Cultural Connections – January 2017

Ballroom dance started in Germany, and it is a term that refers to dances performed with partners. For centuries, it was a way
for the wealthy and elite to socialize and have fun at gatherings called balls. e dances aren’t choreographed, instead, the two partners have to know the rules of the dance and communicate with each other while they dance together. Even though the tradition of ballroom dance is old, it is still a popular way to have fun. Dances are also useful for socializing and building relationships that can be helpful in everyday life, this is called networking. is is true today, but it was even more important hundreds of years ago. Balls and dancing were so important because the relationships between men and women were very controlled and strict. Dances let men and women interact and share a fun activity together. Now balls are a lot less common, but one very important kind of ball we still have is the Inaugural Ball. These are celebratory dances that happen every four years — a er a president is sworn into once. People dress in their nest clothes and gather to celebrate with the new president.
• Even George Washington celebrated by dancing a er he was inaugurated as president.
• It was not an official Inauguration Ball, but it helped to form the tradition.
• George Washington danced the Minuet.
• John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had smaller and more casual celebrations after they became president.
• The first official inaugural ball was held for the fourth president, James Madison, and his wife Dolley Madison.
• Tickets to go to the first inaugural ball cost $4.
• Now prices have gone up to $12,500.
• Martin Van Buren had two inaugural balls.
• The tradition of celebrating after Inaugurations has continued to grow over the years. There are often many balls held across the nation.
• Some even have special pavilions built for the event.
• The record for most Inaugural balls attended is held by Bill Clinton. The record is 15.
• Woodrow Wilson and Warren Harding canceled their balls to save money.
• Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt held charity balls.

For more information visit the following sites:
History of Ballroom Dancing
Ballroom Dance
George Washington Attends Inaugural Ball

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