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Ballroom Dancing

A style of partner dance which is enjoyed both socially and competitively.

Ballroom dance is a style of partner dance which originated in the Western world and is now enjoyed both socially and competitively around the globe. Its performance and entertainment aspects are also widely enjoyed on stage, in film, and on television.

The term "ballroom dancing" is derived from the word "ball", which in turn originates from the Latin word "ballare" which means "to dance".

The definition of ballroom dance also depends on the era. Balls have featured Minuet, Quadrille, Polonaise, Pas de Gras, Mazurka, and other popular dances of the day, which are considered to be historical dances.

In times past, ballroom dancing was "social dancing" for the privileged, leaving "folk dancing" for the lower classes. These boundaries have since become blurred, and it should be noted even in times long gone, many "ballroom" dances were really elevated folk dances.

Ballroom dancing has been in continual use as a social art form since its inception with one exception in the 20th century. Dance historians usually mark the appearance of the "Twist" in the mid 1960s as the end of social partner dancing, and they credit what was then called the "Latin Hustle" for bringing it back in the late 1970s.

Competitive ballroom dancing has become more popular in recent years, and has been featured in a variety of television shows (Dancing with the Stars, Ballroom Boot Camp) and films (Mad Hot Ballroom, Shall We Dance, Take the Lead). It was even considered for acceptance as an Olympic sport.

Both amateur and professional competitions occur regularly around the world. In the United States there are 19 competitive ballroom dances divided into four major styles: International Latin, International Standard, American Smooth and American Rhythm. While some competitors compete in all four styles, most choose to concentrate on one particular style.

Students who are interested in competitive ballroom dancing can participate in collegiate amateur ballroom competitions. Most universities have a team or club that focuses on ballroom dance. Non-students interested in amateur competition can learn at a local dance studio (just open the phone book) and participate in Adult Amateur ballroom competitions.

Ballroom dancing can be enjoyed as a social pastime, a competitive sport, or both. It is a rewarding and often challenging activity that requires both mental and physical engagement.


Source: Wikipedia


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