Formation dance is a style of ballroom dancing. It is pattern or shadow team dancing by couples in a formation team.
The choreography may be based on a particular dance or a medley of dances.
Formation dancing may be done for exhibition or for competition between teams.
There is also a type of formation in Bhangra.
International Style Ballroom: Dance Sport
Formation dancing originated in 1932 in London's Astoria Ballroom. It was Olive Ripman who introduced it under the name "pattern dancing". Soon it became a competitive dance form.
Formation team contests began in the 1930s in England, and spread to many other countries. International matches have taken place. Formation dances were an important part of the BBC TV program Come Dancing when Frank and Peggy Spencer's formation teams competed against Constance Millington's team.
The peak of popularity was in the 1960s, and is now growing from strength to strength with formation teams from all over the world competing against each other.
The choreography of a formation team includes both choreography of a dancesport routine of an individual couple and the overall pattern of movements of the couples on the floor. All couples are expected to follow the beat of the music and movements should be executed simultaneously. Teams are marked on their synchronicity.
Latin Dancesport formation is a medley of dances that include the 5 International Latin dances: Cha Cha, Rumba, Jive, Paso Doble and Samba.
Standard or Ballroom formation is a medley of the 5 international ballroom dances Waltz, Quickstep, Tango, Viennese Waltz and Foxtrot.
The routines generally feature at least some free-form choreography in the walk on and walk off, which may include movements from jazz dance, ballet, or any other type of dance. This is clearly marked by a gong. A complete routine usually lasts a total of 6 minutes.
Formation routines allow dancers to show off their own technique in addition to their ability to move as a team. Unlike individual competitions tricks such as "round abouts", "chain reactions" form a large section of the choreography.
Shapes (also known as patterns or images) that are an accepted part of choreography are diamonds, squares, diagonals, circles and lines. The routine is judged by the distribution of competitors across the floor, how "readable" the patterns are and the transitions between these patterns.
Specialist formation choreographers include Ona Skaistute Idzeleviciene, Roberto Albanese, Horst Beer, David Mallabone and Rachael Holland.
The international governing body is the International DanceSport Federation (IDSF) (which has Olympic recognition). Competing teams must be a member of one of its member organisations such as the English amateur dancesport association ltd (EADA)
The following is a summary of the IDSF rules for European and World Formation competitions.
Each member country may send 2 formation teams to compete in each of the 2 international styles (Latin and Standard).
These are selected by national competitions, such as the British National Championships at the Blackpool Dance Festival.
International competitions have a minimum of 4 countries
The usual sporting anti-doping rules apply.
All competitors must be amateurs.
Each team must contain between 6 and 8 couples.
In the standard section Men's dress must be black or midnight blue.
In Latin men may wear coloured shirts but all men must dress the same.
In standard formation, solo work is restricted to 8 bars. This does not apply in Latin where solo work usually plays a part.
Lifts are not allowed in the main "judged" part of the routine, but are usually allowed in the walk on and walk off, which is clearly marked by a gong.
A routine is a maximum of 6 minutes long including entry to and from the floor (a walk on and walk off). Only 4 and a half minutes of this is judged so a gong is used to clearly signify which sections are to be judged.
Competing teams are judged by those experienced in formation.
In early rounds, judges mark if they believe teams should go through to the next round. In final rounds teams are ranked and the skating system applies.
Other competitions of note are the Blackpool Dance Festival and the Donaupokal Invitational Competition Vienna. Germany is notable in having several leagues of formation teams, and holds several competitions each year.
Current Formation Teams
List of Adult Formation Teams currently competing in the IDSF World Ranking Competition
There are currently 22 Latin Teams and 18 Standard teams that compete annually in the World Cup
Country Latin Formation Team Standard Formation Team
Austria HSV ZwÃ¶lfaxing, TSC Schwarz-Gold
Belarus DC Mara, Minsk Univers Formation-team, Minsk
Bulgaria Ogosta Dance
Czech Republic TK 1976 Most, TKG Hlinsko TK Chvaletice
England XS Latin
Germany GrÃ¼n-Gold-Club Bremen, FG TSZ Aachen/TD TSC DÃ¼sseldorf Rot-WeiÃŸ TC Ludwigsburg, Braunschweiger TSC
Hungary GÃ¡la TE, Botafogo Dance Ensemble Szilver TSE, KÃ¶dmÃ¶n TSE
Lithuania Klaipeda University DSC "Å½uvedra" (A and B)
Mongolia IFE Ulaan Sarnai (Red Rose)
Netherlands Dance East Oldenzaal, Double V Latin Formation Team Moving Action, Step in Time Formation Team
Poland KS Kamion Dance Warsaw, Dance Formation A-z Przemysl, Dance Formation SPIN Wodzislaw Slaski, Dance Formation Takt-Chelm, LA CMG Radom LOTOS-Jantar, Kadry
Romania Floris Dance Team Floris Dance Team
Russia Vera Tjumen, DSC Tsveta Radugi Impulse
Serbia Vracar Formation Team
Slovakia KTS Interklub Madit, TC KoÅ¡ice
Below are the First and Second Place results for the IDSF World Championships
Year Venue Standard Result Venue Latin Result
1995 Stuttgart Braunschweiger TSC, TC Ludwigsburg Berlin TSG Bremerhaven, Germany, TSC Schwarz-Gelb Aachen, Germany
1996 Berlin TC Ludwigsburg, Germany, Braunschweiger TSC Vilnius TSC Schwarz-Gelb Aachen, Germany, Klaipeda University Å½uvedra team, Lithuania
1997 Kishinev DSC Kodryanka Kishinev, Moldova, Ludwigsburg, Germany Munich TSC Schwarz-Gelb Aachen, Germany TSG Bremerhaven, Germany Deutschland Germany
1998 Berlin TC Allround Berlin, Germany, DSC Kodryanka Kishinev, Moldova Gothenburg TSC Schwarz-Gelb Aachen, Germany,TD TSC DÃ¼sseldorf Rot-WeiÃŸ, Germany
1999 Elblag Jantar Elblag Jantar Elblag Poland, TC Allround Berlin Germany Vilnius Klaipeda University Å½uvedra team, Lithuania, TSG Bremerhaven, Germany
2000 Brunswick Braunschweiger TSC, Germany, DSC Kodryanka Kishinev, Moldova Wels (Stadt) TSG Bremerhaven, Germany, Klaipeda University Å½uvedra team, Lithuania
2001 Berlin DSC Kodryanka Kishinev, Moldova, Braunschweiger TSC, Germany Bremerhaven TSG Bremerhaven, Germany, Klaipeda University Å½uvedra team, Lithuania
2002 Kishinev DSC Kodryanka Kishinev, Moldova, Vera Tyumen, Russia Vilnius Klaipeda University Å½uvedra team, Lithuania, TD TSC DÃ¼sseldorf Rot-WeiÃŸ, Germany
2003 Stuttgart DSC Kodryanka Kishinev, Moldova, Braunschweiger TSC, Germany Essen Klaipeda University Å½uvedra team, Lithuania, TSZ Aachen, Germany
2004 Brunswick Braunschweiger TSC, Germany, DSC Kodryanka Kishinev, Moldova Minsk Klaipeda University Team Å½uvedra Lithuania,
GrÃ¼n-Gold-Club Bremen Germany
2005 Elblag Braunschweiger TSC, Germany, DSC Kodryanka Kishinev, Moldova Munich Klaipeda University Å½uvedra team Lithuania,
GrÃ¼n-Gold-Club Bremen Germany
2006 Moscow Vera Tyumen, Russia, DSC Kodryanka Kishinev, Moldova Bremen GrÃ¼n-Gold-Club Bremen Germany, Klaipeda University Å½uvedra team, Lithuania
2007 Stuttgart TC Ludwigsburg, Germany, Vera Tyumen, Russia Bremerhaven TSG Bremerhaven, Germany,
GrÃ¼n-Gold-Club Bremen,Germany (joined first), Klaipeda University Å½uvedra team, Lithuania
2008 Kishinev DSC Kodryanka Kishinev, Moldova, TC Ludwigsburg, Germany Wiener Neustadt, Austria Å½uvedra Klaipeda University, Lithuania, Green-Gold-Club Bremen Germany Deutschland Germany
2009 Ludwigsburg Germany  TC Ludwigsburg Germany, Vera Tyumen Russia Bremen, Germany  GrÃ¼n-Gold-Club Bremen Germany, Å½uvedra Klaipeda University, Lithuania,
2010 Elblag, Poland  FS LOTOS-Jantar (Poland), Braunschweiger TSC(Germany) Moscow, Russia  Vera Tyumen, Russia, Å½uvedra Klaipeda University, Lithuania,
2011 Braunschweig, Germany Braunschweiger TSC (Germany), Vilnius, Lithuania Å½uvedra Klaipeda University (Lithuania), Vera Tyumen (Russia)
Spencer, Frank and Peggy 1968. Come dancing. Allen, London. Chapter 3, p33.
History of Dancesport by Dancesport Ireland
"Classes and Cultures: England 1918-1951", by Ross McKibbin (2000) ISBN 0-19-820855-3, p. 405
Peggy Spencer Talks to BBC about Starting Formation Dancing
ISTD History of Formation
Biography of Å½uvedra Coach
German Wikipedia Biography of Roberto Albanese
German Wikepdia Biography of Horst Beer
Certificate of Olympic recognition of IDSF
"Formatieteams wereldwijd". Formatiedansen.nl. Retrieved 17 April 2013.