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All About Dance » Dance Descriptions » History of The 10 Dances

History of The 10 Dances

Date Published:
February 10, 2004

The Standard Dances

During 1910-1914 many people went to the Bostonclub in the Savoy Hotel, central London to dance the Bostonwals, the forerunner of our competition Waltz. The Boston, imported from the USA, died at 1914 the basic steps were changed to the direction of the Waltz. After the World War 1 the Waltz started to develop more into the right direction with figures like, the Natural and Reverse turn and the Closed Change. The development process of the Waltz was tough and slowly. Special contribution to the development was given by: Miss Josephine Bradly, Victor Silvester and Maxwell Steward and Pat Sykes first English Champions. An imported institute that contributed to the standardisation of the figures was the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD). Many of these variations are still danced by today's competitors.

The Milonga is the forerunner of the Tango. The Milonga had already the characteristic head and shoulder movements that suddenly switched over to stillness. In the beginning of the 20th Century the Milonga was danced in small theatres for the High Society from Brazil. in that period the name was changed from Milonga to Tango, the Milonga name carried to many memories from the ghetto's of Buenos Aires.

The Tango was introduced in Europe, actually in Paris in the Argentine community. Until 1907 the Tango was not accepted in London, the dance was to erotic and had many opponents. After some stylistic changes the Tango was excepted by Paris and London that was the time (1912) of the tango-parties, tango-teas and tango-soupier with professional tango demonstrators.

In 1920/1921 the Tango was standardised at the Conference in London, during the "thirties" the staccato actions merged in to the Tango choreography.

Viennese Waltz
The Viennese waltz originally comes from the South German Alps Area. During the 18th century the dances: Weller, Walzer and Ländler were found, this last dance the Ländler is originally the forerunner of our Viennese Waltz. Between 1800 and 1820 the steps and figures from the Ländler were reduced due to the speed of music and the 6 step Viennese Walz was born.

During the Sixties a lot of discussion was going on between Germany and the U.K concerning the number of Viennese Waltz variations allowed in Competitions. In 1983 the I.C.B.D. took the final decision: Natural and Reverse Turns, Natural and Reverse Fleckerls, The Contra Check change from reverse fleckerl to natural fleckerl danced over one bar of music

Slow Foxtrot
The Foxtrot was introduced in Europe just before World War 1, from its origin the Foxtrot was a dance with slow and quick movements, they say the name comes from a musical dancer Harry Fox. The European dance teachers were not enthusiastic about the "wild" character of the Foxtrot and started to polish it more. Between 1922 and 1929 Frank Ford, with whom Josephine Bradley used to give demonstrations, developed the basic movements of the Slow Foxtrot. With his interpretation he won the 1927 "Star Championships" with partner Molly Spain. Many of the figures they danced are still used by today's competitors. Josephine Bradley is credited with "the heel turn"

Strict tempo music was not yet invented in those days. The Foxtrot could be played at anything from 40 to 50 Bars/min, and it is easy to guess how styles had to be rapidly altered according to who was conducting the band! But once "Victor Silvestor's band began recording the problem was solved.

The Quickstep is derived from the Foxtrot. During the twenties 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". The English couple Frank Ford and Molly Spain danced on the 'Star' Championships of 1927 a version of this Quicktime Foxtrot and Charleston without the characteristic Charleston knee actions and made it a dance for two instead of solo. The figures were Quarter Turns, Cross Chassées, Zig-zags, Cortes, Open Revers Turns, and Flat Charleston. In 1928/1929 the Quickstep was definitly born with the characteristic chassées steps.

The Latin Dances

The roots of the Samba are in Africa, but most of the development is done in Brazil, you will recognize the Samba from the Carnival Parties and Samba Schools in Brazil. In 1925 the Samba was imported into Europe. Although the samba was already accepted as a competition Dance, the great breakthrough of the Samba happened on the World exhibition in NEW York in 1939. Europe was really captured by the Samba in 1948/1949. Walter Laird with partner Lorraine developed he Samba enormously.

Cha Cha
Cha-Cha-Cha is developed from the Mambo and a Latin dance that most people like to learn first. The name Cha Cha Cha is a sound imitation of the "shoes" from dancing Cuban women. The Cha Cha was first seen in America and came to Europe almost at the same time with the Mambo the forerunner from the Cha Cha. After the World War II the Mambo was pushed aside by the Cha Cha Cha which became really popular at 1956.

According to its roots the Cha Cha music should be played passioned without any seriousness and with staccato allowing the dancers to project an atmosphere of 'naughtiness" to the audience.

They estimate that the Rumba was brought to America by the African slaves. But arround 1928/1929 the actual steps and figures of this dance were not clear. Many people treated and danced it, like a new type of foxtrot with additional hip actions. After the World War II The rumba was further developed into the "Cuban Rumba" by monsieur Pierre and Doris Lavell which had a school in the Regent street, London but still the standardisation was a problem until Walter Laird started to write his Latin books his work was accepted by many official dance Associations and the standardisation was a fact.

Paso Doble
The Paso Doble is the only Latin Dance with is not coming from the African culture, the roots of the Paso Doble are in Spain. The peak in popularity of this dance was in 1926. After World War II the Paso Doble was accepted as a Competition Dance.

Jive is a rhythmical and swinging dance which influenced by the Rock & Roll, Boogie and the African/American Swing. The roots of the Jive are in New York, Harlem. In 1940 the jive was developed into the jitterbug and the English Jos Bradly and Alex Moore developed from that the International Competition Jive.