Popular TV shows such as Dancing With the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance may make it seem like ballroom dancing is new on the scene. However, most people don’t realize ballroom dance training has been popular all over the world for many decades.
This incredibly beautiful and versatile form of dance is actually quite complex and filled with history. Here are 10 fun and interesting facts about the world of ballroom dance.
- According to legend, the stretch away from partners was developed as a way to stay away from body odors.
The waltz, foxtrot and tango are known for their beautiful and delicate arm extensions. Legend says this was developed to save the noses of those you were dancing with. Back a couple hundred years ago, it was normal for the higher classes not to bathe regularly, so dancing this way made it a bit more bearable to get up close and personal.
- A fox's natural gait is the reason behind the name "Foxtrot"
A fox can naturally walk with its feet under its body in a single line. Originally, this unusual gait was mimicked in the Foxtrot, which traditionally has the male and female dancers staying in one line for the entire dance. It wasn't until the 1950s that popular dance centers, such as Arthur Murray, thought to add the creatives twists and turns into the foxtrot.
- At first, the waltz was considered vulgar because dancers had to hold each other so close.
The waltz is a graceful, slow dance that first came to be in the 19th century with the popularity of Johann Strauss's music. But since dancers have to be very close together (by 19th century standards), this was seen as "damaging and destructive" in more modest times.
- Sword placement is the reason behind the one side connection in the closed hold.
In olden times, a male dancer often had a sword on his hip. During the closed hold the woman would always connect to her partner's opposite hip as a way to avoid awkwardness and accidental impalement.
- At first, the Rumba was considered more of a sexual competition rather than a dance.
Rumba dance hails from Cuba, where men would originally dance the Rumba as a way to entice romantic partners. It has developed since then into a popular dance style, but it is still known in the ballroom world as the dance of love.
There are so many reasons to start ballroom dancing! At Arthur Murray Charleston, we invite you to give it a try with a complimentary first lesson. Gift certificates are also available and make the perfect gift for someone who has everything! Give them the gift of FUN!