Introduction by Alex Skinner of East Sussex Dance.
Following the roaring success of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, more and more kids now want to take up partner dancing. Aside from the usual health, fitness and coordination benefits, Ballroom dancing encourages teamwork, respect for your partner and access to social dancing skills which remain with a child for life.
Ballroom styles include Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango and Quickstep along with Viennese Waltz and American Smooth. These dances require long, gliding steps, a strong core and poise. Latin American styles include Cha Cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble and Jive. Social dances like Rock n Roll, Salsa and Mambo are often taught alongside the high energy Latin American styles.
The earliest recorded Ballroom dancing took place in the late 16th century.
The waltz was a shocking dance in its day as the man and the woman danced facing each other almost in an embrace. It only became acceptable in English society when the young Queen Victoria took to it with a passion.
The samba originated in Brazil. It was, and still is, danced as a festival dance during the street festivals.
The fox can walk with its feet under its body to form a single track. The foxtrot was originally danced this way and is a theory of how the foxtrot began.
The largest Cha-Cha Slide dance was achieved by 3,231 participants at a Girlguiding event at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in 2011.
The largest waltz was achieved by 1,510 couples at an event in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 2010.
The largest cha cha cha dance involved 3,379 participants and was achieved by pupils, staff and parents of Edgefield Primary School in Singapore, on 17 July 2011. 43 participants were disqualified as they did not execute the steps correctly and did not synchronize the choreography with the other dancers!!
Things to consider when looking for a ballroom dancing teacher;
How many other children are in the class? Is it mixed gender?
What is the studio space like? Can you go and have a look at it before you sign up?
Is there a strict dress code? Most dance schools encourage children to wear any comfortable clothes but guidelines are often more specific regarding footwear.
The British Dance Council was formed in 1929 as the Official Board of Ballroom Dancing (OBBD). The name was subsequently changed in 1985 to the British Council of Ballroom Dancing and in 1996, the name was changed to British Dance Council. The BDC is the recognised governing body for Ballroom, Latin, Sequence dancing & Freestyle/Disco dance in the United Kingdom.
The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) is one of the world’s leading dance examinations boards. They offer Grade Examinations in Modern Ballroom and Latin American.
The National Association of Teachers of Dancing offers graded examinations and medal tests in Ballroom and Latin American dancing.
The International Dance Teachers’ Association is one of the world’s largest examination boards, covering the full spectrum of dance examinations on a global scale, with over 7,000 members in 55 countries.
The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing provides training and qualifications for dance teachers.
The Professional Teachers of Dancing (PDT) is an examining board and teaching society and is accredited by the Council for Dance Education and Training. Established in 1992, it is a not-for-profit society that covers a range of dance subjects both in the UK and abroad.
Gross motor skills
Ballroom and Latin American dancing is a great way for a child to keep fit, strengthen core muscles and a fantastic way to improve his or her sense of self-confidence and pride in their bodies and what they can accomplish through practise.
Live performances may also increase your child’s self-esteem, sense of achievement and confidence in public. Dancing is a lovely way for your child to meet like-minded children and perhaps develop new friendships outside of their normal circle of school friends.
Strictly Come Dancing has forever changed, and improved, the image of Ballroom and Latin dancing. With that in mind, here is a list of some of our favourite competitors that have graced our screens since the program started in 2004.
David Dickinson, Natasha Kaplinsky, Carol Vorderman, Julian Clary, Fiona Phillips, Dennis Taylor, Nicholas Owen, Carol Smillie, Willie Thorne, Kelly Brook, Alesha Dixon, John Sergeant, Natalie Cassidy, Susanna Reid, Edwina Currie, Lulu, Johnny Ball, Fern Britton, Lisa Riley and, of course, who can forget Ann Widdecombe?
Ballroom dancing is helping to improve behaviour and interest more children in exercise, researchers have found. The Telegraph.