Dance Styles

The Nature of Dance

While classic ballroom dances like the Foxtrot and the Waltz are at the origin of what has become a challenging sport, many other styles have been added over the past 100 years. The reasons for continued evolution lie in the nature of dance.

“Ballroom dancing is not an activity cut off from the world, but a living thing influenced by events and sensitive to what is going on all around. A change of fashion, war, an upsurge of interest in a particular foreign country, pop music, increased opportunities for travel, social upheavals, the popularity of film or television music – all these have had repercussions on the dancing scene.”
Victor Silvester

ballroom-boogie.png The observation dates back to 1927! It was made by Victor Silvester, an Englishman, musician, dancer, and a pioneer in giving the definite shape to what was to become programme for the match of skills and style on the parquet.

In 1929, British dance teachers defined the norms of an “English" style for the most popular ballroom dances. Maybe for the lack of alternatives, "English" soon prevailed on the continent as well and was eventually adopted as the “International Style” everywhere.

Latin dances with their vibrant energy were next to find acceptance by enthusiasts around the globe. Then it was Swing, then Rock 'n' Roll, then ... The rhythms of time, together with all the other factors Silvester had described in 1927, will certainly continue to influence dance forever.

A look at the list of dance styles in which competitions are staged today confirms that DanceSport has kept abreast of the evolution.

How dance and dance styles developed, and continue to develop, at different times and in different cultures is best traced through scholarly works on the subject.

Recommended Reading

Ballroom, Boogie, ... by Julie Malnig © 2009

Published on 24 August 2010 (last update on 24 April 2023)