Origin of Standard

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by opendoor, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Why are english (international) modern ballroom dances are called standard?

    I don´t mean the characteristics of standard dances nor the etymology (standard comes from standardization).

    so simply why standard, not english, modern, new, smooth, fine, reputable.
    DesireeDC likes this.
  2. ajiboyet

    ajiboyet Well-Known Member

    Interesting options there, LOL.

    I believe Modern is used in more than a few places. English is used in even fewer, but still...
  3. TwoRightFeet

    TwoRightFeet Active Member

    According to http://www.dancesport.uk.com/training/faq.htm#3

    What's the difference between Ballroom Dance, Modern, Standard, International and Dancesport?


    Ballroom is the most general and the oldest term that has been used sometimes to describe Waltz, Tango, Slow Foxtrot, Quickstep and Viennese Waltz and sometimes it was also used for Latin American dances, namely Cha cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble and Jive. Sometimes it was also used to refer to Old Time and Sequence dances. So the term "Modern Ballroom" (in short "Modern") was introduced in Britain later to indicate clearly that the speaker was not referring to Old Time, Sequence or Latin-American dances. But in Europe the term "Modern" was already frequently used to describe a totally different type of dancing (eg. jazz or other form of solo dancing), so the Europeans called it "Standard" instead. But "Standard" had an unclear meaning in America, where there is an American version of it (called American Smooth). Therefore Americans introduced the term "International Standard" to make the difference clear.

    Dancesport describes the competitive side of dancing Standard and Latin-American styles, where couples dancing is judges by judges and purpose of it is to achieve the highest possible placing. Dancesport is made of 3 branches: Standard, Latin-American and 10-dance. 10-dance is a combination of Standard and Latin, to take part in 10-dance competition you have to dance 5 Standard and 5 Latin dances.

    On the other side of the scale we have Social dancing, where you dance for you own pleasure and to meet people. Here the divisions between style are not that important, so we still quite often say that we "Go Ballroom dancing".
    debmc, Dean, vit and 1 other person like this.
  4. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Thanks for sharing. That really is a great explanation :)
  5. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Um, American Smooth is not a form of Standard (though that may just be poor sentence construction on their part with "form of" meant to refer to dance in general.) And I think it's probably the case the term "Standard" predates the existence of the term "Smooth." So I don't think that's a reason it was adopted in the US. The reason they use the term instead of "Modern" I can believe as when I hear "Modern" I do think lyrical, contemporary, jazz, etc.
  6. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Actually, in the UK , we at one time, had 2 distinct disciplines..One called Ballroom , which did include Latin,and the other was " Old Time ". It then became the " English " style in the 70s, and eventually " Standard ".And, to my mind " modern " simply means " up-dated " in addition to the fact that ,it implies the "standard " is uniform world wide.

    Nomenclature is realy all about distinction and separation of styles, and, the American style Smooth was developed partly, from a style named " Slicker " that was ( still is? ) danced in California in the 30s .
    The Latin and Rhythm, are the 2 that are in conflict , to my mind.
    Both have dances in syl. that are latin in origin, and those that are not.
    So.. in either case, both may be ( and often are ) mis-leading to the outsider. .
  7. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    There is a little anecdote around. In 1925 the Royal Society of Dance Teachers was renamed as Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (ISTD). The abbreviation was widely misinterpreted as "International Standard", especially by rivaling french dance organizations of that time. Maybe a coincidence, or yet by chance a planned forward attack to make a bid for the leadership?
  8. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member


    Hard to know, but, would not surprise me .And, your date is way off for the ISTD.. it was formed in 1904 as the Imperial Soc.
  9. vit

    vit Active Member

    It was renamed 1925 as he said (at least that info is on wikipedia)
  10. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    well,sorry but its wrong.. the date i gave, is confirmed by the past president, from one of his tomes....and.. wiki???:rolleyes:
  11. vit

    vit Active Member

    I misread his post - article in wikipedia actually seems to say the same as you - so it was formed 1904 as Imperial society of dance teachers (not Royal society) but renamed 1925 to Imperial society of teachers of dancing (so first two words didn't change). Sorry for the false alarm
  12. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    No problem....
  13. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Thanks for correction. But this makes it even more mysterious: why did they (if not for the wanted abbreviation) change their name into a less fluently pronounceable form.
  14. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    " They " do lotsa stuff we never can comprehend !:rolleyes:
    ajiboyet and vit like this.
  15. Mengu

    Mengu Active Member

    This is just a random guess... The term "Dance Teachers" sounds like it would typically be used for those who teach how to dance. Teachers of Dancing may at the time have indicated more of an education in dance, which would include history of dance, philosophy of dance, and so on. I imagine they saw this as a more distinguished title, and made the change. If it was being named today, who knows, it might be named "WorldProfessionalDanceMentors.com".
  16. ajiboyet

    ajiboyet Well-Known Member

    Very subtle difference, but very valid indeed.

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