dance 5Unless you dance privately, when you think of ballroom dancing, you are most likely going to a wedding or some sort of party to dance. Dancing is a sport, like tennis. When you dance, it’s invigorating and challenging. In order to do it well, you have to study or take lessons, just like any sport. Dance has history like all sports.

Here’s some history about “Ballroom Dancing:”

dance800px-Vernon_and_Irene_Castle2Ballroom dancing is a dance that takes usually takes place at social gatherings. You can bring your partner with you, or you can meet a partner at the gathering, as in the 1940’s when there were the popular USO dances. During World War II USOs all over the globe would hold free dances for service members, allowing them to mingle with the community who were there to show how much they supported the military. It was a great boost to the popularity of ballroom dancing.

Ginger Roger & Fred Astaire

Ginger Roger & Fred Astaire

The Foxtrot was believed to be the first “slow step,” given the title from Harry Fox, a vaudeville dancer and comedian, who was believed to be the first to use the slow step. The first freestyle use of the slow step came into vogue around 1912, during the period of ragtime music. This marked a completely new phase of dancing where partners danced much closer together (more compact) and ad-libbed to the new and exhilarating music. Prior to this period, the Polka, Waltz and the One-Step were popular. In these dances partners were held at arm’s length and a set pattern of movements was observed.

By 1915, another change took place—new and melodic “pop” songs were being written—tunes like, “Oh, You Beautiful Doll” and “Ida” were the smash hits of the day. The public was quick to appreciate the change to a smoother, more rhythmic style of music, and their dancing began to absorb the better attributes of the older dances. From 1917 up to the present time, the accent has been placed on smoother dancing and individualized expression. By 1960, the international style of dancing was making its way into the U.S. ballrooms and many of the techniques were implemented into the American style Foxtrot. The main difference between the two styles is that the international style Foxtrot is danced entirely in contact maintaining the normal dance hold, while the American style allows for complete freedom of expression utilizing various dance holds and positions.

USO dances

USO dances

waltzDuring the 20th century, new dances were introduced to the ballroom. The Tango was derived from two dances, a solo dance from Spain and an Argentinean courtship dance that was originally considered taboo among polite society in Argentina. A moderated version of the tango had appeared before the First World War. Dances such as the American foxtrot (see that history above), quickstep, Afro-Cuban rumba, Spanish paso doble, Brazilian samba, Cuban cha-cha, jive and American swing also became popular during the 20th century, as new music styles and social rules changed and relaxed.

At the same time, there was an increasing interest in creating dances that could easily be taught from the new styles of dance and music, in both the US and Europe. Ballroom dances were becoming standardized, allowing the dancer to learn a number of standard moves that they could use with any partner. Dancers and professionals like Irene and Vernon Castle, and dance societies such as the Arthur Murray group were very influential. Later in the century, screen stars such as Fred Astaire helped to spread interest in ballroom dancing.

Rules

Dance Etiquette

Competitive ballroom dancing or dancesport began to overtake social dancing towards the end of the 20th century, with two main styles evolving: the International or WDC defined style and the American style. Dancesport had been around for some time, with a world championship being held unofficially in 1909. It first appeared on the television in 1960 and became very popular during the 1980s. Ballroom dancing has recently increased in popularity due to the presence of competitive dancing on TV across the world.

We joined a local dance studio. We are pleased with how they work.

You must visit my writer friend Patty Blount’s blog about ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Gilles Marini.

So,danceuso3 do you want to dance?

Permission and thanks for some of this info goes to:  BallroomDance.co

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