The five standardised Ballroom dances are;
Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Quickstep & Viennese Waltz
The following websites are excellent starting points
Although the " politically correct " term is Dancesport, there are many, myself included, who are not fond of this description of the Art we love. I, along with a large number of my fellow dancers, teachers and adjudicators, consider that Ballroom (and Latin American) Dancing, particularly when performed at high competitive levels, is an art. An art where the dancers' bodies are used with such virtuosity that they seem to actually become another instrument in the orchestra!
Of course there are a number of sporting aspects to competitive dancing. The very fact that competitions exist, puts dancing into a sporting enviroment and the physical requirements of fitness, stamina, strength, flexibility and above all, muscular control and balance, necessitate a harsh and rigorous training regime.This means that whilst they are actually rehearsing their dance routines, dancers are also training their bodies to be able to endure the physical demands of competition. The most coveted title in the world is the British Open Championships, held annually in the UK, at Blackpool, . To win this title often means dancing at full power from around 3PM through until 1 AM the following morning.
Some events commence with entries of more than 6oo couples. The elimination rounds are danced in heats of about 22-24 couples, over 4 or 5 dances, with a mandatory 20 minute break between rounds. Each round reduces the entered couples by approximately half, until only 6 (or 7) couples remain. These couples then dance the final round, where they are each placed against each other, from first, second etc. and a statistical analysis of these placings eventually decides the winners. The whole event can take seven rounds from start to finish.
As one who has " been there and done that " and suffered the resultant pain for a few days afterwards, albeit in the Latin American style, I can assure you that the physical demands are very great.
However, notwithstanding the sporting aspect, for me, the most thrilling and indeed moving aspect of dancing, is the supreme artistry, which dancers of high calibre exhibit. To watch world class dancers perform the lilting Waltz, the smooth flowing actions of a Foxtrot, the fiery staccato movements of Tango, the vigorous whirling of Viennese Waltz and the breakneck speed and power of a Quickstep, all with superb sensitivity and musicality and at the same time making all of the above seem like no effort at all, is awe inspiring.