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Department of Physical Education
California State University, Chico
Ballroom dance refers to partner dances done in a ballroom setting to traditional ballroom music. The earliest eighteenth and nineteenth century forms of ballroom dance were the minuet and polka from France, the quadrille (a two, four, or more couple dance) from France and England, and the waltz from Austria. The roots of ballroom dance stem from the Renaissance period where it became fashionable for ladies and gentlemen of the aristocratic courts to dress well and have polished manners. Soon, competition to outdo others led to elaborate balls and the hiring of dance masters to teach peasant dances to the aristocracy.
Social dance is a term sometimes synonymously used with ballroom dance. It includes all forms of partner dancing where partners may either be touch dancing (as in ballroom) or separated from one another. One does not necessarily need a partner for social dance and it is done primarily for recreational pleasure to a variety of musical styles.