I recently read an article, 3 Charts that Explain How our Latin Dance Community is Changing, in which one chart from Google Trends show that Salsa (Dance) search volumes has been decreasing over time.

Photo published for Google Trends

This got me wondering how other dances have fared over time. Since Friday Night Waltz was my go-to Dance Spot before I started exploring other places, I searched for Waltz. Turns out that was harder than I thought because, unlike Salsa, there wasn’t a Waltz (Dance) term. So I tried: Waltz (International Standard), Waltz dance (Search term), and Viennese Waltz (Musical genre).

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Although there may be a slight decline over time, it is not as obvious as the Salsa results. What really interested me is the geographical difference between those search terms.

Photo published for Google Trends

Viennese Waltz was unsurprising popular in Austria since it’s named after its capital of Vienna. My friend from Austria tells me of the grandios ball season in January and February, when there’s hundreds of Balls all over Vienna. Stanford even has its own Viennese Ball since 1978.

Perhaps I should have paid more attention in History of Waltz class, but I don’t know why Viennese Waltz is popular in Russia. Its popularity may explain why Richard Powers teaches in workshops in Russia so frequently.

What surprised me was how Waltz (International Standard) was confined in 5 regions, whereas Waltz dance (Search term) is mostly confined to English-speaking countries:

 

This could mean multiple things, but my two main hypotheses are as follows. First, different languages may have different words for Waltz and Google Trends doesn’t realize they are the same thing. Second, different styles of Waltz may have become popular in different part of the world because it has been around for centuries, so the dance has evolved independently in each region.1 Whereas Salsa originated in the 1970s, so it hasn’t had as much time to evolve and so a single term works throughout the world.2

In the end, popularity of Waltz still end up as a fraction of Salsa.

Photo published for Google Trends

This goes to show that dance styles come and go. But luckily, interest in Dance remains high:

Photo published for Google Trends

Sources

  1. Waltz on Wikipedia
  2. Salsa (dance) on Wikipedia
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