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

Thursday, September 13, 2018

All About JAZZ DANCE

Jerome Robbins
Jerome Robbins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Art of Jazz dance is an amalgamation of different styles of dance that began between the 1800's, and the middle of the 1900's rooted in African American movement.  One man known for this type of dance was the star of vaudeville Joe Frisco around 1910 who danced in an unrestrained fashion in close vicinity to the ground while tossing his cigar, and Derby in a juggling manner. The Jazz dance style up to the middle of 1950's was Tap dance which was always performed with Jazz music such as the Jitterbug, Swing, Boogie Woogie, Lindy Hop,  and the Charleston.  Katherine Dunham is renowned choreographer and dancer studied the cultural dances of Caribbean in Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, Tobago, Martinique and Shango making this African American dance a modern work of pure art.

She took this style to Hollywood and Broadway who embraced a more refined Jazz dance.  Modern Jazz Dance is a smooth style of dance roots from Tap, Ballet and Jazz music which is performed in many musicals from the Pajama Game to Cabaret to Chicago to music videos and the Las Vegas showgirl performances. The usual technique for Jazz dance is that of a ballet dancer for balance and strength from doing slow movements. In contrast, the typical Jazz dance has sharp movements, but the skills of ballet smooth it down into a refined style.

Moreover, Jazz dance is such a versatile style that it can be combined with other dances from lyrical, contemporary and hip-hop. Jazz dance like Jazz music can be combined with other dance styles to enhance the dance to another level. For instance,  The United Kingdom witnessed a new movement of dancers in the 1980's who danced when the Jazz and Funk music clubs was becoming unpopular known as Street  Fusion Jazz Dance. Due to the new modern music scene, new groups who longed to keep the tradition of Jazz dance, and still leave room for the new styles.

There are two groups known for street fusion jazz dance known as IDJ ( I Dance Jazz), Brother in Jazz and Jazz Cotech.  Famous people of the world of Jazz dance is Fred Astaire, Jerome Robbins, Jack Cole, and Bob Fosse. In the world of Jazz Dance, there are terms people use to describe various dance moves.



Jazz Dance Terms:

Adlib, Axel Turn, Ball Change, Barrel Jump, Barrel Turn, Bounce, Cake Walk, Catwalk, Catch Step, Chasse`, Coffee Grinder, Contract, Curve Or Arch, Dolphin, Drop and Recover, Fall, Fall Over The Log, Fan Kick, Figure 8, Flick, Flick Kick, Freeze, Funk, Head-Roll, Hinge, Hip Walk,  Hip-Fall, Hip-Roll, Hitch Kick, Hop, Jazz Drag, Jazz Run, Jazz Split, Jazz Square, Jazz Walk, Jump Over The Log, Kick, Knee Fall, Knee Slide, Knee Turn, Lay Out, Limbo, Mess Around, Moonwalk, Pencil Turn, Pitch, Pivot Step, Primitive Squat, Release, Ripple, Shimmie, Shiver, Shoulder Fall, Shoulder Roll, Sissonne Fall, Skate, Snake, Snap, Spins, Spiral, Stag Leap, Step, Switch, Table Top, Tilt, Touch, Tripplettes, Turns, Twists, and the Worm.


Friday, September 7, 2018

BALLET DANCING – The Ideal Physique

Ballet Dancer - Edgar Degas
Ballet Dancer - Edgar Degas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Are you a ballet dancer, thinking about taking ballet dancing to the next level?

First, let me say that I truly believe that whatever you put your mind to, and become completely focused on that goal, you can achieve...

This article is just highlighting some of the centuries-old beliefs as to what constitutes an ideal physique for a ballet dancer...

It is well recognized that a ballet dancer MUST possess a physique that can be trained to the finest degree of coordination, combined with complete flexibility, endurance, and great strength from head to toes. In spite of this all-important fact, some students train till well on into their teens before being defeated by some physical characteristic which undoubtedly existed at ten years old but overlooked or ignored by their trainers at that time...

So what is the ideal physique, you ask?

Well, most experts agree that your body’s proportions are critical to having an ideal physique. Apart from aesthetic considerations, a well proportioned body will weather the stresses and strains of the exciting work required of it with greater ease than one in which there is some disparity in the relative length for instance, of limbs to torso, of width to length of the body, or of the relative size of shoulders to hips and so on...

Unlike the musician, the ballet dancer cannot tune their instrument by lengthening or shortening their strings, increasing or decreasing the tension until the exact pitch is achieved. In the world of ballet dancing, your body is your instrument, infinitely complicated and it becomes your servant only after many years of desperately hard training...

At best it becomes an instrument of great beauty, but it will fall short of this if it is endowed with that extra inch here or too short a length there to fall into that perfection of line and form that the art demands. In the well-informed, well-proportioned physique there is less likelihood of muscles thickening in unwanted places, and less proneness to the minor and sometimes major mishaps caused by the effort to overcome obstacles which are inherent in the build of the body...

The neckline is important, rather more on aesthetic grounds than from the anatomical point of view. To conform to the ideal physique the neck should not be too square, and above all not too short; the head should not be disproportionately large nor too small...

The ideal ballet physique embodies a perfect balance between the upper and lower halves of the body. A good guide for the best proportions may be taken from ancient Greece where the length from the crown of the head to the pubic arch or fork is equal to that from the fork to the ground. Following the same pattern, the length from the fork to the lower border of the kneecap should be equal to that from the lower border of the kneecap to the ground...

According to the classical tradition, the shoulders of the man are broader than the hips, in the woman they are somewhat narrower. Here we diverge somewhat, for it has been found by experience that the ideal ballet figure is the better for some slight extra width across the shoulders, whether male or female...

Limbs are next on the list. Pretty arms and hands are naturally an asset; extra arm length or lack of it is not a really a problem, but for the lower limbs the standard of beauty is set high. The ideal leg will, of course, be straight and shapely, showing little or not muscular development when standing, with a smooth line from the back view, and knees which do not protrude too much from the front...




There will be a straight line down the center of the thigh, through the center of the knee, down the front of the leg to about the middle of the foot. The foot will be flexible, showing at least a potential arch. With toes of medium length only and preferably with the first two or three approximating the same length...

Finally, the perfect candidate will have an upright carriage and well-poised head.

Hopefully, this gives you a little insight into some age-old views on the physique of ballet dancers and the art of ballet dancing.



Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Types of BALLROOM DANCING

English: Victor Fung and Anna Mikhed dancing a...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
With ballroom dancing growing in popularity, more and more people are choosing to learn how to dance. Until recently, ballroom dancing wasn't an ideal activity for everyone - it was mainly reserved for the older generations and the wealthy. When most people think of ballroom dancing, they tend to think of a gentle trot around the dance floor to slow, acoustic music. However, ballroom dancing involves so much more than a typical slow dance. There are several types of ballroom dancing, so let's take a look at the variations.

Believe it or not, the swing is actually a type of ballroom dance. This light-hearted dance involves concentrated footwork and lifting or twirling your partner. It became popular in the 1920's and was originally invented at the Savoy Ballroom in New York. A spin-off of the Lindy Hop, the swing dance combined fast twirls and steps to the beat of jazz music. Today, the swing dance is still performed in an old-fashioned manner using the exact same techniques developed decades ago.

The jive is a very popular form of ballroom dance that is closely related to the swing. It involves several of the same steps and techniques, but is more fast-paced and involves more movements of the arms rather than the legs and feet. Although considered to be a Latin dance, the jive became very popular in America during the 1950's "rock and roll" era. The basic concept of the jive involves changing the weight from one foot to another and is best performed to classical and upbeat music, such as oldies or jazz.

The pasodoble is a Spanish dance that has become a favorite among ballroom dancing. This particular dance probably contains the most meaning and sentimental value among all ballroom dances. In the pasodoble, the male represents the bullfighter while the female represents the cape of the matador. The dance is a symbolic representation of the bravery of bullfighters and their ability to tame the wild beast. It is dramatic in nature and the steps are quick, concise, and forceful.

The Rumba is a dance that demonstrates the unique love and attractions between a man and woman. It is based around the concept of a lady's pursuit of the man, with the steps representing the woman's charm. Often, the woman dances around the man and has quick and withdrawn steps, as the man pursues her. This is a Latin-based danced and is considered to be a very sensual performance in ballroom dancing.


The waltz is a dance that originated in Germany in the 17th century and is a familiar favorite among dances in the ballroom. The dance moves are smooth and precise as the couple dances in a side to side motion, usually in a circular pattern. The waltz is a very popular dance in weddings and special events and is considered to be one of the most romantic dances.

Last but not least, the tango is a dance performed which demonstrates the history behind Argentinean cowboys and their dance partners from centuries ago. Often the cowboys would attend nightclubs after a day of riding their horses and would not shower, which compelled the women to embrace them in the crook of the cowboy's right arm. This dance hold became a popular dance and soon developed into a favorite in ballroom dance. The dance moves are very sharp with quick head turns.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

IRISH STEP DANCE

By © Matthew Trump (source) via Wikimedia Commons
If you are looking for something a little new and different when it comes to dancing, have you considered Irish step dancing? I'm sure that many of you have heard of if not seen shows such as "Riverdance" and other shows that display this beautiful and unique form of dance. "Lord of the Dance" is another example of great Irish step dance though it brings a more modern twist to the audience.

If you haven't had the opportunity to experience this dance sensation live you should really make an opportunity to do so. This style of dance is like none you've probably ever seen before. It is beautiful and at the same time almost inconceivably difficult to make the moves that are required and show so little effort. The energy involved in these performances is nothing short of amazing.

Young and old alike are being taken by storm when it comes to this sort of dance. The music is inspiring and fun as are the steps and kicks that are done with such ease by the performers. If you are looking for a great way to get a good aerobic workout, see if there is a class in your area. This is a high energy form of dance and that should be remembered however you will get an excellent lower body workout in addition to the aerobic benefits. You will also burn a good many calories in the process.

This is a style of dance that simply looks fun. Whether you are watching or participating the excitement and energy level is almost visible. It is nothing short of amazing to be in the audience for one of these shows. It should be added that while not all Irish step dancing requires the skill and energy that is seen in the major productions such as the ones I've mentioned above, there is still a good degree of energy in all forms of Irish step dancing. This energy is what makes this style of dancing so appealing.

Young girls, teens, and women across America are discovering for themselves what a wonderful form of dance Irish step dancing really is. These classes are a little more challenging than some other forms of dancing may be because they require the steps to be made in line with other students in the class. You rely on each other and must keep pace with the music. It is a wonderful challenge that also helps students of this style of dance learn to work together in addition to developing and refining their own Irish step dance skills. There are solo dances but for the most vivid effect, these dances should be done as part of a larger group. It truly is a stunning sight to behold.


If you have a passion for music and energy then perhaps Irish step dancing classes would be a good mix for you and your fitness and dance needs. It is a beautiful style of dancing that is not only fun to watch but also fun to perform. You will work with a larger group and learn to work together for the greatest possible effect. Of all the styles of dance that are enjoyed around the world today, this is one of the most interesting forms of group dance I've ever encountered. If you want to be a part of something much larger than yourself, this is a great way to do just that.



Saturday, May 26, 2018

Learn How to LINE DANCE

008 14-07-2012 Line Dance auf der LGS Löbau
Photo  by LineDance90As 
There is a style of dancing that is growing in popularity by leaps and bounds. While you are far more likely to see a line dancing contest at Gilley's than on ESPN or any other sporting event network, it doesn't make it any less valid as a dance or even as a method of bringing fitness back into the everyday.

Line dancing has been associated primarily with country music for long time-best estimates say since the 170's. The good news with line dancing is that there aren't too many rules other than keep trying and don't spill your beer if you can help it. Otherwise, if you are willing to get stepped on forgoing the right way or being stepped on by those going the wrong way, it's a great way to spend an evening.

Line dancing is great for many laughs and a lot of fun. It is, however, much more fun if you go in a group rather than going it alone. This is one form of dance that you truly must try before you can decide whether or not you will like it. I can honestly say that watching others participate is not nearly as fun as being right in the middle of them all and watching them participate.

The good news for those who aren't clued in as to the latest steps, twists, turns, and maneuvers, is that most other line dancers began their journey somewhere else as well and are rather patient and often willing to teach those who are less knowledgeable. Of course, if they are anything like me, they are so delighted to find someone less knowledgeable that they are almost giddy at the prospect of sharing their knowledge.

Even better for the utter novice is that most clubs offer lessons before things got really hopping. In fact, most of these clubs will offer these lessons for no extra charge in hopes of selling you a nice cold one or two before prime selling time kicks in. You can also find local groups that often offer line dancing classes in an alcohol-free environment for those who consider this an important consideration and for some of the younger crowd that might find line dancing to be of interest.


Line dancing is a style of dance that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. This is one thing that makes it so widely appealing. You can find line dances at county fairs, local festivals, and even church raffles on occasion. Line dancing is quickly becoming a 'heartland' sort of entertainment that is enjoyed even by those who aren't traditional country music fans.

Believe it or not ladies, line dancing is also an excellent way to talk your fellow into dancing with you. Believe me when he sees you on the line with all those other guys he's most likely going to want to step up and stake his claim. Of course, it's also a great way for couples to have fun together even in the middle of a crowd. Line dancing is great fun almost any way you look at it. If you are new to the notion of line dancing there is no time like the present to head out and get acquainted. You just might find a great new hobby that also happens to burn a few calories in the process.


Sunday, March 25, 2018

4 Great Ways to Learn to Dance

Photo: Wikimedia
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 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 dancing 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.



Sunday, February 25, 2018

Why DANCE?

Dancing in Africa - Photo: Pxhere
When it comes to dancing there are many reasons that different people in different cultures spanning the globe choose to dance. This article will explore some of the many reasons that people dance around the world and perhaps provide new incentives for you to dance your way through your days as well.

Dancing for Religion

Many religions around the world and throughout history have used dance in praise of their deities, in celebration of the seasons, and simply as an outward expression of joy. Christianity has mixed emotions when it comes to dancing. Some religions feel that all manner of social dance can lead to forbidden actions or thoughts and tend to frown upon dance in general as a result while other Christian religions believe that there is a time, place, and purpose for dancing. Some have even incorporated dancing into their religious ceremonies (weddings as one example). Most will agree that dance is a matter of personal conviction within the Christian religion because of the heated debates that can arise on the topic.

The Hindu religion dance is an essential form of worshipping the various aspects of the Divine. This form of dance is often mistakenly referred to as Classical Indian Dance though, in reality, it is a form of worship. There are different dances for the different deities as every god has a different preference.

Even the religion of Islam has its own version of dancing for worship. Those who practice this form of dance for the sake of worship are often referred to as Whirling Dervishes. 

The Weapon Dance

This is a form of dance that has a long history dating back to Spartan warriors preparing for battle. This style of dance has been used throughout history and around the world by many nations and cultures as preparation, training, and raising morale for imminent battle. Though no longer widely practiced, and certainly not as a precursor to battle, the history and ceremony of the Weapon Dance are not to be forgotten and still practiced in ceremonial events today to honor the way things have been done in the past.

Native American Tribal Dances

It is also worth noting that what has become commonly referred to as war dances by Native American tribes are quite possibly the very same weapons dances that have such a long and noble history around the world. Individual tribes had their own dances that were used when preparing for battle with other tribes, preparing for a big hunt, or preparing to defend themselves against constant invasion and relocation.

War or imminent battle was not the only reason that Native American tribes danced, however. Dance held an important role in the worshipping of various gods as well as tribal ceremonies or individual expressions of prayer, grief, joy, or simply of embracing nature and become one with the world around them. Dance is essential to Native American heritage and culture. For Native American dance, the beat of the drum is an essential component. It is the drumbeat that drives the pace and the intensity of the dance. 



Competitive Dance

Around the world, there are those that dance competitively in all forms of dance. From recreational forms of dancing to spiritual forms of dancing the competitions are fierce and the competitors quite often dedicate their lives and the vast majority of their free time to honing and perfecting their particular forms of dance. In competitive dance, there are judges who judge artistic expression, technical skills, costumes, and the uniformity or execution of movements. Those who dance competitively must be committed to their craft in order to remain competitive. 

Of course, some people dance simply because they want to and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. There is really no bad reason to dance unless you are being forced to do so against your will. Otherwise, when it comes to dancing, the best reason to dance is that the music leaves you no other option but to dance.



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.