Sometimes, it’s good to look back a few years and see how ballroom dance started, and what it has become today. As we may know, history tends to repeat itself, so I decided to remind of 8 Frequently Forgotten and Somewhat Odd Facts About Ballroom:
First some history….
- Pain avoidance is believed to be the origin of the one side connection of partners in ballroom dancing’s “closed hold”. Swords were always were always worn, so connection on the opposite side of the sword totally makes sense for any intelligent follower.
- The beautiful stretch many have developed as a result of bad odors. Many believe that that the followers’ extension came about because of the practice of very infrequent bathing among aristocracy during the early days of waltzing history. Again, good move by followers before spray deodorant.
- Ballroom and ballet have the same origin. The words ballroom and ballet can be traced back to the latin word ‘balare’ meaning ‘to dance. Ball (meaning formal dance) and the Italian word ballare are also among several derivatives of this original beautiful word.
- The waltz was considered vulgar and damaging for most of its history given the close connection of bodies. A document from the late 1700’s reads “Waltzing is a main source of weakness of the body and mind of our generation”. This sort of view only lasted for about 300 years or so…..
And, perhaps, some interesting inspirations for open choreography and/or show dances…
- Decca Records in the USA initially labeled its rock and roll releases as “foxtrots”, including the hit “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and His Comets.
- The ability of the Fox to walk with its feet under its body in a single track may have given the Foxtrot it’s name. Early on, the Foxtrot was danced with the left and right feet on one line of dance, Separate tracks started only the 1950s but the liberal use of contra body movement and contra body movement position kept the slinky feel. While some sources credit American Harry Fox with the invention of Foxtrot, others claim that his credit was in popularizing it, perhaps becasue the name reminded him of his own.
- Rumba is more about sexual competition than sexual connection. Ballroom rumba, cha cha cha, mambo and salsa came from Cuban rumba. Cuban rumba has three main variants. Guaguancó is a competition of sexual prowess and attractiveness between male and female through dance. Yambú is like guaguancó but much slower. Columbia is a fast and highly acrobatic rumba that is typically danced solo by a man, most likely in competition with other men for the attention of partners.
- Before its application to music and dance, the original meaning of the word “Rumba” was a “Party”… Well, that makes sense.