A dance is a series of movements — sometimes choreographed, but sometimes not — where the person moves in time to music. Rumba, tango, disco, swing, and ballet are all examples of types of dances.

If you move in a rhythmic manner — especially to music — you can use the verb dance to explain your actions. As a noun, a dance can be a social occasion, held by a school or by some other organization, where music is played and people gather to dance or just hang out. In fact, sometimes there is no actual dancing at a dance — especially when young teenagers feel awkward around one another.

Definitions of dance

n taking a series of rhythmical steps (and movements) in time to music

dancing, saltation, terpsichore
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a slow section of a pas de deux requiring great skill and strength by the dancers
break dance, break dancing
a form of solo dancing that involves rapid acrobatic moves in which different parts of the body touch the ground; normally performed to the rhythm of rap music
a court dance of the 16th century; consisted of short advances and retreats
nauch, nautch, nautch dance
an intricate traditional dance in India performed by professional dancing girls
pavan, pavane
a stately court dance of the 16th and 17th centuries
dance movements that are linked in a single choreographic sequence
a stately court dance of the 17th and 18th centuries; in slow time
a rhythmic dance to reggae music performed by bending forward and extending the hands while bending the knees
slam dance, slam dancing
a form of dancing in which dancers slam into one another; normally performed to punk rock
hoofing, step dancing
dancing in which the steps are more important than gestures or postures
toe dance, toe dancing
a dance performed on tiptoe
choreography, stage dancing
a show involving artistic dancing
pas seul, variation
(ballet) a solo dance or dance figure
duet, pas de deux
(ballet) a dance for two people (usually a ballerina and a danseur noble)
pas de trois
(ballet) a dance for three people
pas de quatre
(ballet) a dance for four people
social dancing
dancing as part of a social occasion
a Latin American dance similar in rhythm to the rumba
ceremonial dance, ritual dance, ritual dancing
a dance that is part of a religious ritual
tap dance, tap dancing
a dance step tapped out audibly with the feet
ballet, concert dance
a theatrical representation of a story that is performed to music by trained dancers
modern dance
a style of theatrical dancing that is not as restricted as classical ballet; movements are expressive of feelings
apache dance
a violent fast dance in French vaudeville (an apache is a member of the French underworld)
belly dance, belly dancing, danse du ventre
a Middle Eastern dance in which the dancer makes sensuous movements of the hips and abdomen
a Spanish dance in triple time accompanied by guitar and castanets
a strutting dance based on a march; was performed in minstrel shows; originated as a competition among Black dancers to win a cake
a high-kicking dance of French origin performed by a female chorus line
nude dancing
erotic dancing with little or no clothing
a jerky American dance that was popular in the 1940s
lindy, lindy hop
an energetic American dance that was popular in the 1930s (probably named for the aviator Charles Lindbergh)
a provocative Spanish courtship dance in triple time; performed by a man and a woman playing castanets
flamenco, gypsy dancing
a style of dancing characteristic of the Andalusian Gypsies; vigorous and rhythmic with clapping and stamping of feet
an old formal French dance in quadruple time
a Cuban dance in duple time
a lively dance step consisting of hopping on each foot in turn
lively dancing (usually to ragtime music) with much shaking of the shoulders and hips
a dance involving a rhythmical stamping step
tarantella, tarantelle
a lively whirling Italian dance for two persons
social dancing in which couples vigorously twist their hips and arms in time to the music; was popular in the 1960s
ballroom dance, ballroom dancing
any of a variety of social dances performed by couples in a ballroom
folk dance, folk dancing
a style of dancing that originated among ordinary people (not in the royal courts)
apache devil dance
a ritual dance of the Apache
dance of death, danse macabre
a medieval dance in which a skeleton representing death leads a procession of others to the grave
ghost dance
a religious dance of Native Americans looking for communication with the dead
an ancient Greek dance imitating the motions of warfare
rain dance
a ritual dance intended to bring rain
snake dance
a ceremonial dance (as by the Hopi) in which snakes are handled or invoked
sun dance
a ceremonial dance performed by Amerindians at the summer solstice
war dance
a ceremonial dance performed before a battle or after a victory
Type of:
diversion, recreation
an activity that diverts or amuses or stimulates
performing arts
arts or skills that require public performance

n an artistic form of nonverbal communication

the ability to raise the working leg high in the air
the representation of dancing by symbols as music is represented by notes
Type of:
art, fine art
the products of human creativity; works of art collectively

n a party of people assembled for dancing

the people assembled at a lavish formal dance
Type of:
a group of people gathered together for pleasure

n a party for social dancing

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ball, formal
a lavish dance requiring formal attire
barn dance
a dance party featuring country dancing
hop, record hop
an informal dance where popular music is played
a dance party that lasts all night and electronically synthesized music is played
cotilion, cotillion
a ball at which young ladies are presented to society
fancy-dress ball, masked ball, masquerade ball
a ball at which guests wear costumes and masks
prom, promenade
a formal ball held for a school class toward the end of the academic year
Type of:
an occasion on which people can assemble for social interaction and entertainment

v move in a pattern; usually to musical accompaniment; do or perform a dance

“My husband and I like to dance at home to the radio”
trip the light fantastic, trip the light fantastic toe
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dance to jive music; dance the jive
dance in a professional capacity
dance a clog dance
tap dance
perform a tap dance
belly dance
perform a belly dance
perform with the heels
dance a shimmy
bebop, bop
dance the bebop
dance erotically or dance with the pelvis thrust forward
do the twist
waltz, waltz around
dance a waltz
tap, tapdance
dance and make rhythmic clicking sounds by means of metal plates nailed to the sole of the dance shoes
dance a tango
dance the shag
dance the foxtrot
contra danse, contradance, contredanse, country-dance
perform a contradance
break, break dance, break-dance
do a break dance
perform the cakewalk dance
dance the conga
dance the samba
dance the two-step
dance the Charleston
dance to boogie music
dance the cha-cha
dance to disco music
dance a mambo
dance a polka
dance the one-step
rhumba, rumba
dance the rhumba
mosh, slam, slam dance, thrash
dance the slam dance
dance a quick dance with leaping and kicking motions
do the jitterbug
folk dance
perform a folk-dance
square dance
dance in formation
perform a quickstep
kick a leg up
dance the skank
dance by rotating the pelvis in an erotically suggestive way, often while in contact with one's partner such that the dancers' legs are interlaced
Type of:
move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion

v move in a graceful and rhythmical way

“The young girl danced into the room”
trip the light fantastic, trip the light fantastic toe
move in a pattern; usually to musical accompaniment; do or perform a dance
perform a glissade, in ballet
chasse, sashay
perform a chasse step, in ballet
perform a capriole, in ballet
Type of:
move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion

v skip, leap, or move up and down or sideways

Dancing flames”
“The children danced with joy”
Type of:
move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion

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