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Posts tagged ‘Dancing’

Cooking On the Grill

Summertime is rapidly approaching. This means it is time to begin preparing meals without heating the house whenever possible. If you haven’t considered the value of cooking on the grill in the past, perhaps now is a great time to adjust your way of thinking.

Cooking on the grill is a great way to keep the heat of cooking outside your home as well as to bring the family together for the entire cooking process. Moms read: this is a great way to get dad to help out with meal preparation. While this is said somewhat in jest, there is some truth to the fact that men are much more inclined to slave away over a hot grill than a hot stove. More importantly, most of the mess of cooking on the grill remains outside your kitchen. I don’t know about you, but that is a huge bonus for me, when it comes to cooking.

Cooking on the grill is also a great way to get the kids involved in the meal preparation and clean up process. We like to use disposable plates when grill cooking and keep the dining <I>al fresco</I>. If you are hoping for instant family unity over the picnic table you might want to think again but there isn’t anything quite like it when it comes to not worrying about spills or dropped food as you can rest fairly certain that the animals will take care of anything that gets left behind.

Even small children can help when cooking on the grill by bringing utensils to the grill, holding plates, and ‘setting’ the picnic table for your dining experience. If you intend to do a good deal of cooking on the grill you may want to invest in some portable and ‘kid friendly’ containers for things such as condiments, napkins, plastic ware, and tablecloth holders. Be sure to find containers that can handle a decent gust of wind without flying off too. These may be a little heavier for your little ones to hold but they won’t be nearly as difficult to chase when blowing across the lawn.

Cooking on the grill is a great way to enjoy nature after a long day of work. Be careful that you do not reserve this as a weekend event as you will find you miss out on some of the relaxing qualities it can bring to your midweek slump. One thing that can definitely be said about grill cooking is that the selections are almost as limitless as they are when cooking on the stove. You must use your imagination for maximum effect though very few meats and vegetables are truly off-limits when it comes to cooking on the grill.

In addition to cooking meats on the grill, it is important to keep in mind that you can also cook all kinds of fresh fruit and vegetables on the grill as well. You should also keep in mind the awesome side dishes that go great with grilled foods such as baked beans, potato salad, and nice cool deserts and pies.

Cooking on the grill is a great way to bring family and friends together. The next time you plan to have a get together why not make it a night of cooking on the grill? You can have the best of all worlds with no muss, no fuss clean up and great food with good friends. Cooking on the grill is certainly a great way to get the neighbors out and about. There’s nothing on earth that can quite compare to the aroma of meat, fruit, and vegetables grilling over hot charcoal. If you don’t remember and your mouth isn’t watering just reading about, it’s been far too long since your last barbecue experience.

The most important thing to remember about cooking on the grill is that it should be an experience rather than a chore. Most of us truly enjoy the thought of having a good dinner under the sun or stars (whichever applies in your case). If you haven’t tried this in a while, it’s time to dust off the grill and refresh your memory and your taste buds.

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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.

Choosing The Right Exercise For You

The type of exercise you do all depends on you and what you like to do.  What you hate doing, paying membership fees, and whether or not to buy equipment are all things you need to consider as well as answer.

If you choose something that you don’t like to do, you aren’t going to keep doing it for a long period of time.  Give it some thought – if you don’t like jogging, you aren’t going to get up at 6 AM and go running.  If you can’t find something you like to do, choose something you hate the least, which will normally be walking.

Walking is great exercise, as it suits all levels of fitness.  Anyone can start a walking program at any time, it’s normally the intensity and duration that differs.  Walking is also a social exercise, as it isn’t difficult to find a training partner to chat with while you exercise.  Walking with a partner will also make time go by faster.

No matter what exercise you choose, you should start at a low level of intensity and build it up over a period of weeks, which is essential to the longevity of your exercise program.  If you start off too hard, you could end up with an injury which will require time off to get over.

If you are really in bad shape, you should start off by walking for 10 minutes each day.  Then, increase it by 5 minutes every 2 weeks.  To make things more interesting, you should try walking a different course every few days.  You can also roster a different friend to walk with you each day of the week.

If walking isn’t your thing, then you may want to try a fitness center.  They have loads of variety and normally have trainers on hand to answer any questions you may have.  When you choose a fitness center, make sure that they give good service.

If they aren’t willing to treat you well before you join, then they certainly won’t after you join.  You should also make sure that the equipment they use is well taken care of.  It’s easy to find out, as all you have to do is listen to the machines.  If they squeak a lot or make noise, then chances are they aren’t being taken care of.

If you still aren’t sure what you should do, then you should look into golf or tennis.  Both are good social activities in most areas, and you can even meet new friends.  Tennis is great for fitness although it isn’t for someone who is just starting out.  If you haven’t exercised in a long time, then golf may be the best activity for you.

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.

How to find an agent?

You may have the talent and skills to make it big in the show business but the attempts to break into the industry are futile without an agent and to be precise a right agent. A good agent is critical to the success of your efforts to get into show business. There are many agents who advertise to get candidates, some look out for them on the roads and malls promising a bright future to the prospective actors. But beware of these agents. Reputed agents never advertize to get actors. They already have a bee-line at their door and thus would never be required to advertise, their hands are always full with aspiring actors willing to get a break in this fantastic industry.

But before working with an agent question yourself what you are looking for in an agent. Decide whether you want a union or a non-union agent. Also important is to do a self check of your desires, your talents and decide what type of agent you need at this juncture of your career. It is well understood fact that though not impossible but actors seldom sticks with one agent during their career. Also many a times agents provide only extra work to the aspiring actors instead of principal roles due to their limited reach to the well-known directors. Also look out to see if the agent has a big list of names or only few. The fewer the clients he may have the lesser the demand or popularity of that agent.

But how do you find a good agent? Locating a good agent is not so easy. While few out of business may advertize but the fact is majority of the agents do not advertize and are thus very difficult to locate even on yellow or white pages and the fact is good agents do not need to advertise. One of the legitimate places to find a right talent agent is actingland.com which is a very popular website for online acting community where you can find many talent agents and their contact details. It has the list of all the agents affiliated to Screen Actors Guild and also American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. These agents are also called acting union affiliated agents as they follow the code of conduct putt forth by these two unions and stay away from non-scrupulous practices. All major cities have agents affiliated with these unions which are also called franchised agents. The reason why franchised agents are important to the success of aspiring actors is they put their client’s interest above their own and go that extra mile to ensure their success. Not only that they also work towards better pay for their actors and help make actors smart decisions.

You can also contact Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists to get the names and addresses of their affiliated agents. Once you get a list of talent agents you should start mailing them your resume and headshot copies. If you live or plan to work in a big city you can start out with few at a time and then continue on likewise. One of the other ways to find a good agent is to get noticed by working in plays in your area and never forget to have a copy of your resume and headshot handy when you travel. Also social networking helps a lot in finding a right agent. Attend local events and make friends with other aspirants to broaden your knowledge about the industry and its current affairs. One of the key to finding an agent is to be patient as you may not find a good agent at the first go but in fact it may take several meetings with the agents until you find a right one. Once you find a right agent your problem is nearly half solved.

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.

Theater Arts – History of Opera

 In the 1600s Opera started to flourish in Italy. French opera was popular for adding the element of dancing to opera other than the already existing elements such as singing and music. In Italian, opera means works and in Latin it means the plural of labor. This means that there can be duet, trio, and group singing. It also utilizes various aspects of the spoken theater, like costume and backdrop.

Greek were the first known theater artists especially people from Athens. Their theater plays included all the elements like acting, dialogues, singing, scene, dancing, chorus and music. This art was cultivated by different civilizations having few or all the elements. One of them was the opera. The western classical theater arts which involves conveyance through singing and dancing and not through dialogues, is known as Opera. Composition by Jacopo Peri, Dafne, was written in 1597 and was the first known composition specifically meant for opera although it was inspired by Greek theater arts, but it no longer exists. Euridice composition by Peri written in 1600s was the first recorded composition which is available till this date.

The performances are most of the times accompanied by chorus and instrumental music. Libretto is the word in opera and there have been great composers who have written famous libretti like Richard Wagner. Handel was the famous German composer who wrote for theaters in England. Mozart and Lorenzo da Ponte are famous for the great musical works which were played during the opera performances.

There are two types of singing in opera. The first is recitative in which the story is being narrated in a non-melodies style and the second is aria, where the performers were more melodious. Chorus is used as a commentator and sometimes as a narrator. Subcategories of recitative are secco or dry recitative and Accompagnato or Stromentato in which orchestra accompanies the performance.  Opera can be further classified as singspiel, operetta, semi-opera and opera comique. In these types of opera, dialogues are used on the contrary, instead of recitative. Ariosto too is replaced by semi-melodic passages.

Opera started with court performances and then shifted to royal theaters. In 1637 this performance was open to public when the idea of opera festival in Venice was brought up by Monteverdi. It was then known as Baroque opera which had a mixture of both the tragic and comic elements along with some education. This started a reform which was promoted by Venice’s Arcadian Academy. Metastasio was a part of this academy and his libretti became famous till the end of the eighteenth century in Italian opera. And this mixed with baroque opera was known as opera buffa.

The characteristic of Opera Seria is that it had a high tone along with secco kind of recitative. It was greatly liked due to it highly stylized form and the singers at that time were very popular and Opera Seria was in great demand all over Europe except France. The hero had the castrato voice such as Farinelli and Senesino and the heroines had the soprano’s voice such as Faustina Bordoni. Alessandro Scarlatti, Porpora and Vivaldi were some of the great Opera Seria composers. 

But Opera Seria had few loopholes. It concentrated more on drama and left music, singing and ballet behind.  It was Francesco Algarotti who brought all this elements back with his composition Essay on the Opera. He was then followed by other great composers such as Niccolo Jommelli, Tommaso Traetta and the most successful, Gluck. He used rich orchestra and vocal lines and brought a reform in Opera Seria.

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.