Dance History

Where does dancing originate from, dance origin, history of dances

The History of Dance

A brief dance history of ballroom, breakdance, country, fad, flamenco, hiphop, jazz and Latin dance, salsa, swing, tango and western.

  • Argentine Tango - The antique Argentine Tango was influenced by the Tango Habanera, which bears no resemblance to the Argentine Tango we know today.
  • Argentine Tango History - Milonga and Argentine Tango history by Mike Higgins. When talking about the history of the Tango, the reader should consider that although their were many "influences" in the creation and life of the Tango, it is very important not to assume that it was some form of linear development.

  • Ballet - Originating in Italy and expanding from there to many points in the world, ballet has always been regarded as a trained form of dancing that required practice to achieve.
  • Breakdance - Though some experts trace the lineage of the break dance back to the Brazilian Frevo, a Russian folk-dance-influenced form of martial-arts dance/march, it seems more likely that breakin', while it did originate in Brazil approximately 500 years ago, was invented by African slaves rather than native Brazilians or their Portuguese rulers.

  • Cha Cha - Cha Cha is an offshoot of the Mambo.
  • Clogging - clog dancing or clogging, as it is sometimes known, takes its origins from square dancing. This is not where or how clogging began however.

  • Disco - Most Disco dances have strong roots in Swing, Samba, Cha Cha, Mambo, Merengue, Fox Trot and Tango.

  • Flamenco and the Spanish Gypsy - History of Flamenco Dance & Music.
  • Foxtrot - The Foxtrot originated in the summer of 1914 by Vaudeville actor Harry Fox.

  • Hip Hop - The first mention of hip hop dance dates back to the 70's when some new moves were introduced to the dance world to accompany the funky sounds of hip hop music that was also being discovered.
  • Hip Hop - The styles that developed in the later years are known as the New School. The older ones involve break dances and funk styles.
  • Hula and Tahitian Dance - Today, there are many different variations of the original hula dance but all have the roots grounded to some extent or another in the original hula dance created centuries ago.
  • Hustle - The Hustle started here, in the Big Apple.

  • Irish Dancing - There are many different styles of Irish dancing but for those who are only familiar with Riverdance and others, there is no question that this style of Irish step dancing is mesmerizing.

  • Jazz - Only one kind of music suited this generation - jazz, the vehicle for dancing the fox-trot, shimmy, rag, Charleston, black bottom, and various other steps of the period.

  • Mambo - The Mambo dance originated in Cuba where there were substantial settlements of Haitians.
  • Merengue - Merengue has existed since the early years of the Dominican Republic (in Haiti, a similar dance is called the Meringue or Mereng)

  • Peabody - Legend has it that the Peabody was created by a portly police or fire chief - Captain Peabody.
  • Polka - Bohemian historians believe that the polka was invented by a peasant girl (Anna Slezak, in Labska Tynice in 1834) one Sunday for her amusement.

  • Rumba - There are two sources of the dances: one Spanish and the other African. Although the main growth was in Cuba, there were similar dance developments which took place in other Caribbean islands and in Latin America generally.
  • Rumba Dantza historia - Hitza Rumba epe generikoa, askotariko izenak (hau da, Son, Danzon, Guagira, Guaracha, Naningo) estaliz, West Indian musika edo dantza mota bat da.

  • Salsa - Salsa is a distillation of many Latin and Afro-Caribbean dances. Each played a large part in its evolution.
  • Samba - The Samba originated in Brazil. It was and is danced as a festival dance during the street festivals and celebrations.
  • Swing - The history of swing dates back to the 1920's, where the black community, while dancing to contemporary Jazz music, discovered the Charleston and the Lindy Hop.

  • Tango - Originating in Spain or Morocco, the Tango was introduced to the New World by the Spanish settlers, eventually coming back to Spain with Black and Creole influences.
  • Twist - The song "The Twist" was written by Hank Ballard in 1959.

  • Viennese Waltz - The first record of a dance to 3/4 rhythm is a peasant dance of the Provence area of France in 1559, as a piece of folk music called the Volta.

  • Waltz - Waltz: a dance born in the suburbs of Vienna and in the alpine region of Austria.
  • Western - Modern western dance is part of this global language and its roots run wide and deep. They can be traced to the taverns of Ireland and to the ballrooms of Europe, to the Czarist palaces of Russia and further back still to the fluid tribal rituals of Africa.


See also

Dance Articles
Dance Terms
Dance Definitions
Dance Videos and DVDs

Links to other web sites with History of Dancing

Evolution of Dance by Judson Laipply. The funniest 6 minute dance history video you will ever see!

Polka History - Independent Lens