Ballroom Dance “ball” is from the word ‘ballare’, which means “to dance”.
Place & Purpose • In the past, Balls were held for social events. • Now, ballroom is danced: • Socially (weddings, etc.) • Dance Sport Competitions
Five Standard Dances 1. Viennese Waltz 2. Modern Waltz 3. Slow Foxtrot 4. Tango 5. Quickstep
Standardization • Ballroom dances have been standardized into various levels with agreed: A) Vocabulary B) Technique C) Rhythms & Tempos
History of Hold & Line of Direction • A picture in 1581, “Il Ballarino” shows a gentleman dancing with his partner. • It was standard for a man to wear a sword on the left hand side of his belt (to draw it w/rt). • So, he needed to put his arm around the left side of the lady’s back. • With a promenade, the man would take the inside of the circle to avoid hitting the legs of the audience w/sword. • Bec. he was the lead, (traveling frwrd), the couple danced counter-clockwise = line of direction.
Viennese Waltz • Basic step: down – up – up w/rise & fall. • ¾ time, w/accent on first beat. • Originated in Vienna, Austria, where peasants danced to music called the ‘Volta’. • At first, considered vulgar bec. of closeness of hold and rapid turning movements. • Queen Victoria loved waltz (expert); helped it to become accepted & popular over time.
Modern Waltz • In the early 1800’s, the “Waltzen” became popular throughout Germany and Austria, w/locals modifying the name, based on area it was danced. • Ex: “The Landler” dance (a waltz), from upper Austria: hopping, slapping, & stamping steps w/complex underarm turns. • Ex: “The Boston”, from US in 1834: standard but w/a dip and partners holding their hands on each others’ hips & feet parallel (first ballroom dance to do this). • Present day modern waltz developed in England in 1910, from the ‘Landler’ & the ‘Boston’.
Tango • Flamenco-like dance from Spain. • At first, it was a soft, private dance w/visual emphasis on the leg movements. • Later, in the 1930’s, it became a light-spirited dance w/proud torso and staccatto action. • Precursor to Tango was first called the ‘Tangano’ - african dance imported w/slaves. • Then merged w/ ‘Habenera’, a folk dance from Cuba, and became known as ‘Milonga’. • Ballroom Tango began in the lower class of Beunos Aires; considered too risque for dance halls but by early 1900’s, it was “cleaned up” and became accepted by upper classes and fashionable in Europe. • Music-hall star in France gave the Tango the first large-scale demo in a film in 1921, and exploded into Tangomania.(Paris,London,NY)
Slow Foxtrot • Foxtrot was introduced as the “Castle Walk” into nightclub performances of Vernon & Irene Castle. • Was popularized by Henry Fox, in the stageshow “Ziegfeld Follies” in NY in 1913. • The term ‘foxtrot’ refers to equestrian gate of a horse. Foxtrot - smooth, gliding step, as w/the dance. • The foxtrot was first considered a rebellion, bec. of the parallel feet, as the Victorian dances were. • In 1922, the dance became slower, and it was named the ‘Saunter’. • By 1927, it was named the Slow Foxtrot, as it is today.
Quickstep • It evolved in the 1920’s, from a combination of the ‘Foxtrot’, ‘Charleston’, ‘Shag’, ‘Peabody’, and the ‘One Step’. • The dance is English in origin and standardized in 1927. • It gradually evolved into a very dynamic dance w/many advanced patterns incl: hops, runs, and quick steps w/much momentum and rotation (turns). • The tempo is quick, as it was developed to ragtime era jazz music which is very fast-paced.