This page looks at the origin of the Ballroom Dance. Ballroom dancing basically means any couples dance. Although today it would be considered just ten dances such as Tango, Foxtrot, Waltz, the Latin dances and Jive. It started in the private ballrooms of the well to-do in the early 19th century. The dance masters over those years started associations and turned it into more of a commercial dance business.
In the early twentieth century, dancers such as Vernon and Irene Castle made Ballroom Dancing very popular with the public, the dance halls were becoming more and more crowded. This new style would be called 'Modern Dancing'. As dance halls gave way to more upscale,
luxurious money producing Ballrooms, those dances being done by these couples eventually would become known as the Modern Ballroom Dances, separating them from the old. Many countries not liking the more modern Western civilization (namely USA), outlawed this form of dancing into it's culture. Today, most of these countries have changed their views. In China, it was Karaoke that changed this for them.
After the Castles time, the already well established dance masters of America and others turned it into a very lucrative business and started teaching just the ten dances for use in the ballroom, while introducing the Ballroom dances each year (aka fad dances), many where just offshoots or variations of previous originals but some actually became popular for a period of time ike the Novelette or Aeroplane Waltz. Today, other couples dances, outside of the ten dances, are seen by the ballroom community as 'Street Dances', such as Swing, Country Western, Argentine Tango, The Hustle, etc. An accomplished ballroom dancer earns the same knowledge as a college degree in dance. Ballroom dance training can be very valuable in ability to any partner dancer in any style of dance, 'street' or otherwise.
Many dances of years gone by have helped to form today's modern ballroom dancing, such as the Peabody, Charleston, Castle Walk, Foxtrot, Quick-Step, Paso Doble, One-Step, Two-Step, Tango, The Boston, Apache Dance and many more. Some of these dances merged together to make a new, like the Quickstep, or stayed the same with only refinements like the Foxtrot. Some dances being introduced at a later time like the Jive and Cha-Cha.
Ballroom dancing comes and goes out of style, but there is always ballroom dancing. New fads may come and go like Dirty Dancing, the Macarena, Lambada etc. But ballroom dancing is always there. When it seems like the whole world is
doing a particular Fad dance, Ballroom dancing is still there. People dancing together will always be popular, just as people dancing separately will never go away.
With the interest for dancing to become an 'Olympic Sport'. The international dance community has opted for the name 'Dance Sport' with the International style - and ten dances being taught in every ballroom dance studio in every country, the same way. This will provide a universal language in ballroom dance which will make it more 'Olympic friendly' for all countries participation.
Television and Movies are also adding to a resurgence in ballroom dancing with such shows as "So You Think You Can Dance", "Dancing With the Stars" and films like
"Shall We Dance" | "Strictly Ballroom" | "Take The Lead" and others. More-to-come...