What Is Ballroom Dancing?
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What is Ballroom Dancing?

Ask that question, and you may as well be asking "what moves you?" Dancing has been an essential part of human culture since the dawn of time, and ballroom dancing still is today. The dictionary may define ballroom dancing as 'formal social dancing in couples', but it's more than that. It always has been. It's dancing. Why do we dance? Why do we have to move our feet to the beat?

Why We Dance

So, what moves you? There is a spiritual aspect to it. Dancing has been intrinsic to all kinds of rituals for eons. Native Americans, among others, came to associate special dances created by their ancestors with rituals that they believed made it rain or grow plentiful crops, for example. You could watch anyone from any part of the world dancing, and no matter what kind of dance they're doing, you can tell it's dancing. There is something fundamentally human about dancing, and I think it's because it allows us to express ourselves and bring everything about life together while you're having fun.

Some History

Beyond ancient rituals, dancing has enormous historical significance. Shakespeare mentioned a dance called 'canq pace', or 'five steps' in his writing. Royal courts served as a breeding ground for new dances in provincial France and 19th century England. Parties and grand balls were held with many elite in attendance. It was about the 1840's in England when a few more popular partner dances appeared. Eighty years later was when patterned group dances began to give way to individual partners dancing on their own. Basic steps were outlined for a few different ballroom dances and taught to couples. This coincided with the growing popularity of jazz music and the cinema. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers could be seen dancing together in movies.

But, what about today?

I think the purpose of dancing today, besides personal expression and spiritual connection, is primarily to enhance the body-brain connection in a way that makes us better people. Any kind of dancing is great because it's a great workout. Your brain is moving your body while listening to music, which is good for your brain, too. But, partner dancing is even better. There are a myriad of ballroom and latin dances to choose from, and partner dancing is the best because of the connection you form with your dance partner. It brings out the best in you, so you can both become better people together.

So, what is ballroom dancing? In short, it's whatever you need it to be.


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