Ballroom dance refers to a set of partner dances, which are enjoyed both socially and competitively around the world. Because of its performance and entertainment aspects, ballroom dance is also widely enjoyed on stage, film, and television.
Ballroom dance may refer, at its widest, to almost any type of social dancing as recreation. However, with the emergence of dancesport in modern times, the term has become narrower in scope. It usually refers to the International Standard and International Latin style dances (see dance categories below). These styles were developed in England, and are now regulated by the World Dance Council (WDC). In the United States, two additional variations are popular: American Smooth and American Rhythm.
There are also a number of historical dances, and local or national dances, which may be danced in ballrooms or salons. Sequence dancing, in pairs or other formations, is still a popular style of ballroom dance.
The term 'ballroom dancing' is derived from the word ball, which in turn originates from the Latin word ballare which means 'to dance' (a ballroom being a large room specially designed for such dances). In times past, ballroom dancing was social dancing for the privileged, leaving folk dancing for the lower classes. These boundaries have since become blurred, and it should be noted even in times long gone, many ballroom dances were really elevated folk dances. The definition of ballroom dance also depends on the era: balls have featured popular dances of the day such as the Minuet, Quadrille, Polonaise, Polka, Mazurka, and others, which are now considered to be historical dances.