Waltz began as a country folk dance in Austria in the 17th century. In the early 19th century it was introduced in England. It was created as a slowdown of the Vienna waltz, which used to be called slow waltz. The waltz became popular at the beginning of the 19th century in Vienna, from where it spread all over the world Waltz was the very first dance where a man held a woman close to his body.
When performing the dance, the upper body is kept to the left throughout all figures, follow’s body leaves the right side of the lead while the head is extended to follow the elbow. Figures with rotation have little rise. The start of the rise begins slowly from the first count, peaks on the 2nd count and lowers slowly on the 3rd. Sway is also used on the second step to make the step longer and also to slow down the momentum by bringing the feet together.
It is mainly danced in a large circle with directional displacements, its movement is characterized by extreme heights and depths. One of the most balanced, idyllic standard dances, the music is mostly fine and sentimental.
Tango – Flow of passion
An internationally widespread ballroom dance and musical form. The musical origins of tango are still unclear. There is very little documented material about its beginnings, the musicians did not use music sheets at that time, they did not make notes, the music spread through hearing. Most people believe that tango as music comes from a habanera of Cuban origin. Tango was originated in Buenos Aires in the late 19th century. In the 19th century, the Tango became wide-spread in South America, and it first appeared in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century.
Tango is danced in both open and closed embraces which focuses on the lead and follow moving in harmony of the tango’s passionate charging music. The tango’s technique is like walking to the music while keeping feet grounded and allowing ankles and knees to brush against one another during each step taken. Tango is a flat-footed dance and unlike the other dances, has no rise and fall. Body weight is kept over the toes and the connection is held between the dancers in the hips.
Ballroom tango, however, is a dance with a far more open frame, often utilising strong and staccato movements. Ballroom tango, rather than Argentine tango, is performed in international competition.
The well-known French choreographer and composer Camil de Rinal revamped the dance making it more simple and thereby created the Tango as we know it today.It may seem “distancing” and “exalting” at the same time, but the passion emanating from the restraint of the tango captivates the dancer and the spectator in the dialogue of the bodies. It was included in the ballroom dances in 1930, performing as the second standard dance in competitions
Vienese Waltz – Dignity and elegance
Viennese waltz originated in Provence area in France in 1559 and is recognized as the oldest of all ballroom dances. It was introduced in England as German waltz in 1812 and became popular throughout the 19th century by the music of Joseph Lanner and Johann Strauss.
The Vienese Waltz consists of 6 steps, was divided into two three-quarters beats and completed in one complete turn using the ballet technique still common at the time. . It is often referred to as the classic “old-school” ballroom. Viennese Waltz music is quite fast. Slight shaping of the body moves towards the inside of the turn and shaping forward and up to lengthen the opposite side from direction. Reverse turn is used to travel down long side and is overturned. While natural turn is used to travel short side and is underturned to go around the corners.
The Austrian royal military officer and dance teacher, Karl von Mirkovitsch, made the dance competitive, but in 1951 Paul Krebs created the connection between the Austrian waltz tradition and the English style. It is characterized by lively soaring, space-filling dignified steps and rotational movements. Viennese Waltz is the third dance in the competitions in the standard dance program.
Slowfox(Foxtrot) – Time travel to the ’20s
The foxtrot was originally danced to ragtime music from the late 1910’s through the 1940’s. This popular music at the time began to slow down, creating a slower dance, a slowfox, and a faster sibling for the quick step. The foxtrot was the most popular fast dance, and the vast majority of records issued during these years were foxtrots. The foxtrot reached its height of popularity in the 1930s and remains practiced today.
Slowfox is a slow-moving ballroom dance based on linear stride motions that keep’s the body moving in constant motion. The most difficult standard dance, technically very advanced, so it is taught in dance schools only by advanced dancers. In Slowfox, every step is almost the same length. While dancing, the knees are slightly stretched, elastically ready to move. It is a smoot, progressive dance characterized by long, continuous flowing movements across the dance floor. It’s characterized by the long-lasting movements in the wide-wave motion, which are colored by fast turns and unexpected poses. The music of slowfox is beautified with a saxophone and clarinet remindful of the ’20s, which are essential elements for the light-hearted elegance of slowfox. It was officially included in the competition dances in 1929.
Quickstep- The sparkling dynamics
The quickstep is an English dance and was invented in the 1920s as a combination of faster tempo of foxtrot and the Charleston. In the beginning, African and Caribbean dancers danced. The development of quickstep, as with foxtrot, was first referred to as onstep, with the conquest of ragtime music from England in 1912, it created space for itself. During the ’20s many bands played the Slow Foxtrot too fast, 50 Bars/min, the large open steps from the Foxtrot could not be danced on this speed. The English developed from the original Charleston a progressive dance without kicks and made a mixture with the above mentioned fast foxtrot the called this dance “the Quicktime Foxtrot and Charleston”. Its form, which is still used today, was created around 1922.
The three most typical dance figures are the sasse, the quarter turn, and the lock step. It evolved more and more dynamically (into ragtime music), with plenty of progressive and rotating movements. In the late 20th century experienced dancers further expanded and complicated the quickstep. In the past, the rhythm of it’s steps was simply quick (one beat) and slow (two beats), nowadays, however, they dance at a different beat, for a count similar to the following: quick and quick and quick, quick, slow (where” and “contains additional steps). After II World War it went to a very great change of style: it evolved with small, rhythmic jumping steps. It is a fast moving dance, so men are allowed to close their feet and the couples move in short syncopated steps. Defining musical elements are the trombone anf the saxophone.