Cha, with a special sections for brides and grooms. For more information, see the author's web page .

** Alex Moore:

The Revised Technique of Ballroom Dancing
(Kingston on Thames, Alex Moore, Zeeta Dance Studios, c1976)

Note: You should be able to find newer versions; this was the latest version in NY Public Library.

NYPL: *MGW 75-1615

** ISTD:

Revised Technique of Latin American Dancing.
London : Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing
[New Rochelle, N.Y. : Distributed by Sportshell], 1981
188 p. : ill. ; 25 cm

All figures broken down step by step in tabular form. Official book for ISTD examinations. (Int'l Style)

NYPL: *MGW 84-1874

** :Paul Harris

Salsa and Merengue, The essential step-by-step guide
UK: Sigma Leisure, c1998

A popular-level book for the club Latino scene. Note that the book is written by a British author for a British audience. Figures may be different from the ones popular in the US.

** Myrna Martin Schild:

Social Dance
Dubuque, Iowa: W.C. Brown, c1985
x, 114 p. : ill. ; 23 cm
ISBN: 0697003744 (pbk.)

NYPL: MGW 86-1913

** Judy Patterson Wright:

Social Dance: steps to success
Champaign, IL : Leisure Press, c1992.
viii, 166 p. : ill. ; 28 cm. + 1 sound disc (18 min. : analog, 33 1/3 rpm, stereo.)
ISBN: 0880114495 : $14.95 ($18.95 Can.)

** Judy Patterson Wright:

Social Dance Instruction: steps to success
Champaign, IL : Human Kinetics, c1996.
xi, 153 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.; bibliography
ISBN: 0873228308, paperback, $19.95
The two main parts of the book have vastly different quality. The first few chapters of the book address issues in developing a dance program from the point of view of the imparting skills, timing of the program, evaluation, and other aspects of running a successful group class. The material is presented in a systematic manner. This part is an outgrowth of the author's work for her thesis.

The second part of the book presents dance patterns (steps) in several dances. This part does not have the same high quality displayed in the first few chapters. This part of the book subscribes to the idea of teaching as many patterns to the students as possible. Little attention is paid to lead and follow, position and form. This program teaches patterns with no attempt at providing the student with an understanding of what makes them work . Such an approach is often responsible for producing dancers who ``know'' many patterns and yet are unable to dance them on the floor, or are unable to dance with partners from outside of their class.

The neglect of sound basics manifests iteself again in the introduction, where the author tries to make a distinction between "social dance" (defined as dancing done in social functions) and "ballroom dance", claiming that the book is about the former and not the latter. But ballroom dances are also social events! The fundamentals of form, movement, and lead-follow are identical in recreational partner dancing everywhere; the only difference is good dancing vs. bad dancing. Naturally, individuals who have been taught well and go dancing regularly dance better than typical crowds seen at weddings or proms. However, the existence of much bad dancing in typical social functions is hardly justification for a cavalier and uncareful approach to teaching of dance at the beginner level.

Overall evaluation: the book is worth reading for its first few chapters. Even established teachers can benefit from the systematic approach presented for laying out a dance course. It is unfortunate that the book doesn't apply this systematic approach to the develpment of a program with strong fundamentals. The later chapters are merely an aggregate of patterns that have little to offer to any moderately competent dancer or dance teacher.

** Ken Akril:

Social Dance Survival Guide
Approx. 180 p
ISBN 1 85058 611 X

** Aurora S. Villacorta:

Step by step to ballroom dancing
Danville, Ill. : Interstate Printers & Publishers, c1974
xv, 229 p. : ill. ; 26 cm

** Craig Hutchinson:

Swing Dancer

(Following review from Mark Balzer) Swing Dancer is a 270 page Swing dancer's manual by Craig R. Hutchinson. It provides definitions, an abbreviation dance code for annotating Swing dance figures, moves, turns, dance positions, and rhythm breaks. The manual covers training, music, technique, choreography, and history with 49 tables, 100 figures, and over 50 exercises for learning to turn.

The United States Swing Dance Council's beginning Swing figures are included in addition to level I figures and amalgamations for Swing, Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, Carolina Shag and Hustle. Rhythm breaks and figure journals are provided to check off your progress as well as separate work sheets for annotating your own figures and rhythm breaks.
Also included are: over 190 music titles and artists which are popular among Swing dancers; a bibliography of Swing dancing in movies from 1935 to 1989; a bibliography of video tapes and books on Swing dancing, and a Swing Dancer directory listing Swing dance clubs across the United States. At less than the price of one private dance lesson, it is a steal at $20.00 pre-punched, or $25.00 in a three-ring binder. Mail your check (Include $3.50 for postage and handling) to the Potomac Swing Dance Club, 3409 Silver Maple Place, Falls Church, VA 22042-3545, 703-698-9811.

** Norma Miller / Evette Jensen:

Swingin' at the Savoy - the memoir of a jazz dancer
Temple University Press, c1996
$30 in hardcover, about 260 pages, ISBN 1-56639-494-5

Norma Miller is one of the last surviving original Lindy Hoppers. She appeared in the movies "Day at the Races" and "Hellzapoppin'".

** Mayphine Van Zant:

Teach Yourself Ballroom Dancing
New York: David McKay Company Inc., c1979
xii, 268 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN 0679507965, $12.95, (paperback 0679507973)

"Guide to ballroom touch dancing with over 200 illustrations and dance-step diagrams, paperback with 268 pages"

** Virgil L. Morton:

The Teaching of Popular Dance
New York: J. Lowell Pratt & Co., c 1966
x, 148 p., Ill., index, paperback

Although written a great many years ago, this book has many pointers to sound teaching technique. The beginning chapters that deal with general points of teaching dance are especially useful, while the later chapters on specific dances have outdated material. Drawings that illustrate dance positions are different from today's practice (it is doubtful that they were accurate even in the late 60's). Another error is the rhythm for Cha-Cha, which is given as 1-2-3&4 (as opposed to 2-3-4&1, which is the current accepted count).

Eleven Chapters: American popular dancing; The teaching plan; Auxiliary dances; Cha-Cha; Argentine Tango; American Waltz; Heel-and-toe Polka; Swing; Samba; Fox trot.

** Guy Howard:

Technique of Ballroom Dancing.
(1992, ISBN No. 0 900326 19 0)
Brighton [Eng.]: IDTA, c1981

All figures broken down step by step in tabular form. Charts are more readable than ISTD books. IDTA syllabus. (Intl. Style)

NYPL: *MGW 85-1460

** Walter Laird:

Technique of Latin Dancing.
Brighton [East Sussex] : IDTA (Sales) ; New Rochelle, N.Y. : Distributed by Sportshelf, 1977, 1980, 1992
179 p. : ill. ; 25 cm
ISBN 0 900326 21 2

All figures broken down step by step in tabular form. Charts are more readable than ISTD books. IDTA syllabus. (Int'l Style)

NYPL: *MGW 91-628

** National Dance Council of America (NDCA):

Thirteen Ballroom Dances -Reivsed Bronze Standard
About 400 pages, Low quality Xerox, spiral bound

This is an attempt at codifying American style syllabus. To my knowledge, this is the only available printed material with a systematic exposition of American Style patterns and syllabi. Has chart format; no written text except in the introduction. Each pattern is described in separate charts for Man and Lady, where the horizontal axis marks the progression of time, and each row of information contains one element of dance, such as foot positions, amount of turn, rise and fall, footwork, and timing. Usage of 143 abbreviations plus 6 additional symbols makes it somewhat painful to use the charts. Overall, this book is not as easy to use as the comparable syllabus books of international style (ISTD and IDTA).

Includes: Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, Swing, Vienese Waltz, Polka, Peabody, Rumba, Cha-Cha, Samba, Merengue, Mambo, and Paso Doble.

** National Dance Council of America (NDCA):

Thirteen Ballroom Dances - American and Latin-American Silver Standard
Low quality Xerox, spiral bound

Same comments as for the previous book.

** ISTD:

Vienese Waltz

Dance Book Suppliers

** Ballroom Dance Supply

372 Bird Avenue, San Jose, CA 95126-3618
A resonably good collection of dance books, including both the ISTD series (Alex Moore and Elizabeth Romain), and the IDTA series (Walter Laird and Guy Howard), as well as other books. They accept credit card payments over the Internet (with some security features) which can be very convenient.

On average, their prices are higher than most other vendors. In one case, I was able to find a book elsewhere at a price 25 percent lower than here. They charge shipping and handling at the rate of $3.50 per item. This charge doesn't appear on your invoice until after you have entered the credit card information, which I find objectionable. However, the books are delivered within a few days.

Overall, they have good selection and good service, but you pay for the added convenience.

** Hearn & Spencer LTD

Spencer Dance Centre, Woodbine Grove, Penge, London, SE20 8UZ
Tel: 0181-659-9552 (9am-5pm, London time)
Fax: 0181-659-8819 (preferably during regular working hours)
A truly impressive collection of books, CD's and other dance-related merchandise. You can ask for a catalogue. Visa and Mastercard accepted. The charges are made in British currency, so ask about that rate of exchange before making a purchase.


Birkenhead Street, London, England WC1H 8BE
Tel: 071-837-9967
Fax: 071-833-5981
A variety of dance books, CD's and other dance-related products, available through mail order. Their web site has a catalogue containing all ISTD books. Prices include postage and handling for the UK and Europe. When ordering from other locations, fill the forms and they will get back to you with how much shipping will cost to your location.

** ProDance Worldwide

P.O. Box 272822, Boca Raton, FL 33427-2822
Tel: 561-243-9382 or 800-992-9282
FAX: 561-243-1002
Variety of dance books on social and competitive ballroom, Latin, and other forms of dancing. Includes ISTD and IDTA syllabus books. At this time (July 1997) most of the base prices seem to be better than other sources I know, while a few items are more expensive. However, the handling charges are steep (starting from $3.95 for the first $25 or less order), and even then shipments are delivered only by UPS Ground Service. For faster service, you need to pay yet an extra $7. Also, there are hidden $2 "surcharges" added to the price of some of the books, so read the order form carefully. I am also not sure if they charge sales tax for out-of-state purchases: as a mail-order business they shouldn't.

The method of payment is check or credit card (all major credit cards accepted). First time customers can mail in their order, or order by phone. Once your credit card information is on their files, all subsequent orders can be made through internet (order forms on the web page).


Mr. Angelo Calia, Paramount Dance Center
291 West Clay Ave, Roselle Park, NJ 07204
This is the US branch of ISTD (International Society of Teachers of Dancing). The "revised technique" books, which are the official syllabus of the ISTD, are available from this source.

** WorldTone Music, Inc.

230 7th Ave. New York, NY (between 22nd and 23rd St.)
WorldTone has a variety of dance books on stock (including ISTD and IDTA books), as well as CD's, shoes and dance accesories. Ask them and they won't charge tax on out of state purchases. All major credit cards accepted.

More about this page:

Thanks are due to Paul Klock, Andrew Tate, and Mark Balzer for providing information that I used as a nucleus for this list.

The alphanumerics designated by NYPL show the New York Public Library call numbers. These books are mostly stored in the library's performing arts branch, located at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts. This is the largest collection of books on ballroom dancing I know of. You can also access the Dance Collection Online Catalog (via NYPLnet).

The material in this page constitutes no express or implied endorsements.

Last modified October 29, 1998

Back to Aria's Dance Page

These pages have been accessed times since 2/1/96 .

Copyright (c) 1997,1998