Ballroom dancing is a formal and social dance done by a couple. The two main styles are International and American. Popular types include rumba, mambo, cha cha, waltz, foxtrot, and swing. Each style has its own unique history and origin.
Ballroom dancing is a formal and social dance. The word “ball” comes from the Latin word ballare, which means dance. This type of dance is done by a couple; one person guides and the other follows the steps. The two main styles are the International Style and the American Style. Rumba, mambo, cha cha, waltz, foxtrot and swing are some of the most popular types of ballroom dancing enjoyed around the world.
Rumba style is also known as Latin waltz. American rumba is a variation of a slow-paced Cuban dance called son that was brought to the United States in the 1920s. Rumba is danced in place, rather than across the dance floor, with hip and other body movements in a slow-fast-fast rhythm.
Mambo is also based on a son rhythm, but has its origins in African tribal dance. The mambo was created in the 1930s by cellist Oresta Lopez. Lopez’s bandleader Perez Prado popularized mambo music.
The cha cha was originally called cha cha cha as its main movement is based on a triple step. The cha cha style of ballroom dancing originated in Cuban mambo and became popular in the United States in the 1950s. The triple step of cha cha is danced between two rock rhythm moves.
The modern waltz dance style derives from the Austrian waltz styles popular in Austria and Germany in the early 1900s. The Boston waltz became popular in the United States in 1834 and is a slower version of the Viennese waltz. Today, it still remains as a slow type of ballroom dance and the slow tempo has allowed the waltz to have more figures, dips and steps added to it.
The foxtrot was invented by Harry Fox in 1914 in New York City. The dance involves moving the rear leg in a flowing action, although there are many variations. The original foxtrot was faster and not as smooth as some of the ballad variations today. However, the faster style of ballroom dancing is still taught in many modern studios and danced in many modern ballrooms.
Swing dances vary greatly by region and country. The origins of swing ballroom dance can be traced back to Dixieland in the southern United States and ragtime music. Lindy hop and West Coast swing incorporate the active movements of early swing such as leaps, kicks, and energetic jazz moves. Big band swing dancing became popular with the big band music of the 1930s and 1940s.