Ballroom dancing is a dance and sport fusion that exudes sensuality, discipline, creativity and elegance. It is at once an art, a performance and an elite sport. It could be just right for you whether youre eight or eighty. But just one question before we dance: do you like dressing up in style?
When it comes to ballroom, there is always the question of what to wear. A penchant for highly polished shoes, sequins, tailored suits, and frocks which range from the classic to the mildly outrageous, will stand you in good stead to enter the world of competitive dancing.
There is plenty of room to develop your own style but truly outrageous costumes should be reserved for dancing in your own lounge room. Ballroom, after all, is the sport of elegance.
There are five dances in the dance sport of modern ballroom: the waltz featuring style and romance; the Viennese waltz adding a touch of delight; the foxtrot highlighting grace and smoothness; the quickstep exploding into excitement and dexterity; and finally and not for the faint-hearted the tango.
Couples also dance a selection of Latin American dances, including the samba, rumba, pasa doble, and the popular jive often the audience favourite at competitions.
The modern dance styles come from many cultural sources, including Africa, America, Spain, Argentina and Europe, and have developed over time to represent the best influences of different cultures. The path to the modern style hasnt always been easy.
Whilst we now think of the waltz as the most refined of the ballroom dances, it caused great concern when first introduced into England in 1816, The Times newspaper commenting:
“We remarked with pain that the indecent foreign dance called the Waltz was introduced at the English court on Friday last it is quite sufficient to cast ones eyes on the voluptuous intertwining of the limbs and close compressure of the bodies in their dance, to see that it is indeed far removed from the modest reserve which has hitherto been considered distinctive of English females.”
Dont let that put you off! Learning to dance can be as easy as turning on your computer, with many websites now providing dance tutorials, step charts and music suggestions. But finding a dance class close by will open up a world of social and competitive dancing and friendship. If you are looking for romance, the dance floor is a much safer bet than noisy restaurants or bars and youll find out early whether you enjoy dancing together.
Ballroom dancing is a lifetime fitness sport. It develops fitness and endurance, and is low impact. The large range of dances involves many different steps and movements, enhancing co-ordination, flexibility, aerobic fitness and, last but not least, rhythm. Once the rhythm gets you, youll find yourself dancing on the inside even when youre not on the floor.
CJ – Fitness