The 8 styles of ballroom dancing you have to know – Passion for Dance

Anyone who is passionate about dancing, knows how nice it is to meet new rhythms and discover new ways to express themselves with the body, right? This article was made precisely to show that, beyond ballet, there is an infinity of ballroom dance styles, equally passionate.

Many people, however, have doubts about the definition of ballroom dance, how it came about, what are the styles etc. If you are part of this group and would also like to know more about this modality, continue reading and discover 8 super-cool and different subtypes of ballroom dancing for you to enjoy together. Check out!

The history of ballroom dancing

In the world

Ballroom dances are defined mainly by body and rhythmic movements performed by a pair of dancers. They originated in the balls of the European nobility in the late Middle Ages, appearing for the first time in the Italian courts. The most popular rhythms were classic and sophisticated, like medieval dance, and were practiced only by the aristocracy of the time.

It was only in the 15th and 16th centuries that faster rhythms were introduced, such as galliard (characterized by jumps, jumps and twirls) and sarabande, in which couples positioned themselves in a double line and were packed by castanets and lively melodies.

In Brazil

Ballroom dancing only reached Brazilian territories during the 19th century, through Portuguese court professors who taught etiquette and social dance.

Over the years, ballroom dancing became more rhythmic and Latin rhythms such as cha cha cha, mambo, maxixe, jive, paso doble, rumba, etc. were introduced. From this, the international competition dance organization, World Dance Sport Federation (WDSF), started to classify ballroom dances in two types: Latin (mentioned above) and classical (waltz, slowfox, tango, quickstep etc.). )

Are you curious to know a little more about these and other styles? So, read on!

8 styles of ballroom dancing

1. Maxixe

Maxixe, also known as the Brazilian tango, was created on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, in the middle of 1870. This dance, which gave rise to the samba de gafieira, is sensual and relaxed, even being banned because it is considered very provocative for the time.

In this style, the couple must dance with their feet flat, almost without lifting them off the ground, and the whole choreography focuses on the intense swing and on the crisscrossed legs. The position of the hands is intertwined with those of the partner and suspended in the air, similar to forró.

The main difference between the two dances is that, in the maxixe, the steps are shorter and there is much more play around. Because it is often fast, this is a style that suits the shirt and contributes to the fitness life of the dancers.

2. Lindy Hop

Of African American origin, lindy hop is danced to the sound of swing jazz and is certainly one of the most lively dances you have ever seen. Although relatively recent in Brazil, lindy has made a name for it since the 1920s, when residents of the New York suburbs gathered to dance to the so-called big bands of the time.

Despite the high racial segregation of that period, blacks and whites had fun together, creating new steps based on tap and charleston, which greatly influenced the current structure of this dance.

The interesting thing about this activity is that it not only promotes weight loss (caused by the intense and slight set of legs), but also favors the mental health of its practitioner. This is because the steps are relaxed, fun, and despite having a basic marking, there are no restrictions. In other words: there is a lot of room for improvisation and creativity.

3. Mambo

The mambo is a typically Latin ballroom dance style, of Cuban origin and influenced by African rhythms and jazz, created in the 1930s. With a quick choreography, this is an activity that requires breath and strength.

In addition, the couple should take a more distant position, in order to have balance in the execution of the steps. Flexibility and speed are also key points to be developed by dancers so that the dance is performed well.

4. Bachata

Created in the Dominican Republic in the 1960s, the bachata is danced at a slower pace and is distinguished by the sharp movement of the hips. Romantic and contagious, this dance allows its practitioner to be able to control the lower limbs as if they were no longer part of the body itself.

Because it is extremely sensual and dances very closely, the practice of bachata is able to enhance the ability to seduce, improve self-esteem and allow the body to express itself with its own language.

5. Paso Doble

Originated in the 16th century in Spain, the paso doble is one of the most representative rhythms in that country. That’s because his posture is tense, well marked, strong and decided, similar to flamenco.

This intense rhythm is danced face to face, but a little further away than most other ballroom dances. It consists of a step by time, in which the couple remains parallel and with joined hands.

Men tend to be more abrupt, while women move their hips slightly. Among the main benefits is the control of anxiety, and balance, maintained by the high level of concentration of the dancer.

6. Quickstep

As the name says, the style is marked by quick steps and small jumps, being classified as a type of classical ballroom dance. Its emergence is closely linked to two musical genres, jazz and ragtime, the latter characterized by intense and vibrant beats.

Although the quickstep is still compared to the waltz, since its initial positions are very similar, it differs because it combines circular and linear movements and, for the most part of the dance, men keep their legs open.

7. Cha cha cha

The dance originated in Cuba and is derived from the mambo and rumba played in the 40s and 50s. The main characteristic of the cha cha cha is the quaternary rhythm, that is, it counts “2, 3, 4 and 1”, the “4 and 1” being marked by the dancers as “cha cha cha”.

The origin of the name comes from one of the dance steps, called “chassé”, because the sound that was emitted by the feet of the dancers when making this movement seemed to resound “cha cha cha” in the environment. Nowadays, the rhythm (although slightly modified) can be heard on the radio by great pop stars, such as Carlos Santana and Rick Martin.

8. Jive

This style of ballroom dancing became popular in the United States in the 1930s and originated in the African American communities of that time. Like cha cha cha, it has a quaternary rhythm and is characterized by syncopated movements (a rhythmic effect that shifts the accents from weak to strong music) and fast, loose steps.

Jive is one of the most well-known and popular ballroom dance styles, being a favorite among professional dancers around the world.

As seen, ballroom dancing encompasses several styles and, in addition to entertaining, is a great way to exercise your body, lose those extra pounds and even fight depression.

Meet the Evidence Ballet ballroom dance line

Did you like to know more about the ballroom dance styles we present? So, enjoy and learn more about street jazz, a style that has made the minds of many people out there, especially the younger ones.

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