Showing posts with label Dance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dance. Show all posts

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Health Benefits from DANCING

Young couple dancing cha-cha-cha at a junior L...
Young couple dancing the cha-cha-cha at a junior Latin dance competition
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Want to stay fit?? Love dancing?? 

Dancing is the most enjoyable and exciting form of exercise. It keeps our mood happy and gives us fun. Dancing has many health benefits. According to some research in the USA, dancing helps in keeping us healthy as we grow old. It strengthens our muscles and keeps us fit. 

The researchers recommend opting for dance classes. The dance lovers can opt for any kind of dance style depending on their interest and dedication. There is a wide range of dance forms today like- ballet, salsa, tap dance, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, street dance and the list is endless. It is said that the dances which involve steps help in increasing our brain power and makes our memory sharp. Also, dance helps in avoiding serious health problems like dementia, Alzheimer, osteoporosis etc. People these days replace exercise and aerobics with dance. It helps in increasing our stamina and makes our body more flexible. Not only this but dancing helps in boosting our self-esteem and confidence. 

Basically, dance appeals more to women but nowadays, even men are performing various dance forms and that too with elegance and style. The ballroom dancing has become a popular dance style among both men and women. Different types of dancing are significant in different ways like-
  • Belly dancing helps in solving back problems and exercises our abdominal muscles.
  • Ballroom dancing helps in proper regulation of the heart.
  • Salsa, a Latin dance form helps in maintaining low blood pressure and control cholesterol.
  • Jazz dance helps in isolating the various parts of our body.

Different dance forms will give you different health benefits. They help in keeping your body toned from head to toe. Today people of all age groups are opting for dance to keep themselves fit and healthy.



Wednesday, January 10, 2018

BALLET Music Through The Ages

Publicity shot of the original cast of Tchaiko...
Publicity shot of the original cast of Tchaikovsky's ballet, The Sleeping Beauty, St Petersburg: Mariinsky Theater, 1890. Carlotta Brianza starred as Aurora. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Right from the beginning, ballet and music have been uniquely intertwined. Without music, ballet is nothing more than the empty motions of a ritual. Without the movement and rhythm of the dance, music loses all vitality. And so, ballet as a doorway to human expression hinges on both music and dance.

Jean Baptiste Lully (1632-1687), the Italian-born French composer who founded the national French opera was not just a court composer to Louis XIV, but also a choreographer who produced court ballets for Molière's plays. This probably explains why his productions never lacked an accompaniment. However, theatre productions of the eighteenth century turned composers away from ballet and toward the music of ballroom dancing.

This phase sustained its self straight through the nineteenth century with the exception of pieces by Russian classical composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) which include the Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty.

In the twentieth century, however, ballet came back to the spotlight. Once again considered a respectable art form, choreographers looked to the works of classical composers such as Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi, Chopin, Brahms, and Handel to perform the art of ballet dancing too.

Many agree that ballet owes its very existence to the likes of those who are both composers and choreographers. Because being musicians in nature, they naturally pay close attention to ballet following the rhythmic structure of its accompaniment precisely. One who does not understand music can easily create a ballet that looks good that in of itself, yet at the mercy of a great classical piece the novice falls short of expressing the true nature of the piece. Instead, they turn the production into a form of movement that is devoid of both art and beauty. The experts instead know when it is appropriate to go against the grain of the accompaniment to heighten those dramatic periods which capture their audience's attention and leaves them breathless.  


As we dawn a new era of music and dance, it's undeniable that ballet will continue to change. However, just as music and dance have always been the best of friends, the ballet will continue to find its new identity in the constantly changing music of today.




Monday, December 11, 2017

BALLROOM DANCING - Discover the Various Types of Ballroom DANCE MUSIC

Big Bay Ballroom - Harbor Hop
Photo  by Port of San Diego 
Ballroom dance music is as varied and eclectic as the dancing can be itself. Depending upon the types of steps that a dancer is performing, the tunes can be really fast and peppy or slow and melodious. Throughout the course of history, the tunes have been meant to be enjoyed whether the listener is dancing with them or not. Ballroom dance music can be listened to for dancing, as well as for the sheer enjoyment of it.

Slow and fluid music is the choice for dances such as the Waltz or the Viennese Waltz. These tunes are melodious and traditional, with most being classical compositions that were written for Royal entertainment several centuries ago. Composers such as Lanner, Strauss, and Shubert were the original composers of music for the Waltz, which was started in Vienna by the Court of the Hapsburgs. With the creation of the American Waltz in the 1800's, other composers were let into the close Waltz circle. Popular artists such as Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, and even Stevie Wonder are now contributing to the types of tunes that are classified as ballroom dance music.

There are also the types produced exclusively for dances such as the Tango. This type of dancing was long thought to have originated in Argentina, but was actually started in either Spain or Morocco and brought to the Americas by explorers and settlers. In the United States, the Tango was influenced by African American and Creole elements and made popular in the early 1900's by Rudolph Valentino's movies.

Popular Tango artists include Gotan Project, Carlos Di Sarli Strictly Tango, and Victor Hugo Morales. When people are just starting to learn the steps of Tango, a slower tempo in ballroom dance music is definitely recommended. Once they get the steps down, then they can pick the speed up a bit and even add a flourish or dip to make it a little more interesting if they like.



Quick and sultry Latin dancing also requires another form. The Salsa, Rhumba, and even the ChaCha require a totally different beat, rhythm, and speed all together. For example, some Latin styles are danced on the upbeat of the tune, while others are danced strictly on the downbeat. Each Latin style is considered unique and usually requires its own style and tempo to be danced to properly.

Latin dancing is extremely hot right now which means that songs are widely available to choose from. Most are only offered in Spanish; however, artists such as Lou Bega sing popular top forty songs in English. No matter what your choice in ballroom dance music, there are several tunes to choose from for every style of dancing.



Sunday, December 3, 2017

Ice Dance for Those Who Love a Challenge

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani at the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships - Photo: Wikimedia
For those who love to dance but would like to try something a little more challenging, there is always ice dance. This is a form of figure skating that also incorporates some of the rules and moves of ballroom dancing into the mix for a little bit of an added challenge and a few more restrictions when it comes to moves and creative license than traditional figure skating allows. 

Ice dance also requires music that has a definitive beat or style of rhythm, which offers a few more restrictions than traditional figure skating. Ice dance can be done for fun and enjoyment or as part of a competition. The competition in this fierce though somewhat new (to American audiences at any rate) is quite fierce among dominating skaters and world leaders in the field much like traditional figure skating.

Ice dance is a beautiful and fluid form of dance that many consider being even more graceful than either traditional ballroom dancing or traditional figure skating. The technical skills, as well as the strength of each partner in this form of dance, are extremely demanding and in order to become or remain competitive in this style of dance one must constantly work to home and improve one's skills.

If you have never had the opportunity to watch ice dance whether on television or live, I suggest you take the next available opportunity to do so. Ice dance is a great way to spend the evening. It's a big hit with the girls if you happen to be a guy. If you happen to be a dad of daughters it will make you a hero in their eyes as well as give them other dedicated and hard-working men and women to look to as heroes as well. 

Whether you are all that thrilled by the dips, twirls, lifts, and flips you cannot deny the dedication to craft and sport that these skaters must endure in order to remain on top of their games. I can think of few better heroes I would rather have for my children than athletes who dedicate so much time, energy, and effort to their sports. 



Watching ice dance is a fun way for many to spend an evening at home. However, watching ice dance live is that much more intriguing to many fans and spectators. There are an energy and oneness with the crowd that simply cannot be relayed through the television screen. Being one of the spectators at a live ice dancing competition is almost as exciting for me as being at a live sporting event such as a football game or race. 

There is an electric energy that goes along with being a part of the crowd of spectators that is impossible to match on screen or through any other medium. There is a huge difference in hearing the roar of a crowd or thunderous applause through your television set and hearing it all around you as you sit in the middle. It's a truly amazing and humbling experience.

Ice dance is a highly competitive sport. If you have a child that is interested or you have interested yourself be prepared to invest a great deal of time and money into any serious competitive efforts that you may have in your future. As you have probably gathered this is a partnered competition. You must have a partner in order to truly compete. This, for many, is an added source of time and effort. Not all partners are immediate hits with one another and the chemistry is not always there. Plan to invest a good deal of time and effort into finding a good partner for your ice dance efforts if this is a sport you seriously wish to pursue. If you just want to participate as a spectator, however, there is no partner required and a great deal of entertainment to be had.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The History of the TANGO

Tango
Photo  by aka_serge 
The Tango has always been one of my favorite ballroom dances, as it is so different from all the others, and a real challenge to master both musically and technically. Here is a brief history of the Tango over the last hundred odd years.

The story of Tango is said to have started with the gauchos of Argentina. These were men that were hardened from working with horses and also from the sweat on the horse's body. This is also why gauchos walked with flexed knees. These men would go into the crowded nightclubs and ask the local girls to dance. Since the gaucho hadn't showered, the lady would dance in the crook of the man's right arm, holding her head back. Her right hand was held low on his left hip, close to his pocket, looking for a payment for dancing with him. The man danced in a curving fashion because the floor was small with round tables, so he had to dance in between and around them.

The word "tango" is said to come from one of two sources. One of the more popular rumors in recent years has been that it came from the Niger-Congo languages of Africa. Another story is that the word "tango", which was already in common use in Andalusia to describe a style of music, lent its name to a vastly different style of music in Argentina and Uruguay.

Strangely enough, it is said that the Tango's History actually evolves from African slavery and musically used African Rhythms in the beginning. It is an intense and erotic dance and many believe that it started off in the Ghettos of Buenos Aires as far back as the 1890's with the lower classes. Back then it was known as "Baile con corte" which means "Dance with a rest." After that, it was mainly danced in Argentina, Haiti, and Cuba. It was also danced in Spain in a different form.

Between 1907 and 1912 the Tango was first introduced in France and the dance took Paris by storm. By the year 1912, it had crossed over the Channel to England.

By 1913, New York was hit by the Tango craze. What was previously a dance for the lower and middle classes was fast becoming a favorite with the upper classes.

Between 1903 and 1910 over a third of the gramophone records released were Tango music and the sheet music was sold in vast quantities all over Europe.

During the great depression of 1929, the Tango's popularity declined but it became fashionable again during the presidency of Juan Peron.


During the 1950's the Tango started it's decline again due to the economic recession and the banning of public gatherings.

During the 1980's it was revived again with the Broadway Musicals Forever Tango, Tango Passion, and Tango Argentino.

There are now three types of Tango, namely Argentine, International Style and American, and I don't think that the Tango will ever totally lose its appeal.



Friday, September 15, 2017

The WEDDING DANCE

Around the globe, couples celebrate their unions with a wedding dance of some sort. Most religions, with the exception of those who still frown upon dancing, have some sort of wedding dance that is a part of this joyous event or the celebration of this event. This is much more than a simple dance. It is the dance that will begin your life as husband and wife. For this reason alone, many couples spend a great deal of time and effort choosing the perfect song to symbolize their love for each. Once decided, this is the song that is to be played for their wedding dance.

American bride wearing a Contemporary Western ...
American bride wearing a Contemporary Western Wedding Dress (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Your wedding dance is one of the few memories of your wedding that you will have forever. Most of your wedding day will go by in such a blur of faces that there will be few moments that stand out above the rest. Your wedding dance, however, is the one time during your wedding reception that you and your spouse are truly alone within the crowd. All eyes may be on you both but this is your moment together and no one else in the room should matter at this moment. This is the reason that most people will remember their wedding dance long after they've forgotten other details about their wedding. 

Some couples actually take wedding dance lessons in order to make sure that nothing goes wrong during their wedding dance. Many instructors often suggest that you use the shoes you will be wearing for your wedding as well as a skirt that is very similar to your wedding dress in order to actually get an honest feel for how you will be dancing on your wedding day. It is amazing how much of a difference the height of your shoes and the length of your skirt or train can make when it comes to dancing. These classes are very important for couples that truly want to have the fairy tale wedding experience though not necessarily practical for couples that are already working at the end of their budget constraints.

Ballroom dance lessons will often suffice for wedding dance lessons and in many cases are much less expensive if you can take them at a local community center rather than taking private lessons. Group lessons are almost always more economical and can be a great way for you and your future spouse to learn to dance together in time for your big night and your wedding dance.

If budgets won't even allow for this indulgence to make your wedding dance a little easier to handle you can always opt to purchase an instructional video or DVD. It would be great fun to practice your wedding dance together before the big night and it is a great way to have fun together as a couple even after the big night. You can find videos and DVDs that teach all manner of dance steps that you may find appealing. 

Otherwise, you can always wing it. Pick a song you love, a dance you like and have fun without worrying about getting it perfect. You are beginning your new life together as a couple and who really needs the pressure of dancing perfect, right? It is also your day and that is one thing that far too few brides really realize when getting caught up in the pressure of creating the perfect wedding within a limited budget. 



The thing to remember when planning your wedding and your wedding dance is that you and your spouse to be are the most important people in the process. Do not allow yourself to feel pressured into something that you don't want in order to appease others. Make your wedding day and your wedding dance completely your own if you are not interested in or comfortable with the idea of taking lessons from someone else. You and your partner will be glad that you did what was right for you when all is said and done.



Friday, September 8, 2017

SOME FAMOUS DANCERS

Anna Pavlova in costume for the Dying Swan, Bu...
Anna Pavlova in costume for the Dying Swan, Buenos Aires, c. 1928
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dance is an art which gives a chance to the individuals to express their self expressions and emotions. Dance is the best way to reduce stress and boost your mood. Today individuals of all age groups prefer to opt for dance instead of exercises and jogging. This is because dance not only helps in toning their body but it also helps in socializing and relaxing. Since ancient times there are dancers who have contributed in the development of different dance forms.

Some world famous dancers who are still remembered for their valuable contribution in dance are:

• Anna Pavlova:
 She was known for her classical ballet. Even today she is remembered for her performance in ‘The Dying Swan’.

 • Mikhail Baryshnikov
Mikhail was a director in American Ballet Theater. He had also worked as the male dancer in ballet for some plays.

• Vaslav Nijinsky
Vaslav was a ballet dancer who was famous in 1950’s for his excellent athletic body and ability to perform with perfection and confidence in theater plays.

Astaire with Eleanor Powell in Cole Porter's &...
Astaire with Eleanor Powel
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
• Jack Cole
‘Jack Cole’ is considered to be the father of jazz dance techniques that are used by many jazz dancers today. Cole’s dance techniques emphasized more on angled placements, isolations and change of directions.

• Katherine Dunham
Katherine was the first African- American women who found great success as a choreographer in the 19th century. She even came up with her own dance troupe and gained popularity in the world for her jazz steps.

 • Fred Astaire
Fred is well remembered for his flawless dance styles. Apart from a good dancer Fred was also a singer, choreographer, actor and a leading entertainer in Broadway.

• Michael Jackson

Well known as the king of loping and popping Michael Jackson was one the famous dancers in the world in 20th century. He revolutionized the world of dance with his excellent dance moves.






Friday, July 21, 2017

Learning to DANCE at Home

There are many ways in which a person can learn to dance if he or she is of the mind to do so. The problem is that many people shy away from learning to dance, despite a sincere desire to do just that out of fear of being seen in the learning process. This is such a sad reason to avoid bringing the joy of dance into your life and one that can be so easily avoided if you are willing to make the efforts that would be required.

dancing lesson
Dancing Lesson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
First of all, you can learn to dance within the comfort of your very own home. You do not need a dance hall or studio with mirrors to learn to dance even though they are helpful to the process. In all truthfulness it is quite possible to learn to dance at home without even procuring a teacher.

There are many DVDs and instructional tapes and videos on the market that can teach the basics of many different styles of dance. If you aren't sure what type of dance you are most interested in, it isn't a terrible idea to begin by ordering some DVDs in order to find out what specific type of dance interests you most. The really neat thing about doing this is that you can being the learning process in your very own home with the curtains drawn and no one will ever need to be any wiser. 

Of course if you are going to learn at home you might want to clue your spouse or partner in and see if he or she would like to join you on the path to discovering the joys of dance as a form of entertainment as well as a means of bringing an extra level of physical activity into your life. The really good news is that this sort of physical activity won't feel like exercise and if you play your cards right with your partner it just might lead to other forms of physical activity. Keep in mind that many people find dance to be a very romantic precursor to other romantic pursuits. 

Backing away from the romance department you can even find a great and occasionally merciless audience in your children. They also make great practice partners and guinea pigs and if you control the allowance, then you might even manage to squeeze out a compliment or two to help your potentially wounded ego through the event. Kids are great fun though when it comes to dancing and (younger kids anyway) are almost always willing to kick back and have a laugh at mom or dads expense. If you want to make a really fun afternoon of things, challenge your kids to a 'dance off' you just might be surprise at who is the last one standing.

Learning to dance at home can be a rewarding experience if you apply the things you learn. Not only do you get the benefit of a new hobby but also you manage to do so without the uncertainty and insecurity that is often a common part of lessons. Having an audience can be a frightening thing, however, once you've passed the child test you should be ready for the most ruthless audience any dance studio can give. You should also keep in mind that other students in the class (should you ever decide you are ready to take an actual class) are probably just as nervous about their level of skill as you may be.



Thursday, June 8, 2017

4 Great Ways to Learn to DANCE

Rhythm, a sequence in time repeated, featured ...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dancing is something that many people enjoy not only as a recreational pursuit but also as an integral part of their fitness routine. Dance is a great way to keep your body in shape without feeling as though you are somehow being punished for enjoying that extra scoop of ice cream on your cone. 

At the same time, dance is also something that many people simply find enjoyable. As with most things in life though, there are often right and wrong ways in which you can make most dance moves and some of them might not be as good for you as they think. For this reason you really do need to seek qualified instructions. Below you will find four different methods in which you can get the instruction you need to dance your heart out.

Private Dance Instruction

If you are in a financial situation that allows for this then this is the ideal option. With private lessons you will have one on one instruction and the direct attention of the instructor. Private lessons provide the absolute most bang for your buck and will provide the most immediate pay off for your efforts as you will move at your own pace and will not have to wait on other students to catch up or feel left behind by students who have a higher beginning level of skill.

Private lessons also provide the opportunity to address specific needs and problem areas when it comes to your dancing. This means you will learn the right way from the beginning, provided you went with a reputable instructor who is very knowledgeable. The benefits of private instruction are really amazing when compared to some of the other available methods of learning to dance.

Formal Group Dance Lessons 

You can sign up for group dance lessons at almost any age. There are very few requirements and classes are offered for many different experience levels as well. If you are an utter novice there will be classes that will teach you the basics and get you started on your way. There are also classes that are designed to teach advanced students more difficult footwork and techniques. Some people thrive in these sorts of classes because there is some degree of competitiveness involved. Friendly competition is often a great motivator for success. Others however, feel somewhat left behind or unchallenged in these sorts of classes and would do better with a different form of instruction.

Informal Group Dance Instruction

This is the type of instruction you will often find prior to dances in local dance halls and nightclubs. The atmosphere is very informal and the goal is to give a basic primer. This sort of instruction will prepare to you to execute a few very basic moves and very little else. This is very popular in areas where line dancing is common to teach patrons how the moves involved in specific dances. This type of instruction is not recommended for those who want a serious amount of instruction when it comes to dance but for those who have a fleeting interest and only want to learn a couple of dances for fun on a night out, this is ideal.




Video Dance Instruction


Believe it or not, many would be dancers are petrified at the very thought of someone watching as they attempt to learn the moves required for the dances they wish to execute. We live in a world of perfectionists however and if you happen to be a perfectionist, then video dance lessons may be the perfect bet for your needs and wishes. You will find a wide selection of these video lessons online if you are willing to look. You will even find many that are designed to teach dance for the sole purpose of fitness while others teach dance for the sole purpose of fun.

The direction you take when it comes to learning to dance is entirely up to you. The many different types of classes offer appeal to the many different types of people in the world today. If one type of class worked for everyone wishing to take classes then there would be no need for the different types of dance classes. The truth is that not everyone learns best in the same situation. Select the learning method that you feel will be best for you and start learning to dance today.



Monday, May 1, 2017

Why Not DANCE?

There are some religious taboos when it comes to dance other than religious reasons why on earth would anyone not want to experience the mind and body renewing energy that results from dancing? Truthfully, not all dancing involves the wearing of pink tutus and many forms of dance are quite masculine in nature so preserving masculinity cannot in any way be an adequate excuse for not dancing.

ballroom dance entertain gentle icon symbol
Ballroom dance entertain gentle icon symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When it comes to dance there are many interesting and amazing styles of dance that span the globe. From the weapon dances of old (which are a perfect display of virility and masculinity though not widely practiced today other than in ceremonial dance) to the grace and beauty of ballet or ballroom dancing there is almost certain to be some form of dance that should appeal to almost anyone on the planet. 

Native Americans had an excellent attitude and ideals when it comes to dancing. They danced for almost any reason and let the beat of the drum serve as their guiding spirit. Native Americans danced for worship, for rain, for joy, for grief, and to prepare for war. Their dances were heartfelt and as much a part of their individual natures as it was their tribal identities. Dancing was an essential part of their culture and heritage and is still passed on today though to a much smaller degree. 

While some religions discourage dance, others embrace dance as a form of worship and commitment to their deities. Some encourage dance as an expression of praise. Others dance for the joy of the blessings and bounty of their gods or in submission to their gods. Regardless the fact remains that dance plays a vital role in many of the world's religions. If you are a believer, I can think of few better reasons to dance than to express your beliefs in a physical form.

Some people dance simply because they like music and enjoy watching other people dance. There are all kinds of fun dancing styles that can be practiced alone, as a couple, or as a part of a much larger group. In the United States line dancing and square dancing are excellent ways to dance as part of a larger group as well as many types of competitive dancing and as part of a ballet company or other type of competitive or professional dance company. Couples dancing to some degree includes square dancing but other forms of dance such as ballroom dancing as well. Singles dancing is pretty much reserved to competitive dancing and often requires years of practice in order to perfect. Some people devote their lives to this sort of dancing and still never manage to make their mark on the competitive dancing circuit. 

Dancing for fitness is another wave that seems to be taking the world by storm. There are many ways that this can be done and it is quite effective among those who would otherwise not exercise at all as well as those who simply love to dance. It is getting out of your seat and moving around to the music. Find a nice driving beat, close the curtains, and dance until you can no longer breath. It's a great way to get that much needed exercise while having fun and not even realizing that you are (gasp) exercising. Mind over matter is a great thing. If it doesn't feel like exercise then there is no reason for your body, mind, or spirit to protest, right? 

Dancing is becoming somewhat of a novelty sport around the USA and around the world. Reality television shows such as "Dancing with Stars" and movies such as the one with Richard Gere-Shall We Dance have made ballroom dancing popular and attractive to the average person who would have never considered this form of dance before. With so many wonderful reasons for a person to dance why on earth wouldn't you want to dance? 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

BELLY DANCE Basics

English: Belly dancer in Cairo, Egypt
Belly dancer in Cairo, Egypt
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Oriental Dance, also known as belly dancing is one of, if not the most sensual styles of dance. It is also one of the most beneficial forms of dance there is healthwise. In addition to the great calorie burning affect of belly dancing there are other health benefits that this form of dance has become famous for over the centuries. 

Belly dance has a long and proud history dating back to the dawn of civilization. This style of dance has in its history been used as both an act of worship and an act of seduction. Not always in exclusion of the either as this form of dance is believed by some religions to be a boost for fertility of newly wedded couples. 

Belly dance is a style of dance that doesn't require participants to be in optimal physical condition in order to begin. In fact, the low impact nature of this form of movement makes it an excellent choice for those who are not in ideal shape to begin with. This form of dance works the muscles gently with the jarring effects of impact aerobics and other exercise methods. It also works the belly, which is often the problem area for many who aren't in the best of shape. You should also find that you will strengthen your back through belly dance as you progress. This will also help with almost every aspect of your physical fitness routine. More importantly for those who are a little (or a lot) out of shape is the belly dance burns an average of 300 calories an hour. This means that if you practice one hour a day you are burning over 2,000 calories per week.

For those who celebrate their womanhood, there is no better form of dance to express that joy. Belly dance has a long history as a celebration of being female. From being used in ceremonies in the temple to being used to entice and seduce the unwitting belly dance is a celebration of simply being a girl.

If you are afraid to begin your belly dance lessons in a class full of other men and women you can always opt to purchase videos and DVD lessons. There are many of these lessons from which to choose, even lessons that focus on the mental and/or healing aspects of Oriental dance if that is where you feel you need to focus your efforts. Belly dancing is a great deal of fun in addition to being a decent form of getting much needed physical activity. 

If you plan to belly dance, you should understand that the costume is part of what sets the mood or the tone. While you do not need all the bells and whistles, the general consensus is that baring your midriff puts you in the state of mind that is most suitable for belly dancing. For this reason it is recommended that you wear clothes that bare your belly such as low-rise yoga pants and a sports bra or some other belly-baring shirt for your practice sessions. This also helps your instructor see if you are making the moves correctly.

If you decide to partake in belly dancing classes, congratulations! You will be joining an historic group of women that date back to what many believe is the very beginning of time. You should also have a new hobby that is both entertaining and healthy.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

DANCING Through History

Through history we have seen many evolutions of dance. Some of these ancient dances and rituals are still practiced today by those who honor their religious or cultural histories while many have sadly been lost throughout the ages. One thing however remains constant. Dance has always played an important role in the societies, great and small, of the world.

English: Detail from Allegory of Good Governme...
Detail from Allegory of Good Government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, 1338-40
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dating back to the beginning of recorded history dancing has been a vital part of society. Dance was involved in celebrations and preparations for war. Dance was part of rituals and ceremonies of worship. Dance was part of life and we live in a society today that seems to increasingly label dance as a form of entertainment more than a way of life. Perhaps that is part of the reason we have a growing awareness when it comes to depression because fewer people are experiencing the joy of dance.

Did you know that the Spartan warriors used dance in their preparations for battle? They incorporated a 'weapons dance' that was designed not only to familiarize themselves with their weaponry but also to help them be more agile when using them. Believe me when I say that very few ever dared question the masculinity of Spartans on the battlefield. These soldiers were prepared for war and a large degree of that is the result of their weapon dances as mental and physical preparation for the art of waging war. With the Spartans war was most definitely an art form.

Oriental Dance was common during what has become known as Biblical times and remains today a very noteworthy form of dance. In fact, Oriental Dances, also referred to as Belly Dancing, seems to be experiencing a rebirth of sorts as its popularity has spread around the globe in recent years. This style of dance has been used as part of religious ceremonies as well as to entice lovers and incite lust and in some cases to represent fertility. Oriental Dance has a long and intriguing history that is well worth further study if you are of the mind to do so.

In Medieval times dance was a social requirement by those of means or holding status. In fact, what we know as ballroom dancing today began during this period and has evolved a little over the years while holding true to its original form to some degree. The church at the time however frowned on dancing though many members of the church not only tolerated dancing but also participated in these dances. After a great deal of pressure from the populace the church did eventually accept and embrace dance.

The movements for the medieval dance steps were said to be rather simple and repetitive. While some of the dances of the day were performed by couples there were many processional or line dances that were popular during this period as well. Who knew the line dancing had such a long and distinguished history?



As times have evolved so has dance. In today's society dance is often limited to competitions, festivals, and parties rather than the prominence it once held in society. The good news in all this is that dance is no longer for some in society an activity that is solely reserved for the wealthiest among us. Though access to dance lessons, classes, videos, etc. is by no means solid proof that they will be utilized the fact remains that very few cities in the United States do not offer dance classes that are at least marginally affordable for those who participate. Competitive dance is another matter all together however and can bring a significant price tag to those who are unaware or caught off guard. Recreational dance however, often costs little more than the music required with which to dance and the will to dance deep inside. We live in a nation of opportunity, do not squander the opportunity we have to incorporate the simple pleasure of dancing into our daily lives.




Friday, March 24, 2017

Music About DANCE

While we all know that Jazz is as much a style of music as it is a style of dance, many people may not realize the importance that dance has played in music. There are many songs out there that mention the importance of dancing and yet we as a society seem to have forgotten the importance or limited that importance to a certain age group. Once we age it seems that we forget not only how to dance but also the intrinsic importance of dancing as well.

Rhythm, a sequence in time repeated, featured ...
Rhythm, a sequence in time repeated, featured in dance:
an early moving picture demonstrates the waltz.
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)

"I Hope You Dance" is only one of many songs that relate the important role that dancing plays in feeding the human soul. If one thing in life is important for all, that one thing would be to dance whenever the opportunity arises. You never know when you will run out of opportunities to dance or find that you've squandered so many of them away. Take them as they come and your life will be filled with much greater joy than you may ever realize. Despite many other songs out there that may convey the message, there are very few that say it more concisely than this particular song. "When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you'll dance".

Garth Brooks is another musician that had an excellent commentary on dance. His song "The Dance" chronicles not necessarily the importance of dancing but of participating. Given the choice, many who have lost their lives in some risky endeavor would more than likely tell those left behind that they would not have traded the dance for one more breath. The lyrics to this song are somewhat haunting "I could have missed the pain but I'd have had to miss the dance".

Believe it or not all good songs that mention dance do not happen to be country songs. These honestly happen to be, in my opinion, the most poignant. Other great songs about dance include the song "Let's Dance" by David Bowie. The lyrics to this song include the stanza "Let's dance for fear tonight is all". The truth of the matter is that you never know and dancing is a great way to celebrate living.


Music and dance for years have gone hand in hand and will continue to do so long after we've left this earth. At least that would be the hope. I would hate to see what a world without dance would be like. It would be like having children without laughter and that would be a sad world in which to live. If you want to keep your children dancing then you must teach them to dance. Teach them that it is okay to dance and be silly around the house. That it is okay to dance their way through their chores (hey if it makes them smile while taking out the trash I say go for it!).  Teach them that dancing is a great way to express joy and that laughter is the best thing to follow their dance.

Native Americans have a long and noble heritage when it comes to dance. They let their dreams beat out the heartbeat of Mother Earth and danced in companionship with nature. They danced for joy and sorrow, war, peace, and praise. I can think of no better example to follow when it comes to dance.



Sunday, March 5, 2017

JAZZ as DANCE

While few people understand the true origins of Jazz as a music form, fewer people still understand the origins of jazz as a style of dance. Jazz is very much a fatherless child. More than that however, jazz as music and dance seem to have many mothers despite the fact that they have no father. By this I mean that there are many influences to this colorful form of music and dance though no one influence is notable enough in the new creation to be considered the 'father' or 'mother' for that matter of jazz.

English: Jazz dancers adapted from flickr phot...
Jazz dancers adapted from flickr photo by Alvaro Arriagada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Though jazz has many supposed birth places it really only has one true home and that home would be New Orleans. Much like the music this city is famous for, New Orleans is a city without a father too. New Orleans was a melting pot in the truest sense of the word before we had any real clue what it meant to be a melting pot. From the influences of the French, Spanish, German, English, and of course the population of former slaves and black free men and women, New Orleans was the perfect place for this blended and mixed style of music and dance to call home.

It is no wonder that jazz dance emerged as the result of jazz music. There are simply no adequate dance steps for the delightful music we have come to know over the years as jazz. For this reason something new and a little bit off the main path was needed in order to keep time and pace with the new music that was emerging.

As a style of dance, jazz was much more 'brazen' than dances in the past had been and in some circles considered to be singly unseemly. Polite society certainly had no interest in this particular form of dance. The good news for those who enjoyed this style of dance is that there were plenty of places in which jazz, as a form of dance and music, was readily embraced. You had to go off the beaten path a little in order to find it but for many it was well worth the effort.

Jazz music and dance was popular for quite a while and then seemed to go underground except in cities such as Memphis, New Orleans, Kansas City, and St. Louis where it was an ingrained part of the history and culture. We have seen a reemergence of this once popular style of music and dance in recent years however with some notable musicians bringing back the swing and 'big band' sound that went hand in hand with jazz as both a music form and a style of dance.

You should understand however, that when it comes to jazz dance, much like the music, there are no definitive rules that you must follow in order for it to be jazz. There are no rigid dance steps that must be adhered to for the 'jazz' effect. Jazz dance is often confused as 'tap dance' because tap music was often set to jazz music. It is important however to realize that jazz isn't limited to tap dance and that other styles of dance fall under the rather large umbrella of 'jazz dance'.



Some of the more common jazz dances include: Black Bottom, Boogie Woogie, the Cakewalk, the Charleston, the Jitterbug, the Lindy Hop, and swing dancing. Each of these styles of dance seems to be making a rather remarkable comeback in popularity over the course of the last two decades and are very interesting to watch, as well as in which to participate should you ever have the opportunity.

If you have considered jazz dance lessons for you or your children, I hope you will decide to indulge. Not only is the music for this type of dance excellent and uplifting but also the style of dance in and of itself is quite fun and enjoyable. There are very few styles of dance that can compete when it comes to allowing artistic license, going with the flow, and simply dancing for the sheer joy of dancing. As an art form and as a form of entertainment jazz music and dance are tops in my book.

Friday, February 24, 2017

TAP DANCING Is Back

Tap dancing is back. Another aspect of tap dancing is improvisation, the timing of the step, the foundation of which tap dancing is built and the means by which the rhythm is based all of these factors are very important. To some it may seem that tap dancing is losing ground in the world of dance. The art of tap dancing is a culture in itself. Tap dancing is a great workout. A fun way to exercise is tap dancing; some of the benefits of dance are coordination and rhythm development. Even better, one hour of tap dancing is thought to burn around 250 calories. Tap dancing is fun for both the audience and the dancer and especially children.

English: Tap dancing class in the gymnasium at...
Tap dancing class in the gymnasium at Iowa State College. Ames, Iowa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You don't really have to practice tapping on a hard wood floor. All children need practice when they are learning new skills, just like adults do. Wearing black clothing makes it much easier to see your body movements while you are dancing to the rhythm of the music.

When you become an experienced dancer, you can purchase tap shoes, they come in an many different styles, it all depends on what type of dance you are doing. Try not to wear rubber on your shoes since they get stuck on the floor, the key is to flow across the dance floor while tap dancing. Put your dancing shoes on, tap dancing is the new way to keep off the pounds. Experienced tap dancers usually invest in a more expensive pair of tap shoes and they usually run around $250. Leave your stress at home and wear comfortable clothes and shoes its time to dance. Adapting to the music while dancing is a stimulating challenge, for some it is not easy to feel the rhythm.

Balance and coordination are items that are brought up in the this class so students learn the basic tap dancing techniques. When taking a class they will break down all of the basics of tap dancing, as well as explore the foundations of body movements. Tap dancers must stretch before every performance, rehearsal or class.

Tap dancing is probably the most interesting of dance genre. Tap dancing is a good type of exercise and the routines are sometimes used in performances. Having its roots in early American Jazz, tap dancing is fun but incredibly challenging. Tap dancing is a fantastic substitute to conventional workouts to stay fit. Tap dancing is celebrated all over the world.



Thursday, January 26, 2017

Inuit DRUM DANCING Of The Arctic

Like many other aboriginal cultures around the world, the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic have made use of drums in some of their traditional music for centuries.  Inuit drum dancing played a part in many special occasions such as births, marriages, an Inuit boy's first hunt, changing of seasons, greetings for visitors or to honor someone who had passed away.  News of these special events was spread by word of mouth and many Inuit traveled great distances to attend.  

Dancer at Drum Dance Festival, Gjoa Haven, Nunavut
Dancer at Drum Dance Festival, Gjoa Haven, Nunavut
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)

The Inuit drum called a qilaut was traditionally made from caribou skin with seal or walrus skin around the handle. Before, Inuit drum dancing was most commonly done by men but eventually both men and women performed it.  There were various Inuit songs called ajaaja that were sung while drum dancing.  In the past, many individuals had their own ajaaja songs that were unique to them and about their own personal life experiences. There were also many songs that were passed down through many generations of Inuit.  

Like Inuit throat singing, the practice of Inuit drum dancing was banned by Christian missionaries for many years.  Eventually, the Inuit regained their right to perform their drum dances.  However, Inuit drum dancing is not as important today to Inuit life as it once was since western lifestyles have become such a big part of the northern Arctic.  



Inuit drum dancing is still sometimes performed at symbolic celebrations such as opening ceremonies for conferences, festivals, graduations and shows for tourists.  Watching an Inuit drum dancer perform his or her music can be almost hypnotic and is one of the special treats from Inuit culture to be enjoyed by all.  Inuit drum dancers are a common subject for Inuit art carvings and drawings.  Inuit artists have even outfitted some of their animal subjects with Inuit drums.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

BREAKDANCING: The Roots of The Street Dance

Breakdancing is the street dancing which began around 1969. Most people will agree that the superstar James Brown began the whole thing with a dance called the "Good Foot". James Brown was a real innovator and his dancing was something to behold. He did things with his feet that would give most of us a couple of broken legs!

Breakdance
Breakdance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Simultaneously in the ghetto, what is known as the "dance battle" became very popular and in many cases replaced gangster warfare as a method to end disputes. Breakdancing lent itself very well to the dance battle and the Good Foot was a perfect base for breakdancing.

Street dancers adopted the Good Foot which, for a short period, became known as the B-Boy and then breakdancing. Back then the dance moves were a lot different to the kind of breaking we see today. There were no popular, documented moves such as the headspin or the windmill. The dancers simply used their feet and nothing else. Some would argue that this "old style breaking" is more complicated than the kind of dancing we see these days.

Some of the floor work improvised back then was fantastically complex. If you go to a modern breakdancing competition you won't see many of the old school moves but you will see a lot of gymnastics. Impressive though this is, there are those that think breakdancing has lost its roots a little. On the other side of the coin you have people saying that it's just an evolution.

As a way to solve street battles and gang violence it was inspired. You were finding that amazingly, the gangs were using breakdancing instead of fighting. The breakdancing "battle" took on a world of its own. Of course there were still fights and inevitably sometimes a sore loser in a breaking battle would resort to violence.

Out of all this, breakdancing crews were formed. The members of a crew would practice and dance together. This is when the first very basic breakdancing choreography came about. One crew would invent a move which would inspire an opposing crew to go one better. For some of these guys breakdancing was literally the difference between life and death. They were very dedicated to what they were doing.

Just as all these new breakdancing crews were bursting onto the scene a guy called Afrika Bambaataa embraced the genre. Afrika Bambaataa is a legendary figure in the hip hop world. He was largely responsible for bringing breakdancing into the general public's consciousness. He got to know all the crews and encouraged them to develop what they were doing. Bambaataa's "Zulu Kings" breakdancing crew became a force to be reckoned with, winning many battles.

Since then breakdancing has continually progressed and more and more very talented dancers were bringing their skills into the arena. There were new moves being invented by the week and it wasn't long before we had headspins, windmills, backspins and all the other high energy, acrobatic moves we see these days.



The "Rock Steady Crew" were one of the groups to pioneer this new school breaking. These guys along with Charles Ahearn who made the seminal hip hop movie "Wild Style" were to bring breakdancing fully up to date and the dancing phenomenon became much more popular. There was no stopping the onward march of the break dance.

Nowadays breakdancing influences a lot of the choreographed dance routines which are an integral part of a modern pop record release. You have young kids coming up who are really into it and the genre is experiencing something of a renaissance. There's no doubt about it, breakdancing is here to stay and if you want more info a quick search on the Internet will turn up thousands of references to this modern art form.

Author:Fabio Marcell