Usually when we think of Ballroom dancing we think of fast and intimidating movements that are complicated and out of our reach. Poised men in tuxedos and graceful women in shiny dresses… it can all be very overwhelming. However, there are a lot of interesting and fun facts surrounding Ballroom dancing. For instance, Ballroom and Ballet have the same origin. The words ballroom and ballet are traced back to the latin word “ballare”, meaning to dance.
Also, I bet you didn’t know that the beautiful and elegant Waltz was considered vulgar for most of its history, simply because of the close body connection that was required when dancing. And the Waltz was not the only dance with that stigma. Other Ballroom dances were thought of as inappropriate, like the Rumba, Cha Cha Cha, Mambo and Salsa. Granted, these are all sexy Latin dances. After all, the Cuban Rumba is a competition of sexual prowess and attractiveness between male and female through dance. So you can see how back then, in the most modest of times, people might have had a problem with some of these dances.
Another interesting little tidbit that you might not know is that pain avoidance is believed to be the inspiration for the one sided connection of partners in ballroom dancing’s “closed hold”. To further explain, back in those times swords were always worn, so connection on the opposite side of the sword was required by any intelligent follower. Who knew?!
Did you also know that it is thought that the long body stretches in most of these dances may have developed as a result of bad body odors. Many people believe that that the follower’s extensions came about because of the practice of very infrequent bathing among the population of the aristocracy during the early days of Waltzing. Since then, however, the dance has grown, and so perhaps has peoples’ willingness to practice good hygiene.
All jokes aside, Ballroom dancing grew so much that it evolved into a serious competitive sport. Although 30 countries participate in international Ballroom dance competitions, it is still not included in the Olympic Games.
It’s very interesting to know that Ballroom dancing has incredible physical benefits to the human body. For example, it is scientifically proven to be great for your cardiovascular health. An Italian study in 2006 showed that Ballroom dancing is a very good exercise for heart patients compared to other aerobic exercises like cycling. It is also great for muscle tone, your joints and spinal column. Another report by Professor Tim Watson and Dr. Andrew Garrett of the University of Hertfordshire compared members of the Royal Ballet with a group of British swimmers. The dancers scored higher than the swimmers in seven out of ten areas of fitness. Pretty cool!
Today, most partner dancing is about recreation and self-expression. Social dancing, for example, is a wonderful stress reliever and confidence builder. Simply put, dancing is a truly enjoyable way to be more physically active, stay fit and have fun. The more dancing you do, the healthier you become.
Its so easy to learn to dance, and you can begin any time. Beginner’s dance lessons for adults are available in most major cities at your local dance studio. So find out what you’re missing in your life and learn to ballroom dance today!