Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Social Dancing - Where Has It Gone.

Dancing, Couple, Swing, Tango, Leisure I remember as a child, my dad would put on his suit, make sure he polished his shoes while my mother made sure she had a nice dress on with heels and then they'd go out for the evening to dance.  They'd spend the whole evening dancing and socializing with others.  Unfortunately, over the past couple of decades, the number of places to dance have dwindled until ones happen a couple times a hear.

I've never done that much social partner dancing because they seldom danced with partners at school sponsored dances.  I can dance by myself but I'm not very good at dancing with someone. I occasionally am able to attend social events where people recreate dances from the 1500's on which involve partners and long lines of dancers.

Early social dances from the 1500's were only done by the upper classes.  These dances involved simple steps as couples formed processionals around the room.  People could flirt, hold conversations, or even switch partners through out the dance.  People socialized as they danced.

Social dancing changed during the seventeenth century when the focus changed from large group patterns to patterns of the couples by moving to the waltz.  Although it freed people from the poses of prior dances, it was considered rather indecent until the 19th century which made it even more popular.

Around the beginning of the 18th century in England and the United States, blended group dances with couples dances to get "Contra Dances" or "Cotillions" or "Square Dances".  These dances required a person to call the next move just before it happened.  Some of the moves had people shift partners on a regular basis leading to more social interaction.

Through the 19th century, English Country Dancing, the Waltz, joined the Polka, the Pavan, the Two Step and other dances as the ones done during social dancing.  Towards the end of the 19th century, dance became influenced by African based dance with the Cakewalk.  South America also added an influence with the Tango.

As women were freed from the more restrictive dress, dances also became less restrictive with the Turkey Trot, the Grizzly Bear, and the Bunny Hug.  Most dances had a strong beat, with lots of hugging, close moves, and swaying.  World War I and II helped spread the Charleston, the Lindy, and other dances to other parts of the world.

Along the way schools opened to teach social dances to those who wanted to learn the current dances, meet people, and socialize.  There are still social dance clubs around but I don't think they can be as easily found as they used to.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

No comments:

Post a Comment