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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.

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.

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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.

“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.

Dance to Your Health

We as a world are more aware than ever of the importance of physical fitness to our overall health. While we remain aware of the need for physical activity far too many of us find far too few reasons to incorporate physical activity into our daily lives and routines. There are many reasons that we procrastinate in this particular effort. For some time is the defining factor while others will readily admit that they have no appreciation whatsoever for those activities that come to mind when exercise is considered.

Whatever your reason for not incorporating exercise and physical activity into your daily routine, have you considered dancing for your health? There are all kinds of wonderful reasons to dance though I can think of very few that would be better than dancing for the sake of your health and physical well-being. The good news when it comes to dancing is that in most instances it doesn’t feel as though you are getting exercise and the burning of calories doesn’t sting nearly as much when you’re having fun burning them.

Dancing has evolved a great deal and while the history of dance is a long and noble history. Even, one might add, a quite manly history for those men who haven’t considered dancing in the past.

Benefits of Dancing

In addition to burning calories, a good thing for dieters everywhere, dancing also helps strengthen your muscles and bones. It can provide either a low impact or high impact workout according to your wishes and the music you select, it can be entertaining and feel like fun rather than a chore-this means you are more likely to actually do it than many other exercise programs, and it can help tone all areas of your body rather than focusing on one particular area as many exercises do.

Dancing also provides an excellent opportunity to socialize and meet others if you take classes while in the process helping you gain a better sense of balance and grace (those like me who have absolutely no sense of grace could greatly benefit from this alone). Dancing, and the physical activity alone can help you ward off potential illnesses that are often associated with excess weight and too little physical activity. Even as little as thirty minutes of dance 4 days a week can bring about profound results when it comes to your overall health and well-being.

More importantly however than any of these benefits of dancing mentioned above dancing is fun. This means that you will enjoy life a little, laugh a little, and accidentally work a little physical fitness into your life without feeling as though you are suffering for the sake of doing so. So many people get very little physical activity because they do not see physical activity as fun.

If you are wondering what sort of dance is right for you, there are many from which to choose. Square dancing is great fun for couples as are ballroom and swing dancing. Line dancing, contra square dancing, clogging, and tap dancing can be great fun in larger groups or as a participant in a class. If you want something a little sexier for your dance efforts you can always try Salsa dancing, Flamenco dancing, or belly dancing.

If you live in or around a relatively large community it is quite likely that you can find classes or teachers for private lessons for each of these forms of dance quite easily. You do want to make sure that anyone you take lessons from knows what they are doing. You can also look in your local paper for square dancing groups or bars or clubs that offer line dancing classes on designated nights during the week.

Whether you have been dancing all your life or are a rank novice when it comes to dancing, this is a great way to bring physical fitness into your life and improving your health without feeling as though you are really working for it or experiencing a sense of dread at the very thought.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.