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Ballroom Dancing

Ballroom and Round Dance Resources

Note: The College webmasters killed off all of the old pages, and I am trying to reconstruct this. As such, most of the links listed below don't yet reach existing pages.

by Darrah Chavey
Beloit College, Dept. of Math & Computer Science
and Professor for Dance 109 (Ballroom Dance)

On with the dance! let joy be unconfined;
No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet
To chase the glowing Hours with flying feet.
       -- Lord Byron

Our Dance resumé page, summarizing our background and experience.

The Syllabus for Dance 109, Introduction to Ballroom Dancing, at Beloit College. Includes the course description, attendance policy, and the details about how the course will be evaluated.

Information on Shoes and Equipment. What to look for in dance shoes and some places on the Web to look for dance shoes.

Dance Syllabi: "Recognized moves" lists at different levels (e.g. Bronze, Silver, and Gold) for different dance organizations. This includes the lists of moves I teach in Dance 109.

Dance 109 Exams: The choreography used for the performance exams in Dance 109, last fall. The exams this semester will be quite similar, but a little different. There are 5 exams: Swing, Latin, Tango, Waltz, and Foxtrot.

Directions to the USABDA 4th Saturday dances in Belvidere, Illinois.

History of Ballroom Dance, and of many of the ballroom rhythms. One version of ballroom history is:

Centuries ago, there wasn't much in the way of music. People hit objects together, like the heads of their children, to see what noise it would make. By putting different sounds together (e.g. stick beating head, rock beating head, paper beats rock, rock beats sissors), primitive man began to create music. Around the same time, man began to dance. The first forms of dance began in conjunction with the rock hitting foot sound. The man would scream "oow!" and jump around. Today we call that "modern interpretive dance," or, "what only a nut would consider art." The rest of us stick to ballroom. (Source: the DanceSport FAQ.)

A nice collection of descriptions of ballroom dances, with a little bit of their history, is available on the web site of "First Dance Impressions" in Virginia. The standard source for the history of the various ballroom rhythms is available here. A particularly good source of history information about the dance rhythms and many things associated with ballroom dancing through history is at StreetSwing.

Leading and Following: Hints on how to be successful at leading your partner and, for followers, how to feel and recognize those leads.


Ballroom Dancing: Any of several forms of dancing that involve two persons dancing in unison, in contact with each other, and in time to the music. "In contact with each other" involves more contact than, say, two dancers side-by-side and holding hands, but the amount of contact can vary tremendously from the loose connections of swing to the close contact of Waltz or Lambada.

Round Dancing: Choreographed ballroom dance, generally done to a "cuer" who uses a microphone to tell dancers what to do, much like a square dance caller or contra prompter, but doing a pre-choreographed ballroom dance routine to a particular song. In the better examples, the dances have been choreographed to carefully fit the music (or even the lyrics) and take advantage of interesting spots. Generally uses standard ballroom moves, but occassionally with "gimmicks" for a particular dance.

Sequence Dancing: Choreographed ballroom dance using a standard, memorized choreography of 32-96 measures. Usually uses standard ballroom moves, and the sequence is expected to be "danceable" to almost any song of that particular dance rhythm. Less customized to a particular song/recording than Round Dancing.