Ballroom dances are a set of partner dances which were previously restrained to huge rooms chosen for social gatherings and parties. In olden days these kinds of dances were devised solely for the privileged sections of the society. These were organized to establish certain mutual bonds and alliances.
Over the years there has been a lot of transformations in the forms of prevalent ballroom dances. Different countries and regions around the world have adopted a variety of different ethnic styles for this dance form. Most of these dances have their origin in Latin America.
We’ll talk about a few varieties of ballroom dances
This is a ball dance which originated in the suburbs of Buenos Aires and Montevideo in Argentina and has a lot of European as well as African influence. There is an Uruguayan variant of tango but the Argentine form is more prevalent.
Its lyrics and music are marked by sheer nostalgia and involves a lot of reminiscing as well as merrymaking. The pivotal instrument used for this dance form remains a bandoneon.
Embrace and Walking are the basic elements of this dance which a beginner should master first and foremost before learning about the other sets of codes and variants. Carlos Gardel, Francisco Canaro, Juan D’Arienzo, Carlos DI Sarli, Osvaldo Pugliese and Astor Piazzolla are amongst some of the leading figures of tango.
Salsa is a typical partner dance originating in New York City with a lot of Latin influence which is rooted in Cuba and Puerto Rico.
Over the years it has spread out to the rest of South America and Colombia has become the salsa capital of the world. Cali style salsa originates in Colombia and is the most recognized style of salsa in the present.
Salsa music is played in nightclubs, parties, get-togethers and many other places thus it is in vogue in today’s times. Cali a place in Colombia hosts plenty of salsa festivals through the year.
More than 90% of the Colombians know how to dance salsa; hence the best way to learn this dance form is to learn from the native Colombians. The footwork is of utmost importance in this form and rapid, quick skipping of the feet or fast foot movement is to be focused on.
Rumba is a ballroom dance quite recent in its origin. It originated in the nineteenth century in Cuba, a small country in Latin America and is an amalgamation of various musical traditions.
The word Rumba is derived from the Espanol or Spanish word Rumbo which signifies “party” or “spree”. Rumba is a dance form performed in the story telling dance drama style and usually narrates tales full of love and passion but it also has a fun and frolic side to it.
It has Americanized over the years and turned into a common and quite popular form of ballroom music inspired by Afro-Cuban music themes. It has its variant genres in Spain, Colombia, and Africa.
The popular dance form of Spain Flamenco has quite a huge extent of influence on Rumba. The primary or core instruments used in any rumba ensemble are claves, two sticks that are struck against each other and the Congo drums including the highest, middle and the lowest pitched drums.
This is the original and most popular form of waltz originating in Austria. It is believed to be the oldest form of ballroom dance which is famous in Austria as well as Germany, France, Scandinavia and Switzerland.
This form of the waltz is done at 180 beats per minute and is quite intensely rapid. A true Viennese waltz involves a lot of turns and change steps. The couple keeps turning left and right while traveling counterclockwise around the floor following each other.
This type of Waltz is a partner dance which has become a part of the International Standard division of contemporary ballroom dance and has been depicted in many movies like the evergreen “sound of music” where we find Maria and captain Von Trapp dancing to the beats of the popular Viennese waltz.
It is believed that the advent of waltz has been the greatest change in dance form and dancing manners in the history of ball room dances.
Agility Required For Ball Dancing
A lot of flexibility and agility is to be maintained while ball room dancing. Both the partners should have equivalent muscle coordination as all the major muscles are put into work.
Ball dances are also the best form of cardiovascular exercises. Muscle cramps, muscle sprains, tendinitis etc are some of the common ball dance injuries. Such sprains and injuries can be prevented by practicing some warm-up exercises before the dance, to bring out smooth consistency in the muscles, ligaments and joints. Other than the warm-up exercises even the cooling down process after the dance is equally important.