Ballroom dance is commonly referred to as “partnership dancing” since it requires a partner. It can be done in a fun, social setting or in a more competitive environment. The origins of ballroom dancing lie in the 16th century, where it was typically enjoyed by royals. Ballroom dance has been influenced by a number of other dances throughout the era, one of which includes folk dance. For instance, Austrian folk dance had a great influence on the Waltz during the 18th century.
Two Styles of Ballroom Dance
Two distinct styles of ballroom dance exist: the International Style, which includes Standard and Latin substyles, and the American Style, which includes Rhythm and Smooth. The International Styles originated during the 1800s in England while the American Styles originated between 1910 and 1930 in the US, inpart to the increase in popularity of jazz music. Both styles of ballroom dancing were loved across the world thanks to a number of important artists. For the International Style, the music of Josef and Johann Strauss significantly influenced its development while the talented Mr. Fred Astaire greatly influenced the American Style. The American Style of dance took on a more social approach and over the years it has expanded to include dances such as Mambo, Salsa and West Coast Swing. The American Style is constantly changing due to the new music being developed around the world.
The Differences Between International & American Styles
While the American Smooth Style is similar in some ways to its European counterpart, there are still a number of differences between the two. For starters, there is more freedom in the American Style than there is in the European Style because dancers have the option to remain in the open or closed position. In the European Style, dancers are only allowed to dance in the closed position. The closed position refers to the dancers standing in front of each other and maintaining body contact throughout the dance. The more disciplined style of the International dances effects the attire worn by the dancers which typically consists of dresses with flowy tops. This is not recommended for the American Style due to the featuring of the closed and open position. However, the American Style does offer a solo part, also known as the “Exhibition”, which allows for even more freedom. The International Style is without a doubt the classic “old school” style of Ballroom. During the beginning of ballroom training, the International Style is typically more strict than its American counterpart (which typically starts first as a social Hobby, then progresses to Sport).
Getting YOUR Dance On
No matter your age, dance skills, or dance goals, we love helping our students! We offer instruction in both International and American Ballroom Styles, and then some! As an attendee of our dance studios, you can choose which style you would like to explore based on your interests and preferences. We also help take into account your dance goals; for instance, those looking to participate in a high-energy dance class for physical health may wish to explore something different than a couple planning their First Dance for their wedding. Regardless of what you want to do, our highly trained instructors will be there for you!
If you are interested in learning more about each type of dance, click on the links to the right to view demonstration videos. We also recommend giving us a call at Fred Astaire Dance Studios to save money as we have a special offer for new students. Together, we will get you started on your personal dance adventure!