History of the Ballroom Dance Mirror Ball

The mirror ball has become a symbol for the dance world.  Not only for a club, party-like atmosphere, but for the professional setting of a competition dance floor.  Known in some circles as a disco ball, many think they have only been around from the disco era of the 70’s, but not the case.

The mirrored balls were first introduced more than 90 years ago in the 1920’s.  There are even some accounts that the balls were in existence even before then, as far back as 1897.  The balls were in place to add ambiance to the dance or party area.  There are literally hundreds of thousands of facets, or mirrored squares on the sphere, and when light illuminates them it caused beams of light to flash all around the room and the dancers below.

By the time the end of the 20th century came around, the “mirror” ball title had officially died and the name “disco” ball stuck.  It also appears that the majority of the disco balls made in the U.S. are made in one plant in Louisville, Kentucky.  The company, Omega National Products, claims to have made more than 90% of the disco balls circulating in the U.S.

The disco balls come in various sizes and many people use them as decorative pieces and not just for the dance floor.  You can find them hung from people’s rear view mirrors or on their Christmas tree.  Plenty of singers have used these disco balls on their concert tours.  One of the largest recorded one was used by Madonna on her “Confessions” World Tour in 2006.  That disco ball weighed more than two tons and had more than two-million-dollars ‘ worth of Swarovski crystals on it.  The disco ball took off in popularity with the debut of the British and American versions of “Dancing with the Stars.”  Not only are the balls a symbol of the competitive dance world, but they are the trophy for the overall winner of the competition.

So the next time you’re either in a party-like environment or at a dance competition, look up and amaze your friends with your knowledge of this dance symbol.  Maybe your new found knowledge will help you shine just as brightly in front of your friends as the light reflecting off the mirror ball.