Strictly Ballroom started my obsession. Dancing with the Stars fed my addiction weekly. Ballroom dance, in recent years, has gone from the dance floor to the mainstream, fueled in no small part by the popularization of what Kirsty Ally calls ‘the Dancing with the Stars diet’. Many people have turned to ballroom dance as a way to get fit, lose weight and condition themselves for other sports: athletes of all sorts have long used ballet and other dance lessons as a way to improve coordination and agility.
Amor Mozol Rosima, the ballroom dance teacher at IAID, has been dancing her whole life. ‘I started dancing since I was young! I really loved to dance. And that is also my course in college. It’s a bachelor in secondary education, major in physical education. With a specialization in dancing,’ she says. She’s taught for over 13 years, first in the Philippines and now in Qatar. Her students range from seven years old to adults and come from all over the world, with kids lessons offered on Saturdays and adults taking over the floor on Sundays.
‘There are two kinds of ballroom dance—there’s Latin dance and standard dance,’ she says. ‘In Latin there’s, you know, the salsa, the samba, the jive, paso doble. And in standard dances are the tango, the slow waltz, the Viennese waltz, foxtrot and the quick step.’
This can be further broken down into the competitive, and the social. With competitive dance, just as with other kinds of dance like ballet, there are rules and strict techniques that must be followed. Social dancing, however, takes ballroom back to its roots—the social party scene.
‘There’s no technique, it’s for fun!’ says Rosima.
Group dancing has been around for hundreds of years, but really got its form as we know it today at the turn of the last century. We can blame the waltz for taking it from a choreographed group scene (visions of High School Musical in Renaissance doublets dance in our heads) to a partner dance where couples moved independently of each other. When it first emerged at the start of the 1800’s, the waltz was seen as scandalous: people held each other close in a closed hold and moved together shockingly across the floor. By the 1930s however people had other things to contend with: jazz brought jive, swing and more to the mainstream, thanks to stars like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire gliding across the screen. Soon, Latin styles from South America like the samba, cha cha cha and salsa became popular as well, giving people something even more salacious than the waltz to try—legend has it tango originated in areas of ill repute in Argentina.
Her favourite amongst her syllabus is the cha cha cha. ‘It’s very fun, and the body movement is very good,’ she says. In fact, the workout craze Zumba is inspired by many of the Latin dances she teaches. ‘You burn at least 400 calories in one hour!’
Her students must come as couples, and she says that only adds to the lively atmosphere. And although she says if you have a dance background it’s easier to pick up, anyone can learn. But, if you’re a man, prepare to be left stranded on the dance floor: she says women generally pick up the steps faster than their partners.
‘It’s really my passion,’ she says. ‘I love dancing.’
IAID offers lessons for kids and adults for QR400-QR500 per month. Check out www.iaidonline.com.