These dances started appearing first in Italy, during the early years of Renaissance. Popularity of this kind of entertainment quickly swept over the Europe, United States and the World. Although many other simpler and more easily preformed types of dances caused the ballroom dances to lose some of their influence, modern worldwide dancing audience started resurrecting these immortal dances in ever increasing pace.
Waltz – This graceful and slow two person dance was first introduced in mid-19th century and was greatly popularized by the music of the famous composer Johann Strauss. Today this dance represents gold standard and the most famous dance of the ballrooms around the world.
Viennese Waltz – Original form of waltz, first performed at the Italian courts is today remembered as Viennese Waltz. It differs from the much more famous “English Slow Waltz” by having much faster 180 beats per minute and was the first who introduced “closed hold” between performers.
Cha-Cha-Cha – This incredibly rhythmic dance created in Latin America managed to meld together both the slow and very energetic movements, making it an instant hit among the dancers around the world.
Rumba – Popularity of this Cuban dance came from its focus on sensual hip movements of dance partners. Since its creation in 1930s many types of Rumba were created, most notably Cuban Rumba (with the style of the African slaves which created it), Catalan Rumba (with Spanish flavour), Flamenco Rumba and African Rumba.
Samba – Samba is a famous dance and musical genre that originated form the coast of Africa and land of Brazil. Today infectious rhythm of Samba is regarded as the national dance of Brazil, and its famous Brazilian Carnival gathers millions Samba dance fans every year.
Mambo – This Cuban dance that accompanies the music of the same name was introduced in 1930s, and quickly managed to gain popularity with the exploits of famous musicians and dancers such as Perez Prado, Benny Moré, Tongolele, Adalberto Martínez, Rosa Carmina and Lilia Prado.
Charleston – This extremely popular dance type was popularized by famous tune called “The Charleston” by composer and pianist James P. Johnson. Charleston craze soon took over the enthusiastic dancers of Prohibition era of United States.
Swing – Swing dance is a lively dance style in which couples swing, spin and jump together. Swing dancing is a general term that means dancing to swing music or music that “swings.” How can you tell if a song swings? Swing dancers know when a song swings because when they hear it, they can’t stand still. This dance is today synonym for the jazz and swing music of the 1920s-1930s.Because of the many styles of Jazz music, Swing also comes in many flavours – Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, Boogie Woogie, West Coast Swing and Rock and Roll.
Tap Dance – Tap dancing is an exciting form of dance in which dancers wear special shoes equipped with metal taps. Tap dancers use their feet like drums to create rhythmic patterns and timely beats. This extremely popular form of dance was first introduced during 1920s Prohibition era in United States. Originally created by the African slaves, tap dancing came into the mainstream with the performances of Nicholas brothers. Few short years later, tap dancing conquered Hollywood and then entire world.
Moonwalk – This extremely famous dance move that emulates the illusion of walking backwards was first performed by pop icon Michael Jackson in March of 1983, and ever since then it gained planetary fame. No single dance move ever created managed to receive this amount of popularity and recognition.
Boogie-woogie – This quick and energetic style of dance became widely popular during 1930s and 1940s.
Latin dance is a fast-paced, often sensual, partner dance characterized by sexy hip movements. However, hip movements are not intentional in any of the Latin dances. The hip motion is a natural consequence of changing weight from one foot to the other.
Salsa – This Latin dance is today one of the most popular dances in Latin America, North America, Europe and Australia. It’s very sensual form, energetic movement and innovative choreography that was influenced by Mambo, Changuyi and Rumba made it very popular all around the world.
Flamenco – Flamenco dance is an expressive dance form that mixes percussive footwork with intricate hand, arm and body movements. Flamenco is a Spanish art consisting of three forms: Cante, the song, Baile, the dance, and Guitarra, guitar playing. This famous Spanish dance originated from the region of Andalusia, and it gained its name only in 18th century. Its magical, passionate and energetic fusion of singing (cante), guitar playing (toque), dance and handclaps (palmas) made it famous in entire world and became one of the accepted heritages of entire humanity.
Argentine tango – Originally created in the Argentinean region of Rio de la Plata, this dance is today known by many of its variations (Argentine tango, Uruguayan tango, Finish Tango and two types of Ballroom tangos – standard and American) and the fascinating sensual and energetic style. Among many types of tango dance, Argentinian dance strives to preserve original form of tango that was first created in the region of Rio de la Plata.
Lambada – This famous dance that originated from Para, Brazil became internationally popular during 1980s. It managed to successfully fuse aspects of Forro, salsa, merengue, maxixe and the carimbó into unforgettable dance style.
Polka – Appearance of polka in mid-19th century created one of the largest “dance crazes” that our world ever seen. It managed to influence countless other dances, became national dance of many European countries and is extremely popular in entire Western hemisphere.
Country/ Western Dances – Country and western dance includes several dance forms, usually danced to country-western music. If you’ve ever been to a country and western club or tavern, you’ve probably seen a few cowboy boot-wearing dancers twirling around the dance floor with big smiles on their faces.
Belly dance – Belly dance is a unique form of dance characterized by sharp, rolling movements of the hips and abdomen. The true origins of belly dancing are debated among enthusiasts.
Folk Dance – Folk dance refers to a variety of dances developed by groups or communities, as opposed to being made up by a choreographer. There are several types of folk dance including clogging, English country dance, international folk dance, Irish dance, Maypole dance, Morris dance, Nordic polska dance, square dance, and many more. Folk dances are often performed at social events.
Other dance styles:
Ballet serves as a backbone for many other styles of dance, as many other dance genres are based on ballet. Ballet is based on techniques that have been developed over centuries. Ballet uses music and dance to tell stories. Ballet dancers have the ability to transport an audience to another world.
Jazz is a fun dance style that relies heavily on originality and improvisation. Many jazz dancers mix different styles into their dancing, incorporating their own expression. Jazz dancing often uses bold, dramatic body movements, including body isolations and contractions.
Hip-hop is a dance style, usually danced to hip-hop music that evolved from the hip-hop culture. Hip-hop includes various moves such as breaking, popping, locking and krumping, and even house dance. Improvisation and personal interpretation are essential to hip-hop dancing.
Modern dance is a dance style that rejects many of the strict rules of classical ballet, focusing instead on the expression of inner feelings. Modern dance was created as a rebellion against classical ballet, emphasizing creativity in choreography and performance.
Source: http://dance.about.com/od/typesofdance/tp/Dance_Types.htm and http://www.dancefacts.net/dance-types/types-of-dances/
When choosing a dance style, ask yourself questions such as:
o Do I want to dance to improve my fitness?
o Am I trying to improve my flexibility and coordination?
o Do I prefer fast dancing or slow dancing?
o Do I want to dance with a partner, or on my own?
o Do I want to join a group, or have private lessons?
o Will I enjoy competitions, or do I want to dance just for fun?