Ballroom dancing refers to a set of partner dances in which two individuals, a "leader" and a "follower," dance with physical contact through their upper or lower bodies, or simply their arms depending on the particular variety of dance. Since ballroom dancing is sometimes unchoreographed, the leader has to communicate the next ballroom dance move to the follower while following rhythmic patterns in the music. There are many styles of ballroom dancing from around the world, such as the Viennese Waltz and Latin Salsa, and each has specific step patterns. It is essential for both the leader as well as the follower to know the steps so they can dance together.
Many styles of ballroom dancing come from different eras in history. The Minuet came from 17th century France while and the Polish folk dance, Mazurka, another ballroom dance, became popular in Europe in 1800’s. Modern day ballroom dancing styles and steps are attributed to these historical ballroom dances. Starting in 1933, with the pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in movies such as, The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle, ballroom dancing became iconic.
Today, formal ballroom dance competitions, sometimes referred to as DanceSport, take place worldwide and are open to ballroom dancers of all levels. Even the International Olympic Committee now recognizes competitive ballroom dancing. ABC’s Dancing with the Stars is one of the highest rated shows on TV .
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