Competitive DancingDance PsychologySocial Dancing

American Smooth in Europe- just do whatever you want or not?

American Smooth in Europe England rules blog article by marcin raczynski

“Who needs rules in American Smooth if you can simply dance in Europe”…

Given how new this style is to “non-american” dancers, let’s see what some restrictions may be (if any).

Many dancers watch American Smooth and just see all these amazing lines, getting in hold, out of hold, changing positions from closed to shadow etc. One may think- what a mayhem (if you put it next to International Ballroom). However, should you do that? Absolutely NOT!

Just to give you a very brief background, American Smooth is a separate dance form that incorporates elements of other styles:

  • International Ballroom
  • International Latin
  • Ballet
  • Contemporary
  • Jazz

American Smooth is NOT some sort of “ugly” daughter of International Ballroom (to be honest, that’s what I thought when I first saw it). In fact, I would encourage you to try dancing Smooth as it gives completely different ways to move, flow and express.

American Smooth in Europe England rules blog article by marcin raczynski

How is American Smooth in Europe now?

American Smooth is slowly growing with more competition organizers adding it to their list of events. That is fantastic. However, usually there are about 2-4 couples per Smooth event which makes it less of a competition. Yet, it’s growing.

However, as it’s a style that “European” dancers are less familiar with, it may be important to make sure we understand it much better before we judge it. This is where the problem lies!

At the moment there are no rules about dancing American Smooth in European competitions. Unfortunately, even if there were any, there would be noone to enforce them anyway.

So when teaching, how many pros (in Europe) put some guides and restrictions on choreography? Don’t worry, I’m not judging anyone as we simply have no guidance to follow, however there are some things we can do to remedy that.

  1. If you have never tried American Smooth, find a teacher in your area who has the knowledge to introduce you to the style.
  2. TEACHER POINT- Follow the syllabus of bronze, silver and gold figures approved in the US so that students progress gradually and they don’t start with gold steps they can’t even manage (just because they look sexy).
  3. Why reinvent the wheel when we can simply follow the rules that American Competition Circuit has. Your teacher should be familiar with this. Here is the one I use:
    NDCA APPROVED FIGURES, ELEMENTS & RESTRICTIONS January 2018 (1)
  4. Judges should have the knowledge and experience in Smooth too so why not get some training in it? It’s part of personal development that I think is crucial if you want to follow that career path.
  5. Each dance competition, should have judges that have demonstrated that level of understanding, through experience or qualifications.

American Smooth in Europe England rules blog article by marcin raczynski

American Smooth is an absolutely beautiful style that allows many dancers to combine what they love the most, that is Ballroom, Latin, Ballet.

It’s very early days for us, “non-americans”, in Smooth. However, because we are a “plain canvas to paint on”, we can achieve great quality dancing (as we already have in International) if teachers and competition organisers put some rules in place. I am very excited to see more and more dancers trying American Smooth and falling in love with it.

Please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.

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Photo credits: Maggiore Fotografico

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