Some dance instructors who work with young people tell us that the term “social dance” is used with a meaning that is not entirely accurate or precise. The fact is that many dance teachers and instructors, when asked if they consider themselves social dancers or simply “dancers,” do call themselves “social”. For example, one young professional dance teacher I spoke with said she considers herself “social” at the professional level.
If you go by that definition, social dancing would mean dancing with others with whom you want to dance and at a level that is a social equivalent to a professional performance. Many people have this definition because they consider it to be true, because the term “social” tends to be applied to dance by the most experienced dancers who have developed an understanding of what that term means. There is a real difference between being “social” and “dancing.” In “social dancing,” people move with a sense of community, but they are not forced to interact with other people in a manner that seems to imply that dance is a choreography and that dance is an activity. Rather, social dancing is often a social dance that is an extension of dance where the participants are aware that the other person is dancing with them.
As we have already discussed, there is a difference between an “active” or “mature” social dance and a dance that is more like a show or performance. Active and mature social dancing does not mean that the dancers do not have control of their bodies in an authentic way. They’re still dancing in the real meaning of the word. This kind of dance requires the dancing of multiple people who share the intention to move together in a collective way, but does not suggest that the dancing is an activity. The idea is not a social dance where one person can control every movement on every dance turn so the only dance turns a person can perform are those which are “mature” and which the other dancers are participating in.
Another term that is often confused with social dancing is “social ballroom.” Ballroom dancing is another term which is often used when referring to social dance that is like a real ballroom dance at an event. Most “social dance” I’ve seen in terms of how it is being described, was described as a ballroom dance. A ballroom is not the same thing as a social dance. Ballroom dancing is a performance that uses a number of moving parts on a stage that look like a dance, but they are not actually dancing. Instead, a ball
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