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Streetswings Dance History Archives
Vintage Ballroom Photo
Ballroom Dance History Archives Origin Title

          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...

Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

England / France 1800's n/a Couples Dance

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music Titles

Arrow Shirts Poster n/a I Could Have Danced All Night
Bal Arcen Ciel Mad Hot Ballroom Soundtrack [CD)
Bal a L'Opera (1920s)
Broadway (George Raft)
Cha Cha Boom
Dancing Lady
High Society
Invitation to the Dance
Last Waltz
Make Believe Ballroom
Ruby Sagan
Rumba Caliente
Samba a Te Rio
Swing Kids
Tango (various)

Vintage Ballroom / Night Clubs


Main Locations

Arcadia Ballroom n/a England
Aragon Ballroom France
Astor United Kingdom
Avalon Ballroom United States
Elitch's Garden
Myron's Ballroom
Palladium (NY, LA, London)
Paramount Ballroom
Roseland Ballroom
Savoy Ballroom (London)
Trianon Ballroom

Various Films with Ballroom dance

Television Shows Showing Ballroom

Ballets / Stage

1936 - Swing time [VHS | DVD] 30 Seconds to Fame n/a
1935 - The Good Fairy American Bandstand
1935 - Top Hat [VHS | DVD] Dance Fever
1951 - Royal Wedding [VHS | DVD] Dancing With The Stars


Make Believe Ballroom Gong Show Dance Action Magazine
1969 - They Shoot Horses ... [VHS | DVD] Many 1950's Variety Shows (Texaco etc) Complete Idiot's Guide (R) to Ballroom Dancing
1977- Saturday Night Fever [VHS | DVD] So You Think You Can Dance
1985- That's Dancing [VHS] + Gleason Show, L. Welk, I Love Lucy etc. 2002- Ballroom Dancing
1987- Dirty Dancing [VHS | DVD]
1993- Int'l Ballroom Championships [DVD]

Instructional DVD's

Ballroom Dance Apparel

1993 - Strictly Ballroom [VHS | DVD] Ballroom Dancing [DVD] Affordable Ladies Dance Shoe by Danca
1993- Swing Kids [VHS | DVD] Ballroom Dancing for Beginners [DVD]
1997- Shall We Dance [DVD] Discover Ballroom Dance [DVD]
1998- Dance With Me [VHS | DVD] Anyone Can Dance Foxtrot [DVD]
2005- Mad Hot Ballroom [DVD]
Zoot Suit
Go Here for : Most Musicals from the 30's & 40s

Other Related Dances ...

Aeroplane Waltz Gaby Glide One Step Toddle
Apache Dance Half and Half Paso Doble Two Step
American & Int'l. Tango Hesitation Waltz Peabody Viennese Waltz
Argentine Tango Hustle Polka Waltz
Bolero Jitterbug Quickstep West Coast Swing
Boston Waltz Jive Rumba Whirlwind Waltz
Castle Walk Lindy Hop Samba Yam, the
Cha-Cha Mambo/Salsa Swing dances
Continental, the Maxixe Tango
Foxtrot Novelette Three Step

Vintage Dancers, Choreographers etc.


Arthur Murray Marge & Gower Champion George Washington
Bambi Linn Maurice and Walton Thomas Jefferson
Castles, The Ned Wayburn Betsy Ross
DeMarco's, the Oscar Duryea
Fred Astaire Veloz and Yolanda
Ginger Rogers Walter Cosden
Harry Fox
~Way too many to list, but the above dancers and dances links will take you through various links to many others.

Books on Ballroom ...



Date Published


Gems for the Ballroom Call Book for the professional and Amateur Prompter 1896 1896 E.T. Root & Sons
From Dance Hall to White Slavery Lytle & Dutton 1912 Metropolitan Press
Modern Dancing The Castles 1914

Musicians/ Bands



Glenn Miller Dean Martin Brynolf (Bruno) Wennerberg (1920s)
Guy Lombardo Doris Day
Tommy Dorsey Frank Sinatra

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

American Style Couples Dancing International Style Bailar | Danca | Danse | Danza | Tanz
Balls Dance Studio Modern Dancing
Blackpool Danse / Danza Society Dances
Dance Master Dance Masters of America I.S.T.D.

Ballroom dance organizations

British Association of Teachers of Dance (B.A.T.D) Dance Masters of America (D.M.A.) International DanceSport Federation (I.D.S.F.)
British Dance Council (B.D.C) English Amateur Dancesport Association (E.A.D.S.A) International Dance Teachers Association (I.D.T.A.)
CallerLab | RoundaLab (Square & Round dance) European Tournament for Dancing Students (E.T.D.S) Swedish Dancesport Federation (S.D.F.)
Canadian Amateur DanceSport Association (C.A.D.S.A) Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (I.S.T.D.) Word Swing Dance Council (W.S.D.C.)