Sunday, 24 January 2016

Brazilian Samba: A Fascinating Overview for You

Think of Brazil and the two things which immediately come to your mind are its popular soccer and enigmatic samba dance.  While some other dance forms do exist in Brazil, samba is the one aspect, which has become inextricably intertwined with the country’s culture and lifestyle.

Brazil comes alive especially during the carnival time as people sway to Samba beats. A large number of tourists too throng there for an up–close view of the great Rio carnival. Here is for you a fascinating overview of one of the most alluring world dance forms of all time.

History of Samba dance and music

This old Brazilian style of dance finds its root in a pre-Lenten feast of Portuguese settlers of Brazil of the eighteenth century. As a part of the annual celebration, Samba has been performed as a street dance ever since 1723.

The modern carnival is an occasion for Samba to be performed in different styles; but of them all Samba No Pe is considered the oldest; it has evolved into various styles to match different cultures and races. Samba is no more considered just a dance form. It has rather become the country’s pride, which Brazilians honor and protect with their heart and soul.

Fascinating Samba dancers

You just can’t explain in one word what’s so fascinating about Samba dancers! It is difficult to say which aspect of the dance is the source for that fascination – their graceful moves and awesome talent, or lavishly beaded and sequined gorgeous attires, or unique themes, or the overall grandeur. Well, it is actually a balanced blend of all these aspects and a few more elusive ones.

Samba steps are not as easy and simple to master, as they may appear to be at first sight: dancers need to devote considerable time and attention to hone in on achieving a certain level of mastery over this art form.

Gorgeously designed Samba costume with beads, sequins and feathers is yet another reason why you can’t take your eyes off the dancers. They dance so gracefully and lively that after some time you wouldn’t even notice their skimpy attire fading into the background: it is the dance and not the dancer that would be so very absorbing!

Stimulating Samba dance steps

Mainly focusing on hip and knee movements, Samba dance steps can be extremely stimulating and exciting. Learning the steps can be real fun. Beginners can try out Walking Samba as it is easy to master. Samba No Pe, the oldest style is still considered the most popular street dance, which is performed during the carnival.

Volta step is more technical as it involves complete knee bounce and walking movements. Apart from these, there are various other forms like Samba tempo, solo dance on your own or with the crowd and some titillating moves performed by female dancers to emphasize the symmetry of their body especially their well-pronounced curves.

Unique Samba instruments

Traditional musical instruments like 4-String Banjo, Agogos, Cuica, Ganza, and Pandeiro are typically used to build up quick tempo and magical beats. Sometimes these are accompanied by saxophone, drum set, acoustic guitar, keyboard, tambourine, and trumpets too. Mostly these instruments are used to create high-pitched or deeply vibrating music and driving rhythm.

A dance form which requires constant and scintillating movement, Samba is a sure way to keep you fit and healthy. And not to overlook the fact that you get exposed to a very captivating Brazilian culture, mesmerizing Samba dance moves take you into a completely different realm, which you will cherish forever!

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Becoming a Successful Freelance Dancer: Five Tips for You

Picking up a career option which is financially rewarding and psychologically satisfying is not that easy. While freelancing in general does provide the freedom to do what you really love to do, monetary rewards may or may not follow. If that career choice happens to be dancing, then the hesitation is much greater.

Not many are aware of freelancing scope in the field of dancing, and there are many who feel this profession can’t ensure sustainable income. The reality is that the life of a freelance dancer might not be smooth to start with, but rewards definitely follow if you can stay sane in the game! Here are five tips for you to be so.

Be practical and stay focused

Just like any other profession, you need to adopt a focused approach. It might sound contradictory to your artistic inclination, but if you don’t know how to stay practical then it would be tough to survive in this profession. Be prepared for initial disappointments, but don’t let these setbacks weaken your spirit and determination.

Expand the network

You might be a good dancer, but if you are not well-connected then surviving as a freelancer will be tough. Spread the words through social networking sites about your dancing skills and experience. Try to tie up with some dance troupes and choreographers to be a part of their programs on a regular basis. This way you can have better exposure and also ensure a steady flow of income.

Juggle well the schedule

Once you develop a good network, it is bound to fetch more work. This in turn means more rehearsals and programs with multiple choreographers or dance groups, sometimes within the same week.

As a freelance dancer, you need to be perfect about schedule juggling. Keep track of the show dates and make sure to reply e-mails or phone calls promptly. At the same time, be careful about overstretching and overstressing yourself.  

Keep the money factor in mind

You love to dance and enjoy the freedom too, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t care about money! Since dancers mostly earn on a project basis, there may not be a regular income each month. It is always better if you can work out a full-time contract with a dance group, which promises a consistent pay. Or else try to engage yourself in other activities related to dancing like teaching choreography in order to supplement your income.

Carve out a niche for yourself and keep learning

In today’s competitive world, if you want to succeed as a freelance dancer then it’s very important for you to concentrate on a particular dancing style be it jazz, foxtrot, salsa or any other: carve out a niche for yourself in that style with which you are comfortable and confident about. Keep learning and improving to stay in the game and also to ensure that you present something unique in every performance. 

Now the big question is “Can anybody take up freelance dancing and become successful?”: the answer is ‘Yes’ provided you are dedicated, focused and smart enough to overcome unfavorable and unusual circumstances. Freelancing offers freedom, so enjoy it! At the same time, never stop learning. Be grateful that you have dance in your life and the ability to earn from it.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

How You can Perform a Dance Show without Stage Fright

‘Stage fright’ is the most uncomfortable liability for performers before a live show. Ask any confident performer, and they would admit to the stage fright they experience every now and then. It’s normal therefore if you feel nervous and unsteady before going to the stage. Sometimes you might feel totally debilitated just thinking of performing live onstage. If it happens to be a dance show or a competition, then the stage nervousness tends to increase manifold. Even world-class dancers would confirm that stage fright does occur before crucial performances.

The problem is that stage fright can have a negative effect and turn out to be a deterrent to excellence. The good news is that it is actually easy to overcome such nervousness by training your body and mind to function in unison. Discussed below are a few simple tricks which can be followed to perform confidently onstage dance shows.

Emphasize on greater technical control

Try to achieve better technical control of your footwork. You might not realize it, but casual execution of dance moves look even sloppier on stage. Focused placement is the most favored technique adopted by dancers to strengthen dance gestures.

Dance with ease

Your dance shouldn’t look like a strenuous aerobic exercise, when your muscles appear tensed up trying to control dance gestures. This starts showing on your face and movements. The best way to achieve a level of perfection, poise and ease is by visualizing as if your body has separated from midsection! Now try to maintain precise movements and gestures of legs, while letting your upper body relax completely and yet with vibrancy and fluidity.

Bridge the distance with your audience

While dancing, don’t take your audience to be a non-entity who doesn’t really bother about your eye movements. Try to avoid blank glaze or a stare of self consciousness which reveals your uneasiness on being watched. Also it is not good to roll your eyes, which gives the impression that you are trying to recall steps! Focus your eyes as it makes you appear more intelligent and attractive than with a blank stare.

Don’t turn your back to the audience

As far as possible commence dance phases in such a way that you avoid turning your back to the audience. However, if the choreography demands so, then place your body slightly sideways and turn your head in such a way that you present a partial profile of your face and not the back of your head.  This should be particularly remembered while finishing a dance or moving away to create space for other dancers. A lateral movement is always suggested across the stage in such instances.

Try to portray the character accurately

Feel the character that you are portrayingConnect with your partners and fellow dancers and above all with the audience in a genuine manner. This is what surely helps you radiate a positive energy on stage. The audience loves and appreciates such a lively dance performance.

Dancing is a pleasing, fulfilling and cherishable experience, which becomes alive when performed with spontaneity. Find ways to do that and you will never have problems of performing successfully to a big audience.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

You can Dance for Therapeutic Purposes

Dance can be used as a beautiful means of communication and expression. This simple concept laid the groundwork for dance therapy which was first conceptualized during the 19th century dance movement. Going beyond art and entertainment, the basics of dance therapy concentrate on studying, interpreting, warming-up, intervening, verbal processing and finally the warming down phase. Every dancing institute has its own way of conducting such dancing sessions, either in a structured or a non-directive manner, depending on participants’ comfort levels.

These training centers refute the notion that therapeutic dancing programs are meant only for elderly persons suffering from serious physical conditions. They declare that the session is about healing ‘You’ in totality irrespective of your age or background. Discussed below are a few interesting facts about dancing therapy which you may not be aware of.

Issues that Dance Therapy addresses

There are several chronic physical, psychological and social problems which can be healed through dancing therapy. The sessions cover a wide range of illnesses like chronic pain, obesity, arthritis, hypertension, dementia, anxiety, depression, autism, communication disorder, aggressive behavior and many more. In fact some claim that a life-threatening disease like cancer too can be treated with movement therapy.

Main objectives of the therapy

The therapy rests on the theory that it can facilitate improvement of life-span by preventing, diagnosing, and treating issues that can disrupt healthy functioning. Treatment goals are developed by assessing the participant’s condition, and plans are implemented to achieve these objectives. Continuous assessment is done and the sessions are adjusted to meet the participant’s changing needs.

How movement therapy differs from regular dancing

While the basic purpose of both is the same viz., to help dancers acquire good health and cheerful mind, dancing for therapeutic purposes has a more specific purpose. Each movement or step of the dancer doesn’t remain limited to exercise; it turns out to be an element of a language of its own.

Participants are directed to communicate their conscious and unconscious feelings and emotions through dance, which the therapist assesses and responds in kind. This has coined the term movement vocabulary which signifies physical expressions and not spoken words.

How dance therapy sessions are conducted

There are several techniques which the trainer adopts to address the needs of specific participants of which “mirroring” is very common. The participants’ movements are matched or echoed to demonstrate understanding of and sympathy for one another, and validate their experiences. Sometimes jumping rhythms are incorporated into the dance therapy especially for a group suffering from depression.

A research finding says that a reduced level of vertical movement is the key cause of depression. In certain cases the participants are asked to physically illustrate a therapeutic challenge or an achievement with the help of the ‘movement metaphor’. Single, couple or group methods are adopted as deemed fit by the trainer.

Where to learn dance lessons for healing purposes

There are many recognized dance institutes which conduct general and special dance classes. They are very particular about organizing therapy classes, ensuring that participants with similar issues remain in one group. Total confidentiality is maintained as participants with disabilities are found requiring safe spaces to express themselves.
Learning to dance is great fun. When you do it to get relief from long-term ailments, it gives you greater happiness from deep within. Join the dance therapy classes shedding your worries and inhibitions to emerge as a confident and healthy human being!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Five Hustle Dance Steps You Would Love to Learn

If you are planning to participate in a dance contest or just love to scorch the dance floor during weekends, then you can surely try out some Hustle dance moves to bring back the 1970s charm. Hustle was basically known as a Line dance which was not commonly performed till 1970. Then came the movie Saturday Night Fever, where John Travolta and Karen Lynn Gorney partnered, tapped their toes to the high octave disco music and the world went crazy about Hustle!

The disco dance moves have changed a lot since Saturday Night Fever days and have now become extremely popular in night clubs and social gatherings. The one reason why Hustle is favored is because you won’t have to worry about finding a dance partner after hitting the dance floor in a club, as this is a repeat dance performed by solo dancers. Modernized it is, nevertheless one can’t have problems with the few basic Hustle steps which are not only easy to master but extremely appealing too. 

Step back and move forward

It is very simple and more like a walking step. It begins by stepping back as you end up almost four to five feet back from the position you started. Attempt some lively arm movements, and try wiggling your hips, as long as you are comfortable doing that.

After moving back, you need to do the reverse steps now. This means you have to perform just the other way and walk backward.  At the end you should be in the same spot from where you started.

The three step combination

Instead of stepping back and forth, this three-step combination makes you move to the right and then to the left. It is a sidewise stepping movement which ends with a clap over your shoulder. Rather than embellishing it with fancy moves in the beginning, concentrate on the basic steps and the beat.

The Travolta step

This is what John Travolta did to immortalize disco dancing in the movie Saturday Night Fever: a sinuous and smooth movement whereby he wiggled a bit while pointing his right hand up to the right, in the air. One can do it up to 10 times and repeat for the other hand, and that is the Travolta step. You are not supposed to move your feet while performing this move.

Roll & Chicken

The step looks as if you are rolling up a long paper towel! Your forearms and elbows should be positioned properly; otherwise the move won’t look that supple. The ‘chicken’ part is more about chest isolation, when you push out your sternum as arms move down to your sides. The step can be subtle or strong, depending on beats.

The Right-Foot Quarter Movement

The last step concentrates on specific movement of the right foot. You move forward with the right foot as your toe touches the floor in front, and then perform the step backward and sideways.

After completing these five basic Hustle steps, everyone in the group should be facing the same direction. This is one dance move which can keep going till the song finishes or changes. You get ample time in between to mingle with the group and have some great time!

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Invigorate Your Life with Tango

Dancing is a beautiful art form that finds its expression in elegant performance. When a dancer shimmers with pure aura and poise while moving her body gracefully, that’s a visual treat in itself! If the dance is as sensuous and passionate as Tango, the dancers and even the audience often have this feeling of timelessness; the only things that matter at that moment are the soulfulness of the dance, the constant flow of music and the sense of endless soaring into the heavens. No wonder then that learning how to perform Tango has always remained a dancer’s dream.

Tango dancing is unique in that it can be danced in both the traditional and contemporary forms. The style that initially became popular as a Latin-American dance form has now turned international. It has been warmly and eagerly embraced by countries around the world. Tango has turned even more beautiful and aesthetic by marrying different fantastic style features. Exploring this fascinating dance form has thus turned into an exciting process where every day you come across something new and something magnificent. Tango Dancing can undoubtedly invigorate your life. How does it work? Here you go!

Enables you acquire grace and poise

This dancing style is characterized by elegance and self-control. While the modern Tango connects from waist down, the Argentine form is more about connecting from shoulder up. Both however emphasize on body closeness and intense movements. 

Bonds you intimately with your lover

If you want to say it on the dance floor, then Tango perhaps is the best option! Over time, this Latin American dance has become synonymous with romance. It is the pure closeness of the ‘dance frame’ that guarantees an exhilarating intimate adventure in each step. While it allows the man to feel absolutely in-charge, it makes the lady feel her man’s power and control with every movement.

Unique style helps you steal the limelight 

Dancing is an art form, which is not easy to master, and it is truer in the case of Tango. So if you perform Tango gracefully, you can steal the limelight, and win respect from friends, peers and strangers as well. Instead of trying out silly gimmicks to show off and to draw attention, establish your individuality; learn Tango. That would instantly make you desirable and reveal a unique side of your personality with which not many are familiar. It reveals your secret talents and establishes you as a confident human being, who knows how to express yourself without words.

Opens a great possibility in Competitions

The Tango style has dominated the dance competition scenario worldwide since long. Every year “The Dancing World Championship and Festival” is held in the city of Buenos Aires during the month of August. Dance aficionados from distantlands flock to this city to make the event memorable.In addition, dance competitions are held throughout the year, to pick the most graceful and vibrant Tango dancers. Receiving acclaim in any of these competitions, wins you instant recognition worldwide. 

Now that you are convinced about the significance of this beautiful dance style, it is time to vitalize your life with Tango. Don’t go with the flow and pick just any dance institute. Choose the best trainer who is conversant with American style ballroom dancing in general and the Tango dance form in particular. Discover the power and vivacity of Tango, and invigorate your life!

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Your first dance at your wedding: 5 reasons for good practice

Is that the wondrous time of your life when you have found finally your life partner? Are you now planning for the joyous occasion –  picking the perfect wedding dress, ordering a terrific tiered cake, making splendid seating arrangement and finding the best photographer to take pictures that you will treasure for life? Planning a wedding can be as much stressful as it is joyous.

All things small and big demand constant attention to detail. Your wedding dance is one of those important things, more so if it is your first dance. Nervous about it, aren’t you? Don’t be! With a little forethought and practice with a good dance instructor, you can have a wonderful plan for that too.

1.   Make everything perfect for the great event

It is indeed a touching moment when the handsome groom takes the hand of the pretty bride and leads her on to the floor for the first dance.. You want that dance to be perfect, don’t you? You can make it perfect by taking excellent dance lessons before the wedding. Pick out a song that speaks to both your hearts and ask your dance instructor to choreograph it for you. With a little practice, you will learn it well in no time.

2.   Let it be a great way for both of you to bond

You’ve said, “I will”, to the person you love. What better way is there to strengthen that bond than by doing something exciting together during the days just before the wedding? When you’re busy planning the wedding celebration, it gets hard to get a moment alone with yourwould-be spouse. Your dance classes can be the best time for you to catch up with each other and spend a few intimate moments.

3.   Easen the stress of wedding preparations

A wedding needs a lot of preparations. Planning every one of them can be very stressful. Differences of view points and preferences can surface about everytyhing, and tempers flare with all your family and friends around. Sometimes, it just gets too much for you that you might be provoked to say or do strange things. But, every bead of sweat on the wedding will be well worth it, as you would both treasure the sweet memories of the special occasion throughout your life.

Dancing is a great stress buster. Winding down the stressful day with the person you love, while you learn your steps, is a great way to rejuvenate and get ready to face the next day.

4.   Surprise everyone at the wedding by dancing beautifully

Are you just a passable dancer? Are you worried that you will trip or miss a step and make a fool of yourself during your first dance? Don’t be! With a good dance instructor, and with the right technique and routine, you will be moving flawlessly over the floor, You will make the guests gasp and blow them away. Don’t be surprised if everyone wants a dance with the bride.

5.   Look your best shape

Many brides diet to look their best before the wedding. The downside of this is that they also look sickly because of excessive dieting and stress. By dancing, you can look flawless and in great shape in your wedding gown. Dance is one of the best forms of exercise. It tones and sculpts your body and makes you fit. You will glow, as a bride should, at the wedding.

Grab your fiancé and go to sign up for a dance class now!

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