Popular social ballroom dances and their history

Social ballroom dances

 

Ballroom dancing in The World

There are two main forms of “Ballroom Dancing” International Ballroom Standard ( dances Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Slow Foxtrot and Quickstep) and International Latin (dances Samba, Cha-Cha, Rumba, Paso Doble and Jive) these are enjoyed both socially and competitively around the world and American Style Smooth (dances Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot and Viennese Waltz) American Rhythm (dances Cha-Cha, Rumba, Mambo, Bolero and Swing). American Style Ballroom and Rhythm is danced in the United States and Canada as well as Australia and new Zealand. Ballroom Dance studios in US you can also learn social Latin dances like Salsa, Merengue, Bachata and Country dances like West Coast Swing, Two Step and Country Waltz as well as Argentine Tango.
The dance technique used for both International ballroom and American Smooth styles is similar, but International Ballroom allows only closed dance positions, whereas American Smooth allows closed, open and separated dance movements. International Latin dancing and American Rhythm have different styling, dance technique and have different dance figures. Dance tempos are also different for most of the ballroom dances.Learn about Kaluby’s teaching techniques and dance programs.

Ballroom Dances History

Cha Cha

One of the most popular Latin dances in the U.S., the Cha Cha began as a variation of the Mambo called triple Mambo. It was so easy and so much fun, the rage of the early 1950s. Its infectious one-two, one-two-three rhythm demands that sitters become dancers. Everybody can learn the Cha Cha.

Rumba

The Rumba was at the beginning of the Cuban and Latin American crazes. Danced to music inspired by African rhythms and Spanish melodies, the Americanized Rumba was the basis for the mambo and Cha Cha in the US. Rumba rhythms have found their way into Country Western, Blues, Rock & Roll and other popular forms of music.

Salsa / Mambo

In the 1940s American became fascinated By Latin American rhythms. The original Mambo music, El Guardia Con El tolete, had its beginning in 1944 as a Rumba with a riff improvisation. The Mambo combined American Jazz with the Afro-Cuban beat. Kaluby’s Dance Studio has routinely teaches the best Mambo dancers on the first coast as well as other Latin origin dances such as the Cha Cha and the Salsa. The Mambo is an exciting and challenging dance for all dancers

Bolero

The Bolero is the slowest of the Latin dances. It combines controlled movement with dramatic expressions of the music. The Bolero has the same Afro-Cuban feel as though to have originated from Cuban or Spanish Folk Dances such as Danzon and Beguine.

Merengue

There are two schools of thought as to how this captivating dance began. Some say it started as a peasant dance in the Dominican Republic by African Slaves. Others say a returning war hero. General Maringie, danced dragging an injured leg. Whatever its origin, today’s exciting rhythm of the Merengue inspires dancers all over the world to move to its intoxicating beat.

Samba

This national dance of Brazil became the rage of its society in the 1930s but began as an exhibition dance in Paris in 1905. Movie star, singer Carmen Miranda, is credited with making the dance popular in the U.S. in the early 1940s.

Hustle

Discotheques (Disco) with high quality sound systems, and flashing lights became a popular form of entertainment in Europe and America in the late 1960s and throughout the70s. In early 1970s a new dance craze became popular on the crowded dance floors of New York. This “Touch Disco” was called The Hustle marked a return to popular dances where couples danced touching each other. The popularity of modern and “retro” music with “disco” beats keep this dance fresh, existing and full of energy for today.

Swing

Perhaps the most uniquely American of all dances, the Swing brings forth a buoyant carefree movement. It’s one of the dances that becomes contagious. The Lindy (Swing) picked up where the Charleston left off. With the birth or “Swing” music in the mid 1930s, the lindy climbed the social ladder. In August of 1935, at the Palomar Ballroom, band leader Benny Goodman played a fetcher Henderson arrangement of “Stompin’ at the Savoy”. The rest, as they say is history. The dance craze swept the nation, and depending on where you lived, it was the Jitterbug, the Lindy Hop or the Swing. This most uniquely American dance is enjoyed all over the world.

West Coast Swing

It is believed that the origins of the WCS are in Lindy Hop. In a 1947 book, Arthur Murray recognized that, “There are hundreds of regional dances of the Jitterbug type. Each section of the country seems to have a variation of its own. In 1988, West Coast Swing was pronounced the Official State Dance of California. In writing about West Coast Swing, Skippy Blair advises that, “The only problem that exists in SWING is when someone decides there is only ONE WAY to dance it. There is never only ONE WAY to do anything …” “‘Try on’ different styles that you admire in other people…until you find the comfortable one that FITS YOU.”

Foxtrot

The Foxtrot provides a good foundation for all ballroom dances and is often called the “get-acquainted” or “first impression” dance. In 1913, Harry Fox a vaudeville comedian introduced a trot to a ragtime song in the 1913 Ziegfeld follies that pushed other trots into background. It became America’s most popular dance and remains so to this day as the standard of all ballroom social dances.

Waltz

The elegant sweeping movement of the Waltz gives dancers a chance to practice balance and to move lightly with ease. Considered the mother of present day dances, the Waltz began in southern Germany in the seventeenth century. The popularity of the Waltz grew with the music of Johann Strauss and eventually blossomed in the 20th century. It is the basis for many dances and is popular today all over the world.

Tango

The Tango began in the West Indies and found its way to Argentina where it was stylized by the Gauchos. It became the rage in 1921 after the silent screen star Rudolph Valentino brought this romantic dance to millions in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. More recently, it has been danced in movies such as True Lies and Scent of a Woman. Today, the Tango is considered the “dancers’ dance” and becomes a favorite of all who learn it.

Viennese Waltz

The Waltz developed in Central Europe from the Austrian dance known as the Landler. The first whirling of partners held as if in an embrace shocked polite society. The music of Johann Strauss and the famous ballrooms of Vienna popularized the faster version known as the Viennese Waltz.