After my wife and I started taking ballroom dance lessons, we would scour the newspapers, etc. for places to dance. To our surprise, there were quite a few places advertising "Tea Dances", Ballroom Dances", "Big Band Dances", live music, etc. (California Bay Area). We were excited that we had so many choices.
We soon discovered that they weren't at all what we expected. There are many definitions of a Ballroom Dance. It seems that any partnership dance is called a ballroom dance. We discovered that most of the dances were on small floors and played only Foxtrots and Swings. When there was live music, the bands were actually Jazz bands. The tempos varied within the same song and the songs were 5 to 8 minutes long, which means they only played about 8 songs an hour. Just about all of the bands didn't know songs by the dance type. They only knew the names of the songs. If you requested a Cha Cha, they couldn't play one unless you could give them a song title and they happened to know that song.
After you have some ballroom training and experience, you develop your own definition of a Ballroom Dance. You look for a large floor and recorded music. With recorded music you will usually get "strict tempo" ballroom dance music and a choice of all the different ballroom dances. When all of the ballroom dances are played, that probably means there will be a "line of dance" for the smooth dances. Since the songs are normally 3 to 3 1/2 minutes long with about 10 to 15 seconds between songs, you can have 40 to 45 songs played in 2 1/2 hour dance. Most trained ballroom dancers want to dance all of the time. They don't want to just sit and listen to the music.
There isn't anything more aggravating then to know how to dance and there isn't room or a line of dance to be able to dance and all that is played are Foxtrots and Swings. We haven't found any live bands or orchestras (in California or Arizona) that can play the variety of music and strict tempo required for ballroom dancing. We have found that the best places to find our definition of ballroom dances is to go to places that teach ballroom and have public dances. Usually dances at restaurants and organizations (Elks, Lions, VFW, etc.), Big Band dances etc., will not meet a trained dancer's requirements of a ballroom dance.
Unfortunately (because there is only one), the only place (that I am aware), to do real ballroom dancing north of Phoenix in Arizona is the Friday night dance at the Adult Center of Prescott hosted by the Mile High Ballroom Dance Club. There is a 2500 square foot wood floor, strict tempo music (over 900 songs to choose from, played by the best ballroom dance orchestras in the world), a line of dance and the best and friendliest people you can find anywhere. So if you are looking for a place to Ballroom Dance, come see us at the Adult Center on Friday nights.