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What is, "Ballroom Dancing"?
Posted by pivotingfool
1/3/2010  10:26:00 AM
By definition, "Ballroom Dancing", would be, "Moving to the music", in a "Ballroom". (A Ballroom was a large room with a hard wood floor, that was built and used primarially for dancing.)

An old friend who danced in the Big Band error told me that he once danced in a Ballroom with 3,000 other dancers. (Can you even imagine?)

The vast majority of people who have ever dnaced in a real, "Ballroom", were social dancers who were taught to dance by friends and family.

These folks danced for their partners pleasure, and their own. There were no cameras, judges, or mirrors.

The objective was to have a good time, and to meet people.

Wouldn't it be more accurate to call what many dancers do today,--"Competitive Dancing", or maybe, "Sport Dancing"?

I wonder how many young dancers even know what a "Ball" was.

Re: What is, "Ballroom Dancing"?
Posted by belleofyourball
1/4/2010  12:40:00 AM
pivotingfool...why the ennui?

If you are from the US it is true that we have lost a lot of our civility...or maybe we are just returning to the old ways. The people of the lower classes danced folk dances, and the wealthy and aristocracy danced what has become ballroom. It was difficult and highly patterned and required teachers just like it does today. As for mirrors have you seen some of the old ballrooms in Europe or the wealthy parts of SOuth America? They weren't good mirrors but they were there.

I've been to balls in the US and in Europe and the majority of the people danced and I promise you they didn't learn it from friends or family but they were dancing for pleasure.

You are right, there is a subsection of dancing that is called DanceSport. It is related to social dancing, but is more difficult. So if people fall in love with dancing and they want to use it to challenge themselves why is it wrong? Besides a lot of the people who go to comp are just living out their Cinderella fantasies and if it makes them happy why should it disturb me? Why should it disturb you? People have strange motivations, but if what they are doing is contributing to beauty in this world I'm all for it.

My Grandma and Grandpa are from the Big Band Era. They met at a dance, a huge dance. The same with my Aunt and Uncle. I don't enjoy dancing with either my uncle or grandfather they only know a few steps and it is repetitive and boring. As far as most people at dances, as in people moving to music in a room with a wooden floor that was built primarily for dancing, it is nothing more than a meat market and that loses its appeal after the third man lears down my cleavage.

Just my opinion.

Re: What is, "Ballroom Dancing"?
Posted by Heel-toe
1/4/2010  7:21:00 AM
I would submit that ballroom is a more formalized style of dancing, but ain't it fun? Being a bit OCD, I love the pursuit of trying to get it right. (One of ballroom's lesser known attributes is serving as a coping mechanism to many of us with overactive minds, etc.)Practicing the various smooth figures brings me great pleasure, but at times, when everything comes together technically on the dance floor, it's bliss. It's a feeling of soaring with expression to a favorite tune. It's almost like a good dream. And being cognizant of that joy is really cool, too.
Re: What is, "Ballroom Dancing"?
Posted by Ladydance
1/7/2010  1:56:00 PM
You seem to think that ballroom dancers can't be social dancers. At our studio, there are many dancers who would never consider their dancing either competitive or a 'sport'. They dance because they love it and most are highly trained. They have never competed and never will. What is wrong with being taught by a 'professional'? As for balls, our studio holds two a year. The dance floor can hold 300 people. 99.9% of those attending are social dancers who are just there for a good time in a formal setting. There are no cameras, mirrors or judges. Just dancers!
Re: What is, "Ballroom Dancing"?
Posted by terence2
1/8/2010  5:20:00 AM
Quite true.. there has been a myth perpetuated that because one takes formal instruction, it automatically "leads " to comp.

far from it.. only about 10% EVER venture into that arena...and just dance socially..
Re: What is, "Ballroom Dancing"?
Posted by SmoothGeezer
1/8/2010  10:18:00 AM
Pivotingfool seem to be a little confused about what ballroom dancing is. He seems to be getting it confused with other forms of dance. Ballroom dance is not "competition dancing", not now or at any time in the past. There are some that compete but they are only a very small fraction of the total population of ballroom dancers. Most ballroom dancers have some amount of formal training. Most ballroom dancers consider their activity a hobby (except for maybe a few who teach it as a profession). Like all hobbies one of the goals is to learn about the hobby and improve your ability. That is part of the fun of any hobby. There are very few "family and friends" capable of teaching this.

There are several types of social dances where the primary goal is something else. One for example is the "singles social" where dancing is not the primary reason for going. Many people that attend these can't dance at all, but they are willing to get up and move around a little, doing whatever they feel like, and that is OK because there are many others doing the same thing. They play some amount of ballroom music and some ballroom dancers like to infiltrate this group, but they are a very small minority.

The ability of the participants at a ballroom dance varies a lot depending on what part of the country the dance takes place. In areas where there are very few instructors, the dancers ability may be very poor. They may also get instruction from unqualified people, like family and friends. If you happen to be from one of these areas and never go outside it, you can get a distorted view of ballroom.

Another type of social dance are the country dances. Those include folk dance, contras, squares, Cajun/Zydeco, and many others. These aren't considered ballroom but they do require some training. Most are easy to learn compared to ballroom. (Some hobbies are easier than others.)

There is round dance and sequence dance, which the members like to think of themselves as social dancers. Those require some training as well, but it is possible to learn some of this from family and friends. They have some remote similarity to ballroom but all the ballroom technique has been left out so they become much easier. Some who participate at the highest levels in these, find that they have to go to ballroom instructors if they want to improve.

Pivotingfool wrote: An old friend who danced in the Big Band error told me that he once danced in a Ballroom with 3,000 other dancers. (Can you even imagine?).....

No I can't imagine that. The largest dance floor I was ever on was 15,000 sq ft and at one time there were 300 dancers on it, and it was very crowded. So for 3000 dancers you would need at least a 150,000 sq ft floor. That's about 2.6 football fields counting the end zones. Where would I find this ballroom?

If you packed 3000 people like sardines, elbow to elbow, touching on all sides, you would need about 3.2 high school basketball courts.
Re: What is, "Ballroom Dancing"?
Posted by terence2
1/8/2010  10:53:00 PM
I know of 2 B/Rooms ( in the States ) which hold more than that !.. One was in Utah and the other in Long beach ( they may still be operational .. the utah one, was BYUs )
Re: What is, "Ballroom Dancing"?
Posted by SmoothGeezer
1/10/2010  8:37:00 AM
Terence wrote: I know of 2 B/Rooms ( in the States ) which hold more than that !.. One was in Utah and the other in Long beach ( they may still be operational .. the utah one, was BYUs )

This could be an interesting bit of trivia - the largest dance floor in the US! I tried to find it, or find the largest one I could, although I had zero expectation of finding a dance floor of 150,000 sq ft.

This reference says the grand ballroom at the Long Beach Convention Center is 10,228 sq ft. I don't know if that's just the floor or includes seating.
Although this reference says the grand ballroom is 20,456 sq ft. It's interesting that number is exactly twice the previous number and I think that number includes 4 other adjacent rooms plus the ballroom (as shown on the chart).
I found several other large ballrooms in Long Beach but they were all smaller.

I have not been able to find the size of BYU's largest ballroom.

I found one under construction in the northeast that claims it will be the largest in the northeast. That one will be 48,800 square ft.

I guess that one will eclipse the 40,000 carpeted ballroom in Hartford.

The biggest ballroom in Arkansas is 42,000 sq ft.

The largest ballroom in Chicago is 45,000 sq ft.

The largest ballroom in Washington DC is 52,000 sq ft.

So far, the largest ballroom I have found in California is 38,058 sq ft.
They claim to have the largest convention center ballroom anywhere.

Pheonix, Az claims a 45,000 ft ballroom.

The Cubberley Pavilion in San Francisco claims to have the largest dance floor in the US. (12,000 sq ft)
(Some claims don't mean a lot. Our local club uses a 15,000 sq ft wooden floor.)

I found one at the Marriott in Orlando that can connect rooms and come up with 150,000 sq ft. That's carpeted but I guess you could put down a temporary floor. I guess you won't be circling that in one song.

It seems that those facilities quoting these large numbers are including the total for the whole facility, which includes seating and misc rooms. The actual dance floor is smaller. In most cases these are multi-purpose facilities and don't have a permanent dance floor (carpet is not a permanent dance floor). So I don't really know who has the largest dance floor. Anyone know of any other huge dance floors?
Re: What is, "Ballroom Dancing"?
Posted by pivotingfool
1/9/2010  11:49:00 AM

I have read enough of your posts to know that your studio is more like the old independent ones than it is like the more Competitive International Studios of today. (I assume that you give them what they want.)

One quick clue as to the type os Studio your run is if you have a Firday evening dance that many of your students go to, yours is the old type.

Another clue is having mixers. Still another is if people laugh at their mistakes, and excuse other folks for making theirs.

Many of today's Studios can not get enough Social Dancers to keep a Friday evening dance going.

Contrary to your first sentence, I tend to think that the, "Social Dancers", are the heart of Ballroom Dancing. (Without them, dancing would die.)

I did not mean to upset anyone. I only asked for opinions on what types of dancing people think fall into the, "Ballroom Dancing" catagory.

I know folks who think that the kind of dancing they do, is the only real form of Ballroom Dancing.

I asked what people thought, "Ballroom Dancing", was because I am not sure we all agree on the answer.


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