Ballroom Dance Lessons

Interested in taking Ballroom dance lessons? Below is a little history on the dances that we teach at Dance Louisville. When you decide what you want to learn give us a call. We would love to help you discover the joy of ballroom dancing!

Group Dance Lessons:  Group class calendar

Ballroom Dance Lessons

Waltz – The forerunner of waltz was Boston, a dance imported from the USA and introduced in England by a very influential “Boston Club” around 1874. However, only after 1922 did this dance become as fashionable as the tango. The strange thing about Boston was that couples danced next to each other, nothing like what we do now.

Immediately after World War I the waltz got more shape. In 1922, when Victor Sylvester won the championship, the English waltz program consisted of not more than a right turn, a left turn and change of direction. Thats less than what you would learn in a beginner ballroom dance lesson today!

Tango – Tango was first danced in Europe before World War I. It originated from Buenos Aires, Argentina where it was first danced in “Barria de Las Ranas,” the ghetto of Buenos Aires.

From 1900 onward, several amateurs tried to introduce the dance from Argentina to Paris without success. Being rather an exotic dance, a sensuous creation of Southern nations, the tango initially did not become accepted by the European social establishment. Tango’s breakthrough came in a dance competition on the French Riviera. The dance was so well presented by a group of its enthusiasts that it gained immediate recognition in Paris and then the rest of Europe.

Foxtrot – The foxtrot, a dance born in the twenties, was named after an American performer Harry Fox. Initially it was danced at 48 bars per minute tempo. The tempo issue led to the breakaway of quickstep at about 50 to 52 bars per minute and the continued slowing down of pure Foxtrot to 32 bars per minute by the end of the twenties.

At the end of World War I the slow-foxtrot consisted of walks, three-steps, a slow walk and a sort of a spin turn. At the end of 1918 the wave arose, then known as the “jazz-roll.” The American Morgan introduced a sort of open spin turn,  in 1919. In 1920, Mr. G.K. Anderson introduced the feather step and the change of direction, figures you cannot imagine today’s foxtrot without. The thirties had become the golden age for this dance. That is when Foxtrot tunes became the standards of its tempo.

Less popular ballroom dances

Quickstep – Developed during the World War I in suburban New York, initially performed by Caribbean and African dancers. It eventually made its debut on the stage of American music halls and immediately became popular in the ballrooms.

Foxtrot and quickstep have a common origin. In the twenties many bands played the slow foxtrot too fast, which gave rise to many complaints. Eventually they developed into two different dances, slow foxtrot tempo has been slowed down and quickstep became clearly the fast version of foxtrot. The Charleston had a lot of influence on the development of Quickstep.

Viennese Waltz -The Viennese waltz originally comes from Bavaria and used to be called the “German.” However, other people question this origin of the Viennese waltz. Presumably this is a dance in 3/4 rhythm, which the French regard as the forerunner of the Viennese waltz.

The first waltz melodies date from 1770. It was introduced in Paris in 1775, but it took some time before it became popular. In 1813 Mr. Byron condemned the waltz as being unchaste. In 1816 the waltz was also accepted in England. But the struggle against it was not over yet. In 1833, a “good behavior” book was published by Miss Celbart and according to it, although it was allowed for married ladies to perform this dance, she called it “a dance of too loose in character for maidens to perform.”

Latin Dance Lessons

 Ballroom dance lessons for everyone

Ballroom dance lessons for everyone

Most popular Latin dances

Rumba – The Rumba originates from Cuba as a typical dance of a hot climate. It has become the classic of all the Latin American dances. In its present form many of the basic figures of the dance retain the age-old story of woman’s attempt to dominate man by the use of her feminine charm. In a well-choreographed dance there will always be an element of “tease and run,” the man being lured and then rejected.

Cha-cha – Cha-cha-cha is the newcomer of the Latin American dances. This dance was first seen in the dancehalls of America, in the early fifties, following closely Mambo, from which it was developed. Shortly after the Mambo was introduced, another rhythm started to gain popularity, a rhythm that was ultimately to become the most commonly known of the Latin American dances throughout the world. It was named Cha-cha-cha.

The music is slower than Mambo and the rhythm is less complicated. The interpretation of Cha-Cha-Cha music should produce a happy, carefree, cheeky, party-like atmosphere.

Less popular latin dances

Samba – Samba originates from Brazil where it is a national dance. Many versions of the Samba are danced at the local carnival in Rio. To achieve the true character of the Samba a dancer must give it a gay, flirtatious and exuberant interpretation. Many figures, used in the Samba today, require a pelvic tilt action. This action is difficult to accomplish, but without it the dance loses much of its effect.

Jive (ECS) – Jive, brought over from America was initially developed from a dance called “jitterbug” by eliminating all its acrobatic elements and polishing the technique.  The boogie, rock & roll and the American swing also influenced this dance.Jive is a very fast, energy-consuming dance. It is the last dance danced at the competitions, and dancers have to show that after having already danced four times, they are not tired and ready to go hard at it.

Interested in learning West Coast Swing? Check out our online teaching site:

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