Ballroom dance may refer, at its widest, to almost any type of social dancing as recreation. Ballroom can also be used to refer specifically to dances such as the Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Quickstep and Viennese Waltz. Other dances sometimes placed under the umbrella “Ballroom dance” include Latin and Nightclub Dances such as West Coast Swing, Nightclub Two Step, Hustle, Salsa, and Merengue. Ballroom dance is also known as social dance because it encourages social interaction between dance partners, providing an atmosphere for men and women to gather together, develop friendships and have a good time.
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The classic “Big Band” dance in 4/4 time, the playful and smooth Foxtrot is one of the most popular social dances, and one of the easiest to learn. The dance originated in 1913, when Harry Fox performed a little trot across a New York stage. The Foxtrot is deceiving, because it is easy and enjoyed for its ease of movement and smooth style, but can also be one of the most difficult dances to do at the higher levels.
Tango is known as the Argentine dance of love. This dance originated in the bordellos of Buenos Aires and is done in a slightly different manner to the other dances. Tango tells the story of a flirtatious and passionate affair through smooth stalking walks, sensual close encounters, stylized poses and sharp staccato lines. The Ballroom style of Tango is different from the Argentine Tango, but still retains the flavor.
The Viennese Waltz is a fast Waltz that originated in Austria several hundred years ago thanks to composers such as Johann Strauss and Joseph Lanner. In the middle of the 20th century a German named Paul Krebs choreographed the Viennese Waltz style in which we dance today. The exhilarating swoops and whirls make this dance feel like flying, and make it a favorite for Hollywood movies.
The 1-2-3 of the Waltz is what most people associate with Ballroom dancing. This dance appeared in Bohemia, Austria, Bavaria and various parts of Europe in the late 1700’s. This new style (for its day) was shockingly different, but is now known as the mother of our contemporary social dances. Its rise and fall and flowing patterns make this gentle dance very romantic.
The Quickstep is a very quick and lively dance, and includes many hops, skips and kicks. The dance began as a quick version of Foxtrot mixed with some Charleston influences. Because of the similarity of their music, many of the basic patterns of Quickstep are shared with Foxtrot.
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