Social Dancing

1101 Words5 Pages
For drastic change to occur, most, if not all, aspects of society must be reformed. To challenge the existing structure, new powers must rise up to take its place. Neither side will back down without a fight, but only one group can be truly victorious. These are the dynamics that have persisted in the world’s histories. As such, at critical turning points in a nation’s history, one can observe the tide of change by comparing the characteristics of old and new institutions. Focusing on a single industry, entertainment, specifically dance, has taken on a larger role during times of social change. It facilitates and sometimes challenges the process, but in turn, it is altered as well. This complex relationship between evolving nations and popular…show more content…
Ballroom, a vital component of social dancing, was always seen as a luxury that only the rich could indulge in, as it carried a sense of superiority and elegance with its distanced partner dancing. However, at the beginning of the 20th century, "The country was re-orienting itself to major cultural and technological developments in the wake of industrialization. These developments, in turn, led to a wide-ranging re-evaluation of social values and mores..." (Malnig 129). A snowball effect was initiated as new developments changed social values and customs, which then made social dancing less formal and more inclusive, thus creating what is now known as modern ballroom dancing. As shown, "In terms of both actual movements and rhythms of the dances, as well as the context and manner in which they were performed, early twentieth-century social dances represented a radical departure from previous eras of social dancing" (Malnig 129). This revised form of dancing reinforced ideas about social mobility and women, thus moving society further away the negative stereotypes of the past. In regard to uplift, the idea of practicing an “upper class” leisure was empowering for those were not as privileged because it instilled a sense of hope and possibility in them. As a result, in a nation with a bolstering middle class, this dance and its perceived benefits quickly grew popular among the common people. For women, ballroom dancing enabled them to express the freedoms they gained from the Progressive Era icon of the “New Woman”. From less restrictive fashion to solo dances, events like the tango teas allowed them to be more independent. By rejecting the strict class, economic, and gender division encouraged in previous iterations of social dancing, modern ballroom, along with the Progressive movement,

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