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A ballroom dance is a dance social and collective, not to be confused with the show dance because it is practiced by non-professional dancers and dances are improvised most of the time.
A ball, on the other hand, is a meeting or Assembly where people dance. This term also means the establishment where you will dance. Once the balls were private. In France, they became public in 1715. The first took place at the Paris Opéra during the Carnival period. Since then, they multiply in the concert halls, theatres, nightclubs and even outdoor.
Balls can be thematic or generalist, free, pay, or on invitation. The masquerade is definitely the thematic ball the most famous, where people dance disguised.
Society balls are more formal and are designed either to help a charity association, either to meet or to preserve a tradition. The Parisian haute bourgeoisie has his own ball: debutantes ball. But there is reason to cite also the dances of the grandes écoles or even the Vienna Ball (a sort of reproduction of the Imperial balls to the rhythm of Strauss waltzes, where people wear costumes).
Before any other thing, ballroom dance is a recreational activity, leisure and entertainment, regardless if the dancers are amateurs or professionals.
Finally, amongst the best known, include two expressions where the word ball is used figuratively: "give the ball to someone" is an ironic expression that means abuse the person; familiar expression 'put the ball by train' is said often when a delicate question and disturbs others is raised.