From high society weddings to fashion magazines, formal ball gowns and skirts have returned to haute couture and Hollywood. Not surprisingly, these fashions have also returned to mainstream American wardrobes.
"The nature of our organization gives us a remarkable, in-depth close up look at America," said John Kimmins, Vice President & Director of Dance at Arthur Murray International. "We know on a personal level where Americans are regarding dance, dress, and social recreation. And we have watched the return of ballgowns in the dance studios and in many of the affairs that our students attend."
Dance studios aren't the only place where the ballroom style has returned. Starting with last spring's Oscars, Hollywood has returned to high style, where the ballgown, with full skirts and elaborate bodices, is in all its glory. Versace, Christian Dior and the ever-ebullient Christian Lacroix are continuing to bring elaborate haute couture back to Hollywood in a way not seen for decades.
Recently fashion magazines and gossip columns detailed a high society international wedding where everyone who was anyone showed up in designer ball skirts and gowns. The "simple black cocktail dress" is very much "in" for an evening out.
But where does one wear these elaborate confections if you have not been invited to present an award on national television, as might be expected in such major cities like New York, LA, Chicago or your hometown? Students at Arthur Murray Dance Studios throughout the country are arriving for their weekly practice sessions in floor-length ballgowns. Dressing up is part of the fun of taking lessons, feeling as if you have taken a mini-vacation from the everyday world into a fun, vibrant party every week.
A Dance Vacation can be enjoyed without ever leaving town. Imagine yourself dressed up ready to go out dancing on a cruise ship's deck, with other party goers....or put yourself in an outfit that works in a French Disco, or an Italian Ballroom overlooking the Mediterranean. Many studios offer special theme events and practice parties where students "dress-up" and dance, get to know other dancers also learning the steps and practicing the moves. Fashions and dress range from the formal which also help students get comfortable with the styles, to Country and casual. Taking an Arthur Murray Dance Vacation can be a chill-out, cool-off evening fantasy, without leaving town.
Practicality is another aspect behind the trend. "After all," said one student, "If I'm going to dance ballroom in a ballgown, I had better get my steps in place when my hemline is long!"
In recent months, many studios have seen a dramatic upswing in the number of couples and singles taking lessons that focus on the standard, classic ballroom dances. One major driving force behind the shift to standards has been changes in fashion. After all, if you can't make the moves, the glamorous apparel and fashions are not half as gorgeous.
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