Ballroom Dancing

Anne Koehlinger began her dance training at an early age while studying at the prestigious Arthur Murray Dance School. This dance studio taught her highly advanced techniques that have shaped her into the exceptional ballroom dancer she is today. Before taking lessons, Anne Koehlinger found it necessary to understand the history of ballroom dancing in order to determine the variety of dances offered at the school.

The History of Ballroom Dancing

This social dance was first seen in England at the start of the 19th century when upper class and elite classes performed at elegant balls and parties. A wide variety of social dances have emerged, evolving into the styles of ballroom dancing we know today. These include the tango, foxtrot, quickstep, and the most common of them all, the waltz.

The Tango

The Tango was the third dance developed from the Viennese Waltz (learn more) in Europe around the 1830’s. When the tango was introduced, it was the first time couples had the liberty to improvise movement patterns. Typically both couples dance facing each other, with the man holding the woman’s right hand in his left with his right arm around her.


Developed in the 1910’s, the foxtrot follows a series of long, continuous flowing movements that create a smooth progressive dance pattern. Foxtrot is the kind of dance that appears elegant and highly sophisticated, and is usually danced to large orchestras or singing groups.


This fast-paced dance, as it implies, combines many techniques from the foxtrot. Although its origins lie in England, the quickstep was reinvented in the 1920’s by Caribbean and African dancers for formal and non-formal events. The three main characteristics that separate the quickstep from the foxtrot are chassés, quarter turns, and the lockstep.


This dance, which surfaced in the early 19th century, is romantic and syncopated in ¾ time with an emphasis on the first beat. Many different styles of the waltz such as the “Hesitation Waltz,” “The Country Western Waltz,” and the “Viennese Waltz” were developed from exaggerated hand and arm gestures, as well as changes in tempo.

Anne Koehlinger now has a clear understanding of the history of ballroom dancing and with this knowledge has successfully competed in the following dance competitions:

  • Chicago Medal Ball (April 2012)

  • Chicago Showcase Ball – Egyptian Nights (February 2012)

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