Ballroom dancing is an elegant art form with some styles spanning back hundreds of years. Today ballroom dance is regaining it’s popularity with the American people partly because of main stream network TV shows showcasing dances such as the Waltz, FoxTrot and Tango.
In this article I want to look at the six main styles of the American ballroom and give you a little bit of history about each one.
The oldest of all ballroom dance styles the Waltz is said to have originated in the early 1830 from a German folk dance known as the Lander. The first version of the Waltz was known as the Waltzer and is said to have been one of Queen Elizabeth’s favorite dances. Today it’s still an elegant dance done in very formal settings.
A younger dance then the Waltz the tango originated from Argentina, so is often referred to as the Argentine Tango. It first started gaining popularity in the early 1900’s before world war I when it was introduced to Europe. It is a very exotic dance said to get it’s start in the Ghetto of Buenos Aires. The American Tango is said to be a more structured version of the Argentine Tango which was more of an illustration of the dancers interpretation of music.
There are several styles to the swing. The west coast and east coast swing are the most standard. Generally when you think swing it’s a style more so then an exact dance that first became popular in the 1920’s. While there are some specific styles of swing dance taught in different classes around the country, the east coast swing is the most popular in most ballrooms.
Originating as a mix mash of several Cuban dances it’s been danced in American ballrooms since about the second world war. The hip motion of this dance is the most noticeable point and is the main part of the dance that has stuck with the style from it’s Cuban roots.
The Cha Cha
With deep origins in the West Indies and from a plant that is used to make a Cha-cha, a maraca type instrument played in Hatian bands, the Cha Cha emerged as a dance style danced along to music of typical Voodoo bands. As a close relative to the Mambo it has latin origins and was first introduced to the United States around 1954. Ever since it’s been a staple style of the ballroom.
It’s one of the smoothest of ballroom styles and makes use of the entire dance floor. The foxtrot is believed to have been developed from a dancing act in New York around 1914. It was one of the first dances where partners danced closer and ragtime music was being incorporated into the ballroom. Still today the foxtrot is a favorite, often seen as the first dance at weddings.