Ballroom came from the words “ballare” in Latin and Italian and then the word “room” which referred the hall where it is danced. The word “ballroom” came to refer to both the hall and the activity as in ballroom dancing, ballroom dancer, ballroom instruction and ballroom hall. Ballroom dancing evolved in the 1500’s but expanded in the 18th century and culminated in the mid-nineteeth century in the waltz spreading across the continents and around the globe. Ballroom dancing flourished in the 20th century with the jazz era, big band and interest in dances from countries outside the United States. Some of these new dances were the cha cha, rumba, samba, mambo, foxtrot, tango, quickstep, waltz and the swing dances. Later, these dances were codified and standardized as International style dancing in Europe and American style dancing in the United States. They were further defined into categories of Latin, Modern for Interndational style and Smooth and Rhythm dances for American style ballroom.
The American Smooth ballroom dances are waltz, foxtrot, tango and Viennese waltz. American ballroom rhythm dances are rumba, cha cha, mambo, bolero, samba and East Coast swing. American style dancing is not standardized and is a perfect stle for social dancing.The International ballroom modern dances are waltz, foxtrot, tango, Viennese waltz and quickstep. The International ballroom Latin dances are rumba, cha cha, samba, jive and paso doble.
The word Ballroom or social ballroom generally refers to all the social partner dancing including sub-categories like Country Western, Latin dancing, swing dancing, tango dancing and other types of dance categories. Some categories are not usually considered ballroom dancing like square dancing, round dancing and folk dancing and vintage or dance preservation groups. Ballroom is split into three areas: social dancing, performance dancing and competitive dancing sometimes called dancesport. The latter category of dance is often referred to as Dancesport. Each dance category has its own distinctive features and qualities that fit the particular needs of the dancers involved in these unique areas of dance. Ballroom is usually danced in a hall where everyone dances counterclockwise to music that fits the particular dance genre.
Ballroom dancing has become very popular in recent years with the popularity of TV shows like Dancing With The Stars, So You Think You Can Dance and other shows that revolve around dancing. Also, the Olympics recently classified ballroom dance as an Olympic sport encouraging many people to enter into dancesport. Ballroom dancing thrives in economic good times but also thrives in time of economic slow downs since it adds a healthy, fun activity and is affordable to most people.