Topical History

History of Ballroom Dancing

The first record of ballroom dancing was recorded at the end of the 16th century when Jehan Tabourot published a study on the French Renaissance social dance style. Ballroom dancing originated as a social style exclusively for the elite class, and folk dancing was designated for the lower classes, even though ballroom dancing is simply an elevated form of folk dancing. In the mid-17th century, a peasant ballroom dance called Poitou was introduced in Paris, and was famously danced by King Louis XIV in a public area. Apparently, King Louis XIV enjoyed the dance so much that he created an Academy for music and dance, where specific rules of each style of dance were taught.

After ballet had left the social dance scene and became a performance based dance style, ballroom dancing became the norm. In the mid-18th century, several new dances such as the Polka, Mazurka, and the Schottische came into popularity. In the 19th century, there was a large opposition to the dance style due to the close and tight hold, however the stance eventually softened and became more acceptable. Modern ballroom dance in the 20th century began with couples moving independently from each other, however the second wave in the 1930’s changed the style. Popular music such as Jazz created many new styles of dance that would lead to the numerous styles of dance in place today.