8 couples form a line on floor, crowd roars and cheers when they begin to move

Anyone who just dances casually or occasionally probably doesn’t know that competitive ballroom dancing is so demanding and athletic that it’s actually considered a sport, known officially as “dancesport.” It’s been around for over a century; the first (unofficial) world championship took place in 1909. The World Dance Sport Federation was launched in 1957 to serve as the governing body. Dancesport hasn’t made it to the Olympics but the WDSF, which has 90 member countries, is nevertheless recognized by the International Olympic Committee.

Formation dancing became part of the dancesport repertoire in 1932. Instead of two dancers, an entire team of male and female dancers work together to bust out the moves. Far from being random, those moves are carefully designed by the team choreographer, who has to work on two levels simultaneously: each couple and the entire group. The eagle-eyed judges at competitions are watching carefully and will notice how well-synchronized each team’s performance is.

There are several major styles in dancesport: International Standard, International Latin, American Smooth, and American Rhythm. At the 2014 world championship held in Bremen, Germany, there was an especially spectacular display of the Latin style. An interesting array of influences went into forming the Latin style: European, indigenous South American, African, and American. Some standard moves today include the cha cha, rhumba, jive, paso doble, and the samba. The dancers of “DUET Perm” are from Russia but they certainly know their Latin dance moves. They also know their choreography by heart and that’s part of what helped them put on such an amazing performance.

Check out the video posted below and see for yourself what these sixteen dancers can do. It’s an extraordinary combination of grace and athleticism.

Did DUET Perm’s mastery of Latin dance knock your socks off? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below. Be sure to like and share: some of your friends may thank you for introducing them to the wonderful world of dancesport!