Ballroom Dancing – Shake A Leg Now
Ballroom dance is a style of dancing with a partner of the opposite sex, which has its origins in the Western Europe and is now enjoyed at both social gatherings and competitions around the globe. It’s a form of entertainment which is widely enjoyed on stage, films, and on television. There are a variety of social dances performed by couples in the ballroom like Foxtrot, Tango, Waltz, Swing, Cha Cha, Polka, Charleston, Jitterbug, Merengue etc.
In the early 20th century, the on-screen dancing pair Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers greatly influenced ballroom dancing in the USA. Ballroom dance was popularized in U.S. by Arthur Murray and Fred Astaire, who established ballroom dance studios throughout U.S. Here ‘Fred & Ginger’ classes and workshops introduced the “American Smooth” style of ballroom dance. The other popular one is the “American Rhythm”. Ballroom dance contests are particularly popular in Europe and feature both amateur and professional dancers. The other types include Nightclub Dances such as Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing and Hustle. In Europe, Latin Swing dances include Tango Argentino, Lindy Hop, Mambo, Swing Boogie and Disco Fox.
Variety and Judgment in Ballroom Dancing
Classic and Vintage dance groups are dedicated to the performance and preservation of ballroom dances of the past, having its origins in the folk dances associated with a particular place, time and costumes like The Twist, Minuet, Quadrille, Mazurka etc.
In U.S. amateur dance proficiency levels are defined by USA Dance as Bronze->Silver->Gold for syllabus dancers and Novice -> Prechampionship -> Championship for open competitors. Among professionals, the levels are classified as Rising Star and Open Professional. In a competition, ballroom dancers are judged by various criteria such as connection, frame, posture, speed, proper body alignment, proper usage of weight/ankles/feet and grooming.
Each type of dance has its own specific set of movements and dancing methods. While dancing in a crowd, always move counterclockwise around the floor following an imaginary line of dance for both the Waltz and the Fox Trot. The Swing, on the other hand, is more of a confined dance and is great for dancing on crowded dance floors. The people that are moving fast are on the outside of the floor while those who are moving slower or in more confined areas are in the middle. In other words, Waltz and Fox Trot are typically done on the outside of the dance floor Swing is performed in the center.