Ballroom dance is a collection of partner dances that are popular both socially and competitively around the world, mostly for its performance and entertainment value. Ballroom dancing is also popular on stage, in movies, and on television.
Ballroom dance can apply to practically any leisure dance with a partner in its broadest sense. However, with the advent of dance competition (today known as Dancesport), two main schools formed, and the term is now used to refer to the dances recognized by those schools. The name ‘ballroom dancing’ comes from the word ‘ball,’ which comes from the Latin word ‘ballare,’ which means ‘to dance.’ Ballroom dancing used to be reserved for the upper crust, while the folk dance was reserved for the lower crust.
When Jehan Tabourot, writing under the pen name ‘Thoinot-Arbeau,’ wrote his Orchésographie, a study of late 16th-century French renaissance social dance, in 1588, it became the first authentic knowledge of the early ballroom dances.
The contemporary waltz emerged in England about 1812, and Carl Maria von Weber’s Invitation to the Dance, published in 1819, heralded the waltz’s entry into the realm of pure music. Due to the appearance of impropriety linked with the closed grip, the dance was initially met with a great deal of hostility, though the stance soon softened.
Modern ballroom dancing has its origins in the early twentieth century when several events occurred at roughly the same time. The first was a shift away from sequence dances and toward dances in which the couples danced independently of one another.
World championships, controlled by the World Dance Council (WDC), to less advanced dancers at various skill levels are among the competitions, commonly referred to as dancesport. Most contests are divided into professional and amateur categories, while pro-am competitions are frequently held alongside professional competitions in the United States.
The phrase ‘ballroom dance’ is most commonly used to refer to the 10 Standard and Latin dances, while it is also frequently used to refer to the five International Ballroom dances.
Sequence dancing, which is mostly performed in the United Kingdom, and its development in Australia and New Zealand, known as New Vogue, are sometimes classified as a style of Ballroom dancing.