CBM and CBMP: is there a difference? – by Cassie Tucker

Cassie performing a spectacular Award.

CBM and CBMP: is there a difference?


DK Ballroom Instructor Cassie Tucker describes the difference between these two technical Ballroom terms.


"CBM and CBMP: is there a difference?

Hands down two of the most confusing acronyms for ballroom dancing have to be CBM and CBMP.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve asked my teachers what these acronyms mean only to instantly forget them again.  But isn’t CBM and CBMP the same thing?  Surprising No!  Let me explain the difference.

CBM = Contra Body Movement.  

Contra Body Movement or CBM is an Action.  This refers to the action of turning the opposite side of the body toward the moving leg to initiate turn.  Confused?  Think of it like walking.  When we walk naturally, our right arm swings forward when our left leg steps forward and vice versa.  Same thing happens when we walk backwards.  We naturally swing opposing sides of the body to maintain balance while moving.  If you don’t believe me, try swinging your right arm and right leg together and left arm and left leg together while walking. I can guarantee there is nothing “natural” about that action!

CBMP = Contra Body Movement Position 

Contra Body Movement Position or CBMP is a Foot position.  This is a foot position where the moving leg steps in line or across the line of the standing leg.  In short, it means walking with one foot in front (or behind) the other, like walking on a straight line or a tight-rope.  When you hear your teacher say “Right Foot forward in CBMP” or “Left Foot back in CBMP,” you will know that it simply means stepping directly in line with your standing foot. 

Between the two, CBMP is the term most commonly used by your teachers.  Every time you step Outside Partner (OP) in Waltz, Quickstep or Slow Foxtrot, you are stepping in CBMP in order to maintain contact with your partner.  In Tango, due to the hold and body position of the Man and Lady, literally, almost every second step is in CBMP!  

Both CBM and CBMP are very important when it comes to ballroom dancing and hopefully, now, you have a bit more information to help you differentiate between the two."