"Ballroom dance" refers to traditional partnered dance forms that are done by a couple, often in the embrace of closed dance position ("ballroom dance position"). These include waltz, foxtrot, tango, quickstep, viennese waltz, peabody and some swings. "Ballroom dance" tends to be the overall umbrella term, covering lots of forms of dance that utilizes a closed (ballroom) dance position such as Salsa. We would categorize Salsa (and like dances) as Latin.
The origins of ballroom dance first appeared in 16th century Europe—French philosopher, Michel de Montaigne, wrote of a dance that he observed in 1580 in Augsburg, Germany, where dancers moved together so closely that their faces touched. Waltz, considered the oldest traditional ballroom dance, originated as a dance style enjoyed by lower classes. Around 1750, a couples’ dance called “Walzer,” was popularized by peasants of Bavaria, Tyrol, and Styria. Danced in ¾ time, it eventually spread from the countryside, to the suburbs, and finally into European cities.
Read more here: DanceVision.com
All the standard Ballroom Dances have 2 main styles, American and International. While both styles can be competitive, American is widely known in North America as the "social" style to learn. Most studios and teachers will teach American unless you ask otherwise.
American Ballroom Dances Include: Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot and Peabody (although Peabody is all but extinct)
International Ballroom Dances Include: Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot and Quickstep
The music for these styles are the same except for some mild speed changes in tempo. Otherwise, the difference is really just patterns and figures learned.
Where to Go?
Ballroom Dancing is much like a serious hobby like golf or tennis. Just as you find a course to play golf, or a court to play tennis, you will find a place to go dancing. Many social groups around the triangle hold monthly dances to attend in various locations as well as studios and teachers that run their own dances. Once you start dancing and meet people, you will quickly learn of the best places to go. Carolina Dancesport sponsors a few dances per month. Check out the calendar for more info
Benefits of Ballroom
The benefits of dancing are more than you would think! Frankly, there are too many to list here, but here are few specific to Ballroom Style:
Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Muscle Toning and Conditioning
Increases Strength and Flexibility
Burns Fat and Increases Heart Rate