The term “Ballroom Dancing” is derived from the word ball, which in turn originates from the Latin word ballare which indicates “to dance.” Its development more than likely came from basic folk dancing taken pleasure in by the peasant classes which were then formalized by the upper-class nobility during the time of the Enlightenment.
Ballroom dance dates back to a minimum of the age of court balls lavishly carried out by the Ancient Regime of France under Louis XVI in the 1700s and of the other European aristocracy of England, Austria, and Russia.
In her memoirs, Souvenirs Madame Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun, main portraitist to Marie Antoinette, stated of dance in her age, “They danced the waltz with such frenzy that I might not think of how all these individuals, spinning around at such rate, did not get giddy and drop; however males and females are so accustomed to this violent workout that they did not take a single break as long as the ball lasted.
They likewise often danced the Polonaise, far less fatiguing, for it is nothing more than a procession throughout which twosomes promenade in majestic style.
It marvelously matches pretty women as it manages all the needed time to appreciate their figures and deals with.”
While the Puritans who settled in the New World prevented dance of any kind, ballroom dance still discovered a welcome reception among colonists.
John Quincy Adams as soon as participated in a dance marathon and George Washington raised eyebrows by dancing with a female partner for three complete hours. In fact, it is at George Washington’s inauguration that the precedent for ballroom dance in the new republic was developed.
At eighteenth-century assembly balls individuals danced the minuet, the cotillion, and the allemande. Gentlemen were advised to not use coarse language and to lay aside their swords at the door.
In 1823 dance was made an official course taught at West Point Academy and in 1885 Alan Dodworth, a preeminent dance instructor, wrote, Dancing and Its Relation to Education and Social Life, codifying five standard positions of good dancing.
Teachers in both England and the United States, from the 1870s on, began to form professional associations and developed a ballroom design that was official, sleek, and classy, and still forms the basis of competitive dancing today.
Today, the term Ballroom Dance may apply to any among the a number of dances in which 2 individuals, a “leader” and a “follower,” dance with physical contact through their upper or lower bodies, or just through their arms depending on the dance.
Because the majority of social dancing is not choreographed, this contact is required for the leader to interact the next dance move to the follower, and for the fan to react to this lead.
This stands in stark contrast with the style(s) of dance seen in clubs and other social gatherings where physical contact tends to be optional and the individuals in question can move easily without any such restraints imposed by company physical contact or by the necessity to follow the balanced pattern present in the music.
Some understanding of action patterns is necessary for both the leader in addition to for the fan to be able to successfully practice the art of Ballroom Dancing.
Dance historians usually mark the appearance of the twist in the early 1960s as completion of social partner dancing. In the contemporary dance age, dance became less structured and less depending on understanding and special training.
However, throughout times of economic crisis and war, ballroom dance re-captures some of its appeal as it harkens back to a simpler age when dance could be thoughtful, formal, and shared by all ages, and both sexes alike.
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