What Happened to Partner Dancing

by Tango

Some time ago I was teaching Beginner Argentine Tango Classes to a group of Ballroom dancers at one of Atlanta dance studios. Tango dancers know it is always a challenge to present fundamentals of an improvisational dance to anyone who is used to learning set patterns and steps. It is much easier to teach a Tango dancer to dance Ballroom or Latin than otherwise.

But this is not what I want to say here today, even though it could be a good topic for another post. One of the students who seemed to have enjoyed learning the differences between approaches to Tango and Ballroom shared with me after the class his thoughts on dance in general. He said in relation to people having less interest in partner dances in the last few decades: movies are responsible for that.

It took me a bit by surprise, as I never thought of it this way. I certainly knew how hard it was to get anyone to a dance studio, having started at Fred Astaire myself in 1993. Yet I never analyzed why it was that way. His comment made me think, and I came to a realization he was absolutely correct. He said that the first “blow” to his generation was delivered by a very popular movie Saturday Night Fever. Travolta sure rocks (and rolls as well), but he does it…by himself.

There are many more great movies that featured “solo” dancing, when there is no leading or following. We see mostly “cool” and sometimes acrobatic moves which would be impossible to do with a partner in a dance hold or embrace. Yes, I like to watch them too. However I would much rather see more movies that present a partner dancing skills. Have you heard of Shall We Dance (the original and a remake) or Strictly Ballroom? And if the difference is unclear, then join our Tango Classes in Atlanta, and you’ll know what I am talking about. I still take new students into our March Beginner Course (until 3/14/11).

Take a look at snapshots below. Can you tell which movies the images below are taken from? Use comments for answers.

dancing in the movies image 1

dancing in the movies image 2

dancing in the movies image 3

dancing in the movies image 4

dancing in the movies image 5

dancing in the movies image 6

dancing in the movies image 7

Here is link to an energetic video clip with a compilation of the best scenes from the movies that (almost) “killed” partner dance:
Dancing in the movies

Enjoy it, but beware of unintended consequences :) Do not forget to leave a comment.


{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: