このページは、レオナード・スクリブナーが編集者となって、１９５７年に英国で出版された、THE COMPLETE BALLROOM DANCERという本に、ヴィクター・シルベスターが寄稿した緒言全文とその翻訳をしたものです。
FOUR STYLES OF DANCING AND WHY
by Victor Silvester
Chairman, Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing Incorporated;
Winner of World Ballroom Championship:
Leader of the Victor Silvester Orchestra
People of all ages and of widely varying preferences comprise the millions who enjoy dancing.
It is not surprising, therefore, that a number of different styles is needed in order to meet their needs.
This book provides a useful introduction to four styles of dancing, all of which are popular at the present time.
Before the first World War broke out, in 1914, ballroom dancing mainly consisted of what is now called Old Time dancing.
Dance programmes were made up of set dances, such as the Lancers, Quadrille, and others, together with sequence dances in which all the dancers were engaged in doing the same steps at the same time.
In those days dancing in the ballroom was based on an adaptation of ballet steps; the five positions of the feet, as used in ballet, provided the basis.
When the Modern Style of dancing swept Britain soon after the first World War, the ballroom scene was one of almost bewildering confusion. There was chaos in the ballrooms.
An astonishing variety of steps, some of them hopelessly unsuitable for ballroom use, could be seen at any public dance.
The emphasis was on improvisation, as distinct from the set routines of the sequence dances which had hitherto held undisputed sway. "Anything goes" seemed to be the prevailing idea of the dancers.
Not only was there confusion in the ballrooms.
It was much the same in the academies where dancing was taught.
It was possible to take lessons from half a dozen teachers, and be taught six totally different versions of the same dance, and even of the same figure.
Teachers of dancing who for years had been applying a modified form of ballet technique were naturally not eager to accept a complete change.
But standardisation was obviously of great importance if the new style was to stand a chance of survival.
This difficult task was undertaken by a committee of five well-known teachers in 1924.
They were entrusted with it by the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing in connection with the formation of a Ballroom Branch by that society.
It was necessary to undertake a thorough detailed examination of every step and figure being danced; to reject the unsuitable and accept the desirable, then to provide a new technique so that teachers of dancing everywhere would teach the same figures in the same agreed standardised manner.
This long and arduous task was eventually completed.
Such terms as Contrary body movement, which appear in this book,were brought into being by the committee mentioned, which consisted of Miss Josephine Bradley, Miss Cynthia Humphreys (later Lady Peacock), Miss Muriel Simmons, Miss Eve Tynegate-Smith and myself.
The style of dancing which emerged from our labours, and which was presented to the dancing profession for acceptance, was revolutionary.
In place of the old foot positions, in which the feet were turned out, parallel position was adopted, in which the feet pointed straight forward all the time.
Body sway, rise and fall, which previously had been used by good dancers in action but had not been formed into a recognised technique, were set down on paper.
A style of dancing based on natural movement emerged.
The Modern Style of Ballroom Dancing, thus standardised, has since been developed in various ways; but it still remains the basis of what has become known as the "English Style" -- a style of dancing which is recognised the world over as being the best for ballroom use, and which is the style used for all international championships in modern-style dancing.
Later, dances of Latin-American origin, such as the Samba and Rumba, grew in popularity.
This style of dancing was soon recognised to be a valuable and welcome means of imparting a pleasing variety to ballroom programmes.
Latin-American dances find a place, together with the "Standard Four" -Waltz, Quickstep, Slow Foxtrot and Tango- in most dance programmes.
Scottish Dancing has its roots in the past, and in many respects resembles, as in its foot positions, the traditional style of ballroom dancing.
Some Scottish dances, e.g. Dashing White Sergeant, often find a place in Old Time programmes.
The Scottish dances, when executed by large numbers of dancers, are very spectacular.
The terrific zest and enthusiasm of keen exponents of this style have to be seen to be believed!
The appeal of Scottish Dancing is by no means limited to Scotland, or to Scots residing outside of Scotland.
It has won many new adherents in recent years.
Scottish Dancing clubs have gained ground in various parts of Britain, and the infectious gaiety of the dancers, and the friendly, social atmosphere of these clubs, have caused more and more people to be attracted to this style of dancing.
As for old Time Dancing, the remarkable revival which occurred in the l940s has proved lasting.
The Old Time clubs number thousands.
This form of dancing embraces two styles -- the traditional style, based on the five foot-positions mentioned earlier, and also what I have called the Twentieth-century sequence style, which is broadly based on the earlier versions of the Foxtrot, One-Step and Tango, and in which parallel position is used.
These, then, are the four kinds of dancing included in this book -- four styles which offer a wide enough choice to meet every taste and inclination, irrespective of aqe group.
Each of these styles is dealt with by a highly-qualified expert.
Since standardisation of the Modern Style was effected, and generally accepted by the dancing profession and the mass of dancers, in 1927, it has forged ahead in many lands.
The growth of other forms of ballroom dancing has not prejudicially affected its progress.
This is remarkable in view of the large numbers of adherents which the different styles have attracted.
It must be remembered that dance halls as we know them today are a comparatively modern innovation.
Dancing, in the old days, was largely a recreation enjoyed in the spacious drawingrooms of the nobility. Gradually town halls and public rooms became available for dancing.
In 1919 the first big palais-de-danse was opened - Hammersmith Palais. Streatham Locarno opened in 1929. Now large dance halls exist in all the large towns, and more and more ballrooms appear each year.
The growth of suitable places in which people can dance has contributed much to the rapid increase of popularity of dancing as a recreation for millions of people.
All the teachers' societies have medal test schemes, which enable dancers of various grades to prove their ability in dancing tests, and to secure medals -- bronze, silver, gold, and higher awards -- for proficiency in the various stages.
An enormous number of people, from young children to many over-sixties, pass their medal tests every year.
For the very keen there are competitions in the various styles of ballroom dancing.
Another outlet for keen dancers possessed of team spirit is Formation Dancing.
In my presentations of T.V. Dancing Club I have found that Formation Dancing exercises an immense appeal to the viewing public, and displays of this attractive form of team-dancing, in television, have inspired many to take up dancing seriously, as my post-bag has revealed.
For the keen dancer - the one who is prepared to treat his or her dancing as seriously as a cricketer, footballer or tennis enthusiast does his favourite sport - there are ample opportunities.
As for the many who take up dancing solely as a social asset or means of pleasurable activity to be enjoyed occasionally, but with no desire to master the finer arts, a word of warning is necessary.
In order to derive the utmost pleasure from dancing, and to be capable of imparting pleasure to one's partners, it is necessary to master the basic figures of the main dances.
To be content merely to " get round " the ballroom somehow is not good enough.
In days when dancing is so universally popular as a pastime, reasonable ability in it is a social essential.
The aid of a qualified teacher, whether in private lessons or in one of the very popular "beginners' classes" which are held in every town, will enable the reader of this book to get ahead quickly and well.
Side by side with the reading of such a book as this must be practice -- for nobody can learn to dance while sitting down!
Those who learn from the book and devote reasonable time to practice will acquire, pleasurably and with moderate outlay of time and money, a means of healthful recreation which will last a lifetime.