Dance and Fashion

Article by Holiday Dance Studio, Tanith Hudson

Photography by Holiday Dance Studio, Tanith Hudson

Originally published in Albuquerque City Lifestyle

Dance has an impact on style and style has an impact on dance. This interconnection between dance and dance fashion is intricate and dynamic as dance fashions are influenced by historical events, social norms, and cultural standards. As social attitudes change, dance fashion evolves along with the cultural trends.

Waltz, Foxtrot, and Swing Dance Fashion

Traditionally, ball gowns were intended to be elegant and showy as they were meant to highlight the female dancer on the dance floor. Men’s fashion, on the other hand, was intended to be simple and sleek so as to allow the lady to be highlighted while dancing. However, female dance fashions during the early 1900s began transitioning into less restrictive fashions. As traditional corsets became outdated, women started wearing clothing that was more unstructured in silhouette and hemlines became higher.  

This changeover led to the flapper dress fashion of Swing Dance and the Foxtrot in the 1920s. The lightweight dress and long fringes made it swing rhythmically according to the movements of the dance, which was part of the lifestyle of the Roaring Twenties.

In the 1930s, dance gowns became streamlined and sleek, with several variations on sleeve styles and necklines. Chiffon and other flowy materials were used to highlight elegant movements while dancing on the ballroom dance floor.

The 1950s ballroom dance style highlighted the silhouette of the hourglass figure, however, the tea length hemline became popular during this time while keeping the full skirt intact. This ballroom dance style transitioned into the shorter knee-length skirts that were adopted by the swing dancers and country western dancers.

Today, Foxtrot and Waltz dresses are often made in elegant one-piece dresses using lightweight silks or satins. The ankle-length full style intensifies the soft movements on the dance floor. Vintage Swing fashion is elegant and consists of a shorter hemline with a fuller fluid skirt often paired with a short, lacey petticoat to highlight the swing and spin movements.  

Tango Fashion

Tango fashion became the craze in the early 1900s as the Tango dance spread in popularity. Initially, the proper Tango dress entailed a corset with a satin skirt that skimmed the mid-calf. Soon, female dancers wore slimmed-down versions of the corset to give them freedom of movement while dancing. Today, Tango dresses are tighter fitting and sensual with a flowy slitted skirt to reveal the leg.

Social Latin Dance Dresses

Traditionally, the Latin style dresses are bright with contrasting ruffles on sleeves and full flouncy skirts. Now, Latin dresses can range from having ruffle skirts, puffy sleeves with off the shoulder necklines to asymmetrical hemlines, fringes, crimped halters, and one-shoulder sleeve tops while accentuating the dancer. Bright colors such as reds, oranges, pinks, yellows, and blues imbue the spark and passion of the Latin dances.

Country Western Fashion

Country Western Two-Step got its roots from the more formal Foxtrot. As country music became more popular in the 1950s, the style became more relaxed and associated with the blue collar and rodeo style of attire. Women wore simple dresses that were popular with homemakers at the time, while men wore practical blue jeans and their cowboy hats. Today, Country Western fashion continues to be casual, i.e. women can wear their cowboy boots with jeans or dresses and men can wear jeans, comfortable shirts, cowboy boots and a ball cap or cowboy hat.

At Holiday Dance Studio, you have the chance to explore all these fashions and time periods while learning to dance! This is the perfect opportunity to pull out your dressy outfits from the 1970s and 1980s. Dress classy at the Film Noir Roaring 20’s dance or don your mask at our Venetian Masquerade Ball. Find your boater’s hat or fedora for one of our Vintage Tea Dances or put on your most dastardly villain costume for our Haunted Ball. Whether it be a time specific dance routine or at one of our many themed events, you will learn a lifelong skill in dance while creating amazing memories.

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