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Modern Times: 1950s to The Present Day

Culture and Leisure


By Liz Hannah

In the early years of the fifties it appeared as if nothing would change in the dancing world. However there was a new influence looming large on the horizon – Latin American Dancing. This included dances such as the Samba and Cha Cha Cha. A new style of Cuban dance, and a new style of music which had been influenced by American jazz and swing, followed this. The ballrooms were still doing very good business. After all, Glasgow was definitely a city of dancers.

A major change in ballroom dancing came in the mid-fifties. Again from America, Glaswegians were introduced to Rock and Roll. Also around this time new rock bands became the focus of attention in the ballrooms with people wanting to listen rather than dance. The patrons would crowd round the bandstand and would bob up and down in response to the faster rhythm of this music. With this type of dance it was unnecessary to have a partner, therefore more people could be on the floor as less room was needed than for couples dancing together.

In the 1970s dancers were introduced to Disco dance, made popular by cinemas showing such films as Saturday Night Fever. Dance routines from these films became the latest craze.

Ballroom and Latin American dance is still popular today and continues to be enjoyed in Dance Schools with additions to the dance syllabus such as Mambo and Salsa.

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