Ballroom Syllabi: The Places You’ll Go

At some point in your ballroom journey, you’ll likely hear someone reference “the syllabus” or maybe a level like bronze/silver/gold or beginner/intermediate/advance. The ballroom syllabus exists to define a standard set of moves that may be expected at each syllabus level in every dance. It provides dancers with an idea of what they can do on the competition floor or their level of social dancing. The syllabus encompasses bronze through gold.

In International styles, the syllabus is dictated by the Imperial Society of Teachers Dancing (ISTD) or the World Dancesport Federation (WDSF). In the American styles, there are a few different organizations that develop syllabi. The two big governing dance bodies in the United States are generally considered to be USA Dance and the National Dance Council of America (NDCA). These organizations have a few discrepancies between their syllabi. However, at most collegiate competitions, both syllabi are usually accepted unless otherwise stated in the competition’s rules.

The following are free, online syllabi:


USA Dance American Smooth and Rhythm 


NDCA American Smooth
NCDA released a YouTube series demonstrating syllabus bronze American smooth figures:

ISTD American Smooth


NDCA American Rhythm
NCDA also released a YouTube series demonstrating syllabus bronze American rhythm figures:


USA Dance International Standard and Latin
Ballroom Guide International Standard and Latin-This is probably one of my favorite references for everything international. The authors detailed how to do each step and created video to accompany the descriptions.


ISTD International Standard


ISTD International Latin

* WDSF’s syllabus was not included on this list as it does not subdivide international figures into  bronze/silver/gold levels.


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