Ballroom dance is a set of partner dances, which are enjoyed both socially and competitively around the world. Because of its performance and entertainment aspects, ballroom dance is also widely enjoyed on stage, film, and television. It consists of five International Standard and five International Latin style dances.
Waltz began as a country folk dance in Austria and Bavaria in the 1600s. In the early 1800s it was introduced in England. It was the first dance where a man held a woman close to his body. When performing the dance the upper body is kept to the left throughout all figures, woman’s body leaves the right side of the man while the head is extended to follow the elbow.
A ballroom dance that branched away from its original Argentine roots by allowing European, American, Hollywood, and competitive influences into the style and execution of the dance. In 1912 tango was introduced to British audiences, showcased in the successful musical comedy The Sunshine Girl. Concurrently, the dance became popular elsewhere in Europe, particularly in Paris.
Viennese waltz originated in Provence area in France in 1559, and is recognized as the oldest of all ballroom dances. It was introduced in England as German waltz in 1812 and became popular throughout the 19th century by the music of Josef and Johann Strauss. It is often referred to as the classic “old-school” ballroom.
The foxtrot is a true American dance, credited by a vaudeville performer Harry Fox in 1914. Fox was rapidly trotting step to ragtime music ( an original form of jazz). The dance was originally named as the “Fox’s trot”.The foxtrot can be danced at slow, medium, or fast tempos depending on the speed of the jazz or big band music.
The quickstep was invented in the 1920s as a combination of faster tempo of foxtrot and the Charleston. It is a fast moving dance so men are allowed to close their feet and the couples move in short syncopated steps. Quick step includes the walks, runs, chasses and turns, of the original foxtrot dance, with some other fast figures such as locks, hops, and skips can be added.
Samba is the national dance of Brazil. The rhythm of samba and its name originated from West African slaves. In 1905, samba became known to the rest of the countries during an exhibition in Paris. Eventually in 1940s, samba was introduced in America due to a movie star named Carmen Miranda.The modern ballroom samba dance differs compared to the traditional Brazilian samba as it was modified as a partner dance.
The cha-cha was originally called the “cha-cha-cha.” The term came from Haiti and resembled the sound the bells made when rubbed. It was evolved from the rumba and mambo in the 1950s. Since mambo music was quite fast and difficult for some to dance to, a Cuban composer Enrique Jorrin slowed the music down and cha-cha was established.Cha-cha is a very flirtatious dance with many hip rotations and partners synchronizing their movements.
Rumba is known to be the most romantic and passionate of all dances. In the early 1920s, the dance came to the United States from Cuba and became a popular cabaret dance during prohibition.Rumba is very polyrhythmic and complex. It includes Cuban motions through knee-strengthening, figure- eight hip rotation and swiveling foot action.
Pasodoble is based on music played at bullfights during the bullfighters’ entrance (paseo) or during the passes (faena) just before the kill. The leader of this dance plays the part of the matador. The follower generally plays the part of the matador’s cape, but can also represent the shadow of the matador, as well as the flamenco dancer in some figures.
The jive is part of the swing dance group and is a very lively variation of the jitterbug. Jive originated from African American clubs in the early 1940s. During World War II, American soldiers introduced the jive in England where it was adapted to today’s competitive jive.In jive, the male leads the dance while the women encourage the men to ask them to dance.