Types of Dance

Types of Ballroom Dance

Ballroom dancing, also known as “partnership dancing” originally began in the 16th century and took place in royal courts. This type of dancing has had a great influence from traditional folk dances such as the Waltz, which was influenced by Austrian folk dance. Ballroom dancing is extremely versatile in that it can be enjoyed as a way to relax, or can be performed in dance competitions.

Two Styles of Ballroom Dance
In America, a unique type of Ballroom Dancing took shape during the 1910s and into the 1930s when American Jazz music began to gain more recognition. This American style of ballroom dancing can be separated into two distinct styles: Rhythm and Smooth, which are still enjoyed today by those who just wish to have some fun and those who wish to compete. The American style of ballroom dancing is constantly evolving based off of music from around the world. It includes a variety of dances such as Mambo, Salsa, and West Coast Swing. When the American style of ballroom dancing was still in its early stages, Mr. Fred Astaire was particularly notorious for his iconic choreography and dances. In addition to the American Style of ballroom dance, there is also the International Style of ballroom dance which encompasses the Standard/ “Ballroom” style and the Latin style. This style of dance was initially introduced in England and became popular throughout the world by the 19th century, not long after it took form in the 1800s.

The Differences Between International & American Styles
If you were asked to conjure an image of classic ballroom dancing in your head, you are most likely thinking of the International Style. The first distinction between the International Style and the American Style is that the International Standard generally requires partners to remain the closed position at all times, where as the American Style gives dancers a bit more freedom and allows them to transition to the open position if they wish. The closed position simply means that dance partners stand in front of each other and are in body contact. The second distinction is that American Style typically starts out as a social hobby, and later progresses into a sport whereas the International Style is a bit more disciplined. Moreover, dancers can do “Exhibition” solo work in the American style, which yields them even more freedom with the choreography. As a result of this freedom, dress attire worn is also different between the two styles. In the International Style, partners will usually be in the closed position and attire may include dresses that have floats coming from the tops; this would not be appropriate for the American Style, which features both open & closed positions.

Getting YOUR Dance On
Here at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, we offer classes to teach both International and American Ballroom Styles, and then some! As a student of Fred Astaire Dance Studios, you have the option to choose which dance style you prefer to learn first based on what’s most appealing to you, and your individual dance goals. For those who are seeking to improve their overall health, a high-energy class would be most beneficial; but for a couple looking to choreograph their First Dance at their wedding, we suggest taking one of our wedding dance classes. Remember that regardless of your age, dancing ability, or dance goals – you’ve come to the right place.

If you wish to learn more about each type of dance and view a demonstration video, please click on the links to the right. Remember to also give us a call at Fred Astaire Dance Studios in order to take full advantage of our special deal for new students. Together, we’ll help you start your dance journey of a lifetime!

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