Types of Dance

Types of Ballroom Dance

Ballroom dance is a type of dance that requires the help of a dance partner, thus earning the nickname “partnership dancing”. This type of dance originated in the 16th century and was enjoyed by royals. In fact, there’s also evidence of influence from folk dances of the era – for example, the Waltz began as an 18th century Austrian folk dance. Today, people can enjoy ballroom dancing in a social setting or in a more intense, competitive environment.

Two Styles of Ballroom Dance
All throughout the world, people are enjoying the distinct styles of ballroom dancing. One style is known as the International Style of ballroom dance, which includes Standard (or “Ballroom”) substyles, and Latin substyles. This style first appeared in England during the early 1800s. It increased in popularity throughout the rest of the world during the 19th century with the help of Josef and Johann Strauss’ music. In America, there emerged the American Style between 1910 – 1930 when American jazz music began to take a more prominent role in society. This style of dance had a more social approach to dancing and included the iconic dance and choreography talents of Mr. Fred Astaire. The American Style is also special in that it is constantly evolving along with the development of music around the world and encompasses a variety of dances such as Mambo, Salsa and West Coast Swing. The American Style of ballroom dance has two unique sub-styles: Rhythm and Smooth, which is used in both social and competitive ballroom dance arenas.

The Differences Between International & American Styles
The International Style is undoubtedly the classic “old school” style of Ballroom. In this style of dance, partners will remain in a closed dance position, unlike the American Style, where dancers have the option to move in and out of the closed position to the open position. The closed position simply put just means that the partners will stand in front of each other and sustain body contact throughout the dance. The American Style also offers more freedom in the ability to add an “Exhibition” or solo work into the choreography. Towards the beginning of training, dancers will find that the International Style will require more discipline than American Style, which will usually start out as a hobby and then progress into a sport. Regardless, both styles require technical skills and a high level of proficiency when performing. For the International Style, because dancers remain in the closed position throughout the dance, dresses or gowns often have floats coming from the tops. However, this would not be conducive for American Style, which features both open & closed positions.

Getting YOUR Dance On
Regardless of your age, dancing ability or dance preferences, you’ve come to the right place: Fred Astaire Dance Studios! We would love to help instruct you in either the International or American Ballroom Styles, or both! As a student of Fred Astaire Dance Studios, you have the option to choose which dance style you prefer based on your likings and dance goals. For instance, individuals looking for an intensive workout to improve their physical health would probably choose a different style than couples looking for an elegant First Dance on their wedding day.

If you wish to learn more about the types of dance we offer and watch a demonstration video, simply click on the links to the right. After, pick up the phone and give us a call at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, making sure to inquire about our special offer for new students. Together, we’ll get you started on your personal dance journey!

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