Triple Steps – A Basic Element of Ballroom Dancing

In ballroom dancing, a triple step is done by making three changes of weight over the course of two beats of music, otherwise known as syncopating. It’s a lively movement that suits some Latin dances and just about any Swing dance style. In addition, depending on the tempo of the song, they are extremely fast or very slow. In either case, triple steps are sassy, sexy, and seriously fun!

The Anatomy of a Triple Step

Directional Movement

Dance your triple steps in different directions

For example, you might dance chasses (or side-togethers) to the left or the right. Consequently, a move to the left would be: left foot side, right foot closes to left foot, left foot side. With this in mind, moving them to the right is the natural opposite, or: right foot side, left foot closes to right foot, right foot side.

Side-togethers can also be done on an angle forward or back. However, the key to doing this stylish move is to use what we call a shoulder lead. Simply turn the side of the body (shoulder and hip) on an angle that matches the foot you’re leading off with.

More advanced examples of triple steps are Cross Triples and Kick – Ball – Changes. Click on the links for short lessons.

Here are the counts of some basic triple steps for different dances.


East Coast Swing and Jive  1, 2, 3 & 4, 5 & 6

WC Swing  6 count – 1, 2, 3 & 4, 5 & 6   8 count – 1, 2, 3 & 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8

Lindy Hop  1, 2, 3 & 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8

Triple steps are danced in Lindy Hop.
Frankie Manning and Erin Stevens using triple steps in Lindy Hop.

Cha Cha  2, 3, 4 & 1

Samba  1 a 2, 3 a 4  (beat value is 3/4, 1/4, 1)

To really get to know this syncopated darling of the Rhythm and Latin dances, visit this Dance Safari page, “Cha Cha Basics – Cha Cha Cha is Fun Fun Fun!

Anyhow, there’s your brief introduction to one of the 3 basic elements in ballroom dancing. They are, of course, walking, rocking, and triple steps. Easy stuff – you can do it!

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