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Famous Ballroom Dancers

When you think of famous ballroom dancers you probably think of people like the dancing with the stars virtuoso Maksim Chmerkovskiy (who is undoubtedly one of the best of the 21st century thus far), but the dancers of the 20th century laid the groundwork; and did so amazingly!

Here are a few of my favorites that I would like to showcase. Don’t just take my word for it, check them out for yourself!

Fred Astaire: Considered one of the greatest dancers ever, Fred Astaire was, surprisingly, not a born dancer. His parents insisted that he dance with his sister Adele (who danced with him in several of his movies), but his passion was in acting. A vaudeville casting agent wrote a brief not about him that reads, “slightly bald, also dances.”Astaire, Fred - Daddy

Talk about the underestimation of the century!

Ginger Rogers: It is hard to talk about Fred Astaire without his often partner in dancing on the silver screen; Ginger Rogers!

Ginger was a natural born dancer with a charming smile, excellent acting ability, and an ability to make everyone her laugh! She starred in several films with Fred, where the two performed some of the greatest ballroom dancing sequences ever filmed; often with just one take! The level of poise, rhythm and grace that Ginger possessed was, as many professional dancers will attest to, was almost supernatural!

Donnie Burns: Considered by many to be the greatest ballroom dancer of all time when it comes to Latin dance, Scottish native Donnie Burns is a master dancer with rhythm and elegance to spare. Burns is called the “Michael Jordan of ballroom dancing,” and is currently the president of the World Dancing Council. Donnie was undefeated in world dance competitions for a concurrent period of 20 years, a feat that has yet to be replicated (if it will ever be).

Join us next time where I will talk about movies that are iconic films that feature ballroom dancing!

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Types of Ballroom Dancing

credit: habanera

credit: habanera

So for this entry I thought I would take a moment to talk about the classic, traditional ballroom dancing types most commonly found in competitive (and in general) dance.

  • The Tango: This dance originated in either Italy or Spain (and the debate on this origin has been the cause of many professional dancer fist fights) and is known for its dramatic flair and, when done correctly, the extreme passion between the partners.
  • Cha Cha: A dance categorized by hip movement and short steps to a Latin rhythm, the cha-cha requires athleticism and its dancers to be in exact rhythm with one another throughout this lively dance.
  • Foxtrot- The Foxtrot is a smooth dance that is a 4-time step (vs. the three-time step of the waltz) and is typically performed to a vocal song. The origin of this dance type is also a source of debate, with some citing the blues as the inspiration for the type.
  • Salsa- This spicy dance type originated in 1970’s New York (to find out more about Ballroom Dance History click here), and is a dance type that is heavily influenced by other Latin dance forms such as the cha cha. This dancing style takes its name from the style of music of the same name.
  • Samba- A dance style that comes from Brazil, specifically the west African slave trade, the Samba is also a dance style that has evolved since its creation. Much of this style’s evolution has to do with the addition of different instrumentation, which has included brass, string and wind instruments.
  • Waltz- A European classical dance that embodies fluidity of movement and posture, the Waltz is three-time step dance that can be danced to while a variety of music is played. A sense of balance is a necessity as well as rhythm, as the Waltz is known for the performers turning in circles across the dance floor.
  • Rumba- A dance that finds its origins in Cuba, the Rumba is a dance style is one that varies in technique depending on the sub-style of international or American. One cool thing about the Rumba is that the word is also used for “party!”

This is the most basic info that can be presented in these styles. I encourage the reader to research these and other dance styles; some of the info you find may surprise you!

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The History of Ballroom Dancing

credit: AnnemarieBon

credit: AnnemarieBon

Ballroom dancing is a beautiful art, engulfed in a rich history of love, passion and culture!

That is the main reason why I fell in love with ballroom dancing (remember my first blog?).  In this blog post, I want to explore the history of ballroom dancing in all its glory!

All throughout history ballroom dancing was practiced as a personal art and in competitions.  Starting in the 16th century, at least that is the earliest recorded, ballroom dancing was a social activity done in France.

In the early 19th century, the waltz was created in England.  This ballroom dance style was very controversial because of the close hold between partners.

The 20th century brought what we call modern ballroom dancing.  Blossoming out from couples dancing in sequence to more independent movement with more waltz influences.

During the 20th century is when the ballroom dancing style became more publicized, and people began opening training studios where the method was taught.  Professionals of ballroom dancing emerged, and the art was studied for more efficient training and technical performances.

Ballroom dancing became more of a special sport with organizations and clubs emerging.

Competitive ballroom dancing evolved into a very serious and strenuous sport where the young and old began practicing to achieve excellence and recognition.  At competitions, judges would critique anything from posture to expressions.

Competitions are my favorite part of ballroom dancing!  There is just something about practicing and performing in front of an audience than being rewarded for your hard work!

Different cultures have adopted ballroom dancing styles and made them their own, for example;

  • Tango – the Tango is a brilliant and seductive ballroom dancing style with evident Latin flare!
  • Mambo – also a Latin dance originating in Cuba

One neat fact about ballroom dancing is you can identify the country of origin based on the tempo!

Yes, that is correct, it is a fascinating fact about ballroom dancing!


This blog is sponsored by Tree Service Germantown TN

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Welcome To My Ballroom Dancing Blog

Ballroom dancing is a formal style of dancing that typically requires a partner of the opposite sex.

There are set steps and patterns that are performed to the rhythm of music.  Although professional dancers make the steps look easy, many years of practice goes into perfecting the art of ballroom dancing!

For years this style of dancing has been performed competitively and for fun.  It is a great way for you and your partner to grow closer together and have fun doing it!

I have years of experience in ballroom dance instruction and competitive dancing.  It is a passion of mine to teach others the art of ballroom dancing so that the style lives on!

Here is a sample of what ballroom dancing looks like:

It is a style of elegance and grace!  From the time I was a little, I enjoyed seeing people dance and always dreamed of being a professional dancer!

I spent several years dancing in competitions and now enjoy teaching others the art of ballroom dancing!

Be sure to stay tuned to my new posts about ballroom dancing!

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