About Ballroom Dance

October 25, 2009


Ballroom dance refers to types of social dances that require two people to dance together following a few standard steps. Ballroom dance is a derivation from the word ‘ball’ (social events attended by elites in the early 18th century), that consecutively originates from the Latin word ‘ballare’ meaning “to dance”. The most common ballroom dance forms can be distinguished into Viennese Waltz, Modern Waltz, Slow Foxtrot, Tango, Quickstep and the various forms of Latin Dances.

Originating somewhere betwixt the late 18th and early 19th century in England, ballroom dance was practiced by the privileged class in parties and balls. Gradually over time and during the 19th century, ballroom dance became a trend amongst the middle classes and the working classes who participated in event gatherings at public dance halls. In the nineteen hundred twenties, the reputation of ballroom dance contests rose dramatically with the result of the setting up of the Ballroom Branch of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing in Nineteen twenty-four that was instrumental in standardizing the steps, music and performance of ballroom dance. Today, ballroom dance is performed not only in Europe, but in the Asian-Pacific and the Americas as well. It is common to find formal ballroom dance competitions, known as DanceSport, for ballroom dancers at different proficiency levels.

The different ballroom dance types originate from different backgrounds and have unique aesthetics, rhythms, techniques and tempos. Despite these differences, all ballroom dance types do share similar traits. Performed by two people (usually a man and woman), these dances require that they dance in a certain arrangement which is very famously termed as the ‘Close Hold’. This position requires the two people to maintain five areas of contact – three hand contact points wherein the man’s left hand holds the woman’s right hand, the woman’s left hand is positioned on the man’s right upper arm and the man’s right hand is placed below the left shoulder blade on the woman’s back; one elbow contact point wherein the woman’s left elbow is placed on the man’s right elbow and both arms are maintained in a horizontal line contributing to the ease of movement; one chest contact point wherein the right area of the chest of the man touches the right area of the woman contributing to the expression of feelings and emotions between the two.

To conclude, being one of the finest expressions of love, joyfulness and pain between two people, ballroom dance is a fad that will never fade away.

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