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Ballroom Dancing: The Development of Two Techniques

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Ballroom Dancing: The Development of Two Techniques

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  • May 2005
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Ballroom Dancing: The Development of Two Techniques

It is a fact that emotion stimulates the body into movement. It has been said that "dancing is older than anything except eating, drinking and love". Civilization and conditioning has taught people to suppress this natural response but the primitive desire still remains. Prehistoric man expressed his emotions by movement. When speech was just developing, even primitive cave drawings depict men dancing. As time went on and language was developed, the expressive movements of early man continued but transformed from spontaneous, formal and lastly traditional aspects. These dances were adapted as parts a social custom. This became the foundation of folk dances.

Throughout the earlier dark ages, dancing was found in every country in the form of traditional folk dances. Dancing was a regular feature of the church festival days in Italy, France and England. Showing as long as people exist, the desire to move will survive. This instinct for movement enabled crude folk dance to survive the dull dark ages. Dances from this period were drawn from the Christian Era and by the 15th century dance records became popular, documenting the actual dances then in "vogue". This is when the earliest ballroom dances were documented. One documenter, Thoimot Arbeau published ‘Orchesographie' in 1588. Arbeau lived in a time of transition where solemn dance was giving way to a livelier dance form. Even in the days of Arbeau, technique was slowly being formed by the dancing masters of the period, but it was not until the latter half of the 17th century, after Louis XIV that the hard and fast rules for execution of the every dance were laid down by the members of the Academy and the five positions of the feet were formulated for the first time.

The ballets presented in these days were spectacular based on technique. The first intertwining of the ballet and ballroom came when professional dancers appeared in...

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