There are two possible applications for the term Latin dances used in the context of ballroom and social dances.
The first meaning designates dances taking roots in Latin America. In general these are Rumba, Cha-cha-cha, Samba, Mambo, Salsa, Bachata, Merengue,Cumbia, Bolero. Some dance experts also add Argentine tango and Tango in this list, even though these are different from the rest in the style.
The second and more formal application is to denote the name of a class of International-style ballroom dances, also known as International Latin or Latin American dances. It comprises the five following dances: Cha-cha-cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble and Jive. Note that Paso Doble and Jive dances have no Latin American roots.
Contrasting classic ballroom dances, the dances of Professional Latin section are commonly more sensual, faster-paced, and feature greater rhythmic expression. Typically, time is 4/4 steady rhythm or kindred. In the basic position couples stand face-to-face. The music can be either contemporary popular or Latin American traditional. In formalized Latin dances, the lady wears a Latin outfit and the gentleman is dressed in black. The dances take roots in Europe, Africa and Latin America. International-style dances are mostly British variations of such dances; as well as American-style (otherwise known as Social Style) dances are variations developed in the United States. The difference in the technique and steps between the two styles is dependent on the particular dance.
Types of Ballroom Dances:
1) Professional Standard Section - Tango, Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Quickstep, Foxtrot.
2) Professional Latin Section -- Cha-cha-cha, Rumba, Samba, Jive (dance), Paso Doble.
3) American Smooth - Foxtrot, Tango, Waltz, Viennese Waltz.
4) American Rhythm -- Mambo, Cha-cha-cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing, Bolero.
5) Nightclub -- Swing, Nightclub Two Step, Modern Jive, Hustle, LeRoc, Ceroc.
6) Latin Nightclub - Salsa, Cumbia, Bachata, Merengue, Cha-cha-cha.
7) Country/Western -- C/W Two Step, C/W Cha-Cha-Cha, C/W Polka, C/W Waltz.
8) Cajun Dances -- Zydeco, Cajun One Step, Cajun Two Step, Cajun Jitterbug, Cajun Waltz.
The first World Championships in the Professional Latin section of ballroom dancing were held in 1959 and were organized by the ICBD. Since then, the championships are held once a year in the concluding quarter of the year. ICBD was then renamed WD&DSC and now represents all the foremost professional Dance Sport nations.
The dancing of the Professional Latin section encompasses such dances as the cha-cha-cha, jive, rumba, paso doble and samba and has a fixed set of professional Latin rules for its competitions.
Professional Latin World Champions in Recent Years:
2004 -- Carmen Vincelj and Bryan Watson (Germany);
2003 -- Carmen Vincelj and Bryan Watson (Germany);
2002 -- Carmen Vincelj and Bryan Watson (Germany);
2001 -- Carmen Vincelj and Bryan Watson (Germany);
2000 -- Carmen Vincelj and Bryan Watson (Germany);
1999 -- Carmen Vincelj and Bryan Watson (Germany);
1998 -- Gaynor Fairweather and Donnie Burns (Scotland).