Among other uses, “Street Dance” refers to social partner dances that developed outside of the dance studio and in a social space like streets, dance parties, block parties, nightclubs and parks.
Street dances are not invented but evolved between people in a social environment. Partner street dances are more improvisational and social in nature.
Street dances are usually heralded as more ‘fun’ than ‘competitive’, although most street dances start that way before being adopted for competition.
Now “street dance” is sometimes used for studio versions of social partner dances.
People who are new to partnered social dance can be confused by all the marketing.
Most of the social partner dances started as “street dances.”
One of the original and most influential “street dances” is the waltz.
An original form of the dance was a folk dance filled with rolls, glides and turns first used by 13th century peasants in the location of modern Germany and Austria.
The French philosopher Montaigne wrote of a dance he saw in 1580 where the dancers held each other so closely that their faces touched. Around the same time, Kunz Haas wrote, “The vigorous peasant dancer, following an instinctive knowledge of the weight of fall, utilizes his surplus energy to press all his strength into the proper beat of the measure, thus intensifying his personal enjoyment in dancing”.
At first, Waltz was considered shocking. By the end of 16th century people of Vienna embraced the Waltz.
The Waltz spread to many other countries. The most exclusive club in London permitted the waltz though the 1825 entry in the OED shows that it was considered “riotous and indecent.” The waltz is sometimes referred to as “the mother of social dances”.
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