There are several references to a sliding or gliding dance, a waltz, from the 16th century including the representations of the printer H.S. Beheim. The French philosopher Montaigne wrote of a dance he saw in 1580 in Augsburg, where the dancers held each other so closely that their faces touched. Shocking many when it was first introduced, the waltz became fashionable in Vienna around the 1780s, spreading to many other countries in the years to follow. It became fashionable in Britain during the Regency period, though the entry in the Oxford English Dictionary shows that it was considered "riotous and indecent" as late as 1825.
Tango is a dance that has influences from Spanish and African culture. Dances from the candombe ceremonies of former slave peoples helped shape the modern day Tango. The dance originated in lower-class districts of Buenos Aires. The music derived from the fusion of various forms of music from Europe. The word Tango seems to have first been used in connection with the dance in the 1890s. The Argentine Tango is characterized by staccato movements of the feet and flexed knees, and stylized poses that highlight its dramatic style.
The Foxtrot is a smooth dance which takes its name from its inventor, vaudeville actor Harry Fox. According to legend, Fox was unable to find female dancers capable of performing the more difficult two step. As a result, he added stagger steps (two trots), creating the basic foxtrot rhythm, slow-slow-quick-quick. The dance debuted in 1914, quickly catching the eye of the talented husband and wife duo of Vernon and Irene Castle, who lent the dance its signature grace and style. It is characterized by smooth, walking-style movements but can be adapted to fit a variety of musical tempi and styles or to fit onto small nightclub dance floors.
The Viennese Waltz, so called to distinguish it from the Waltz and the French Waltz, is the oldest of the current ballroom dances. It emerged in the second half of the 18th century from the German dance and the Ländler in Austria and was both popular and subject to criticism. It gained ground due to the Congress of Vienna at the beginning of the 19th century and the famous compositions by Josef Lanner, Johann Strauss I, and his son, Johann Strauss II. It had spread to England sometime before 1812.
The Quickstep evolved in the 1920s from a combination of the Foxtrot, Charleston, Shag, Peabody, and One Step. The dance is English in origin, and was standardized in 1927. It is characterized by fast movement, often including a variety of hops, kicks, skips, lock steps, and chassès.
An exciting, syncopated Latin dance which originated in Cuba in the 1950's as a slowed-down Mambo. The Cha-Cha gets its name and character from its distinct repetitive foot rhythm, 1-2-3 step-step, which is similar to Swing.
Rumba means Cuban event of African style, organically related to the rumba genre of Afro-Cuban music. Ballroom rumba derives its movements and music from the Cuban "son," just as do the salsa and mambo. The Peanut Vendor was the first recording of Cuban music to become an international hit: it was described on the label as a rumba, perhaps because the word son would not be understood in English. The label stuck, and a rumba craze developed through the 1930s. This kind of rumba was introduced into dance salons in America and Europe in the 1930s. The Rumba is a slow, sensuous, romantic dance which spotlights the lady and features much flirtation.
The term "swing dance" commonly refers to a group of dances that developed concurrently with the swing style of jazz music in the 1920s, '30s and '40s, although the earliest of these dance forms predate swing jazz music. The best known of these dances is the Lindy Hop, a popular partner dance that originated in Harlem and is still danced today. While the majority of swing dances began in African American communities as vernacular African American dances, a number of forms developed within Anglo-American or other ethnic group communities.
Mambo is a fast Latin dance, similar to Salsa, of Cuban origin that corresponds to mambo music. In the late 1940s, Perez Prado came up with the dance for the mambo music and became the first person to market his music as "mambo." After Havana, Prado moved his music to Mexico, then to New York City. The modern dance was popularized in the 70s by Eddie Torres and his contemporaries, who were 1st or 2nd generation Puerto Rican immigrants.
Salsa is a syncretic dance genre created by Spanish speaking people from the Caribbean. Salsa dancing mixes African and European dance influences through the music and dance fusions that are the roots of Salsa: essentially Puerto Rican and Cuban Son, but also with influences from Guaguancó, Rumba, Boogaloo, Pachanga, Guaracha, Puerto Rico's Plena, and Bomba. Salsa is a hot Latin dance similar to Mambo, which, when danced correctly, displays a lot of shaking, shimmying and hip action.
The ballroom samba has its origins in Brazil at the beginning of the 20th century. Many steps can be traced back to the Maxixe danced in 1910s. A book published in France in 1928 already described how to perform the samba.
Paso Doble is a lively and dramatic style of dance to march-like paso doble music. It actually originated in southern France, but is modeled after the sound, drama, and movement of the Spanish bullfight. Its origin dates back to a French military march with the name "Paso Redoble." Paso doble means "double step" in Spanish. The character of the dance is arrogant and passionate.