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Exhibition Dancing

See also: Categories: Dances, History, Ballroom, DanceSport, Dance Style


Exhibition Dancing is one of the three divisions of Ballroom Dance, along with Social Dancing and competitive dancing (DanceSport). Exhibition dancing is choreographed Ballroom Dancing, where movements and lines of a theatrical nature are used to enhance the atmosphere of a dance that is performed before an audience.


Performative social dance forms were occasionally staged in cabarets and Vaudeville at the end of the 19th century, but the performance of social dances for an audience mostly took off in the 20th century. Vernon and Irene Castle (pictured right) were foremost among professional dancers who started to perform social dances onstage, from 1912 to 1915. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers surpassed the Castle's fame and influence two decades later, through the medium of film. The tradition of performed ballroom dance continues today in many films, such as "Take the Lead" and Broadway shows like "Burn the Floor."

Exhibition ballroom dance remained popular in Britain and continental Europe throughout the 20th century, particularly in semi-invitational settings, such as resorts and hotels. Especially after the 1960s, ballroom dance gained a strong following in Asia. Popular interest and scholarly research, moreover, brought new appreciation to both ballroom and social dance as valuable reflections and embodiments of a community’s social values. Meanwhile, the regulations governing competitive ballroom dance became more exact as dance teachers switched their focus from inventing new dances to codifying existing ones. Those “official” versions of fox-trots, waltzes, and tangos—all with specified steps, postures, and head positions—have been maintained in European televised competitions and to some degree in Olympic figure skating (specifically in ice dancing).

Style of Exhibition Dance


Adagio, is mainly concerned with lifting-progressing from small waist high flips and spins up to full one arm balances, throws and heart stopping catches. The male partner obviously has to possess great strength and technique in order to effortlessly propel his partner up into the air (Well thats how it should appear) Equally the female counterpart, should be strong, flexible, elegant and fearless, thus enabling her to be lifted with ease and poise without indication of the inner stresses and strains. It would certainly make for an interesting piece should the realities be allowed to show!!!!! The lifts, spins and tricks are then interspersed with dance moves and styles of your choice, to give the work its own particular flavour, depending on the context of the show or event that you are involved in.The most traditional Adagio piece is the 'Apache' - where the French sailor throws around his Prostitute (Nice work if you can get it!!)

Myself and my partner, both trained as classical ballet dancers, but transferred to Adagio as age and the shrinking job market required us to aquire new skills if we were to continue being creative. We still take regular ballet classes for flexibility, dexterity and quality of movement but supplement this with gym and circus training for strength and acrobatics. Currently, we are working in the Corporate and Cruise industries, but would be very interested in teaching and demonstrating all that we have learned through our careers in Adagio.

Exhibition dancing (called also Adagio/Cabaret) - combines the strength and agility of gymnastics with the aesthetic and fluidity of classical dance. Also known in the Ballroom world as 'Cabaret', with one of the most famous exponents in this discipline being the 'Savoys', who were World Champions.


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