One of the most interesting social changes in recent years has been the "return to the ballroom" by students at colleges and universities throughout the United States. In 1974 the authors of this book helped organize the University of Connecticut's Ballroom Dance Club. During the five years the club has been in existence (including three very successful summer workshops), many of our students have pointed out the lack of real help in existing books on ballroom dancing and the need for one that would include a scholarly history of dancing and social attitudes toward it, a basic review of the musical forms associated with ballroom dancing, and detailed instruction in the techniques and skills common to all the dances. This book is the result of our students' observations and requests.
Although the book is intended primarily for beginners, one or two more advanced figures are included in each dance section. In addition, we believe the chapters on history and skills and the advice contained in the final chapter will be of interest to dancers at any level. As often as possible we have gone directly to the original sources for information: contemporary books, newspapers, periodicals, and autobiographies of individuals involved. A search was made of back issues of the New York Times and of older periodicals such asDance Magazine and Dancing Times. The New York Public Library Theatre and Dance Collections were particularly helpful. Photocopies of certain rare books were supplied by the Library of Congress.
The authors' thanks go to Robin Castellano and Christopher Moon, of the University of Connecticut Ballroom Dance Club, who served as models for the various dances, and to William Beer of Chaplin, Connecticut, who was responsible for the dance photography. John Hall, also of the Dance Club, assisted us in the preparation of the remaining illustrations. The Reference Department of the University of Connecticut Library assisted with interlibrary loans and photostats of certain periodical references.
Particular thanks go to Mary Stephenson who was responsible for the typing, editing, and layout of our entire manuscript. We would also like to thank editors Debra Groisser and Joseph Gonzalez of Doubleday for their encouragement and support throughout the preparation of this book.
Dick Stephenson and Joe laccarino