Did it come to life on the streets of London, or via the clubs and pubs that have served as the foundation for the modern dance world? And in what year did the term first begin to be applied as a term of ridicule?
There is some discussion about this question as regards to the social dances of the 1970s. It is not clear from contemporary work whether the term social dance originated in London or not. It can however be argued that a number of the dancers present at the London Clubs, and indeed in the UK at large, from the early 1980s, appear to have been members of the London Dancers’ Committee (LDC), and therefore to have adopted the term in the first instance. Indeed, it is also possible to imagine that a number of dancers on the London scene in the mid 1970s, who were involved very directly in the LDC, were themselves members of the social dance scene. However, these dancers do not appear to have taken any part in the social dance scene which emerged in Scotland around the same time, or in the UK in general for that matter.
The term social dance is however also problematic for the first reference to the dance, because “social” appears to be the last part of the word that has a negative connotation, and therefore “dancing” (which was also the first mention of social dance) will be seen as redundant. This, together with the fact that the term is not at all used today in a derogatory sense, suggests that this term was used without any clear understanding of that social dance world in which the dancing took place.
Dancers and dance partners in the London dance scene of the early 1980s
A common and widely accepted image of the dance scene of the 1980s involves dancers wearing their costume as a cover, with dancing partners dressed as extras. However, it should be noted that these pictures are often distorted to represent dancers dressed in outfits which are in most cases not of their own making. The dance scenes that emerged within the clubbing scene in the UK over this time were often more complex and varied, and the dancers who took part were often not dancers dressed up as extras.
As such, if dancers dressed as extras in clubs and establishments in the 1980s are a common and reliable representation of the dance scene and it is to be assumed that dancing at social dance venues such as the London Clubs, and other venues with a similar style of dancing, were often occurring within the clubs and establishments, this would also also tend to
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