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Why Dance?

When it comes to dance 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
dance. 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 is 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 to 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 dance, the
best reason to dance is because the music leaves you no other option but to
dance.

Why Not Dance?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

The Incredible Importance of Dance

Throughout the history of the world, dance has played a vital role in some of
the most important and life altering celebrations and ceremonies that have
existed. Battles have been fought and won immediately following weapons dances,
Kingdoms have been one and lost and celebrated with dances. Kings and Monarchs
have been crowned then celebrated with dances, and marriages have been
consummated with dances of another kind.

Dance has always been at the center of important events until recent history
when it would seem that dance and the importance of dance to morale has been
lost somewhere in the process. Dance these days seems to be limited to certain
people in certain circumstances or only to those who engage in the art of dance
for the entertainment of others rather than the simple joy of dancing for the
sake of dancing.

Dance is one of those things that should not be a footnote in the journals of
the history of the world. When mankind looses the ability to dance for joy,
there really is no reason for the race of mankind to continue on. The ability
to dance, as an outward expression of emotion is one of those rare things that
separates a man from a beast.

Though the importance of dance seems to have been misplaced in the last century
or so, we are seeing a rebirth of sorts for the love of dance and finally
beginning to understand some of the more important issues that dance addresses.
It is far more than something meant to entertain spectators. It should also
entertain those that are doing the dancing.

In addition to the entertainment aspect of dance, which should not be
diminished, dance is also a physical activity. We live in a world where the
expected lifespan of our children, is shorter than the lifespan of those who
are already adults. The primary reason for this is a lack of physical fitness
and an over abundance of weight. We need to lead by example and show our
children that it is important to do little things that get us off our seats and
moving around. Dance is a great way to do exactly that.

Beyond this however, dance has other fitness benefits. By increasing your
muscle tone and your blood flow by dancing you are giving your heart a 'battery
boost' so to speak. Doing this on a regular basis will lead your heart to be a
much healthier heart than if you were to lead a sedentary lifestyle. Dance also
relieves stress and releases endorphins if your working up a good sweat so to
speak. This makes you feel happy and relieves and reduces instances of
depression.

Another great benefit of dance to those who care is the fact that it increases
muscle tone and gives your body a longer and leaner look over time and with
consistent, disciplined training. Some have also noticed a renewed sense of
grace and constantly increasing self-confidence.

Of course, if these reasons aren't enough to convince you of the important role
that dance can play in your life as well as in society then perhaps you should
just get out there and dance. Try it out, see how much fun it is to dance for
no reason other than to dance and then try to explain why we as a society do
not need to engage in such activities a little more often.

So You Think You can Dance

If you are a fan of reality television chances are that you have heard of the
hit show on Fox by the name of "So You Think You can Dance". If you are a fan
of "American Idol" then this show just might also be of appeal to you. It is
much like the wildly popular Fox hit, American Idol only the focus is on dance
rather than vocal talents.

Much like American Idol, So You Think You can Dance has an audition process by
which the wheat is separated from the chaff so to speak. The first two episodes
of the season are essentially clips from the audition process showing some of
the hits and misses that have been encountered throughout the process of
whittling down the numbers. It should come as no huge surprise that Simon from
American Idol is also one of the creators for this show which is popular in its
own right though not reaching anywhere near the wild success that American Idol
has experienced.

This show will use dancers with a wide range of background. From street
performers to those that have previously held titles for their dancing skills,
they begin on an even and level playing field and are eliminated as the
competition intensifies and crowd expectations rise. The prize for winning on
this series is $100,000 cash, a dancing role in the Las Vegas show of Celine
Dion and a Hybrid SUV of their very own (I do applaud the efforts of the
producers to make greener choices in this matter by the way).

The show is actually quite interesting on a level that American Idol doesn't
manage to capture. For one, it involves the pairing up of talent that hasn't
worked together previously for the purpose of dance while competing against one
another. Secondly, they lowest scoring couple is allowed the opportunity for one
member to redeem himself or herself by performing solo for the judges. Obviously
this makes for some interesting situations along the way. Yet another
interesting fact about this show is that it throws the competitors into forms
of dance that they are not likely to be familiar with against other performers
who may very well be familiar and comfortable with the style of dance in
question.

All in all, when it comes to dance, the television show So You Think You can
Dance is doing a great deal to educate its watchers about various styles of
dance that they may have never otherwise encountered. If you have always wanted
to learn a little more about the many styles of dance and to see others as they
learn the ropes to some degree, then this is definitely a show you won't want
to miss.

I should also take this opportunity to point out that shows such as Dancing
with the Stars on ABC also provides an excellent venue for education and
entertainment when it comes to dance. In this series celebrities are actually
paired with professional ballroom dancers and put through a ballroom 'boot
camp' of sorts in order to learn the fine art of ballroom dancing then put
through the wringer with judges and voters alike. In truth, any exposure to the
wonderful art of dance is a good thing for many who are overcoming their
preconceived ideas about dance.

Selecting the Proper Dance Shoes

If you've ever been to a wedding or prom in uncomfortable shoes you know the
importance of this process. You absolutely must select comfortable shoes if you
plan to be dancing for a long period of time. Having those gorgeous knock me
dead heels is all well and good for the picture portion of your evening but
when you're dancing you will want to be wearing shoes that you can actually
move around in without wanting to cry. Besides who really wants to risk a
mascara river for the after prom party?

If you want to be sure whether or not your prom shoes will be comfortable for
the big dance event try dancing around the house in them at all hours of the
day and night. Make sure that there is no pinching, rubbing, or blistering as a
result or your will spend the vast majority of your prom night sitting on the
sidelines rather than dancing with your date. The same holds true for weddings.
Pictures are all well and good, so is making that stunning entrance. At the same
time there is nothing quite like being the last one standing when it comes to
the dance floor.

I am a firm believer in cute shoes. I am also a firm believer in having
comfortable feet. Recommendations for heel height are that 2 inches are
actually the best for providing arch support and foot health in addition to
comfort. Yes, this means that this height is actually recommended over wearing
flats. You'll also want to make sure there is plenty of room in the toe area so
that your foot has a little breathing space without allowing room to rub and
potentially blister. In other words a snug (but not tight) fit is preferable to
shoes that fit loosely. You should have your shoes for the big event properly
sized.

If you just can't seem to part with the gorgeous 4 inch stilettos you found on
sale as the perfect companion for your prom or wedding dress, then you should
at least consider a back up pair of shoes that will be much more comfortable
once the entrance has been make, the pictures have been taken, and you lose all
sense of feeling in your feet. It is quite difficult to make complicated dance
step when the voice in your head is screaming "Ouch! Ouch!" with every single
step you make. Your shoes will actually affect almost every once of enjoyment
you experience for the evening there is no reason you should wear uncomfortable
shoes and be miserable for an evening that is supposed to be fun.

You might want to check out dance stores in an around your hometown and see
what they have to offer. They make shoes that are first and foremost designed
to be danced in. They also make some very sassy shoes that are completely
appropriate for formals and would be quite suitable to wear to a wedding or
prom. You can find these shoes online though I recommend against this as you
just can't get them properly fitted online and it doesn't matter how great they
are designed if the shoes do not fit properly, they are quite likely to hurt
your feet. The important thing is that you take the time to find shoes that you
feel will be comfortable for dancing without sacrificing the look you are
attempting to put together.

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.

Learning to Love to Dance

Of all the gifts you can give your children in the world teaching them to love
to dance is one of the greatest. Dancing is a great way to get your children
active, keep them healthy, and in many instances, keep them happy. Throughout
history dance has been said to be an outward expression of joy. I would think
that joy and a way to express it is an excellent legacy to leave our children.

Even Shakespeare understood the importance of dance and the joy that dance was
meant to be the expression of:

  "To sing them too: when you do dance, I wish you A wave o' the sea, 
  that you might ever do"
                                                      --The Winter's Tale

In these words, this was a wish of great importance and meant to be good
fortune to the one that was the object of the affectionate wish. It seems that
somewhere along the way however, far too many have forgotten the great gift
that dancing really is for the mind, the body, and the soul of man and woman
alike.

Teaching your children to love to dance will give them the foundation for a
healthy lifestyle that is lower in stress than many of their friends and
acquaintances along the way will ever know. It will instill in them the value
of discipline and dedication along with the sheer joy of simply moving to the
music. Not everyone is meant to dance on a competitive level but I cannot
possibly believe that we were designed as we were and not meant to dance.

Learning to love to dance is also the greatest gift you can give yourself. Much
like your children you need to bring physical fitness into your life. You need
to reaffirm the importance of discipline in your life. Most of us need to
relieve some of the stress that is in our lives and we all need to take a
little more time for ourselves and concentrate on healing and renewing our own
souls rather than spending all of our available energy nurturing and
revitalizing others.

We need to learn to love to dance as an outlet for pent up emotion as well as
the opportunity to work out those things that drive us from within. We need
dance as a method of battling with ourselves and as a way of expressing our
personal joys and triumphs. Dance is an excellent means for all of these things
and so much more.

There is no such thing as being too healthy. Dance can help lower blood
pressure, increase circulation, improve muscle tone, and simply make you feel
more energetic and alive. There are very few things that can compete with the
invigoration of dancing. Learning to love to dance provides you the perfect
opportunity to improve your overall health and fitness level without feeling as
though you have done something wrong in the process. This is no lose situation
for those who have nothing to lose other than a few pounds that have lingered
far too long.

Now is the perfect time for you to begin the process of learning to love to
dance. Once you've learned to love to dance you need to share that love and
passion with those you love. This would be your friends and family. Dance
together, play together, and live longer, happier lives together.

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.

Learning to Dance

A nation-wide survey made by eighty leading psychologists proved dancing to be
the best-known personality developer. According to the popular syndicated
newspaper feature: "Let's Explore Your Mind," owned by the John S. Dille
Company of Chicago, "There are no delinquents among children who study dancing."

While it is true that you can learn to dance through a study of this book,
nothing can really take the place of a dancing class, because in a class you
have the companionship of others, the inspiration given by a good teacher, and
the fun of sharing your enthusiasm as you develop perfection.

This book, as a supplement to your lesson, will aid you to learn more rapidly,
but dancing is a social skill and in a dancing class you can immediately start
applying it socially. We are by nature gregarious creatures and we enjoy
dancing best when we are sharing our pleasure.

That is why group dances such as the Virginia Reel and the Square Dance will
always be with us in some form.

Besides being one of the oldest forms of art, dancing is probably the most
universally popular. Anyway you look at it -- dancing is fun!

Learning to Dance

Regardless of your previous experience as a dancer, my advice is to start at
the beginning of the book and study it throughout. Only by studying it from the
beginning can you thoroughly understand it.

By moving from the simple to the complex, the complex becomes simple.

Also, let me caution you not to try to progress too fast. Many students,
over-enthusiastic at first, attempt too much, then grow discouraged and stop.
This is commonly referred to as "the curve of learning." We learn rapidly at
first, then we hit a plateau where things seem to be insurmountably difficult,
but if we persist and do not permit discouragement to deter us, we move on
smoothly again.

There is always this lapse after the first wave of enthusiasm. After this
period, enthusiasm rekindles and progress will remain fairly constant.

Learn to do the first simple steps well before taking up the more difficult
steps. To learn to do these simple basic steps well, may seem trifling, but
trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle.

Social dancing is more popular now than ever before. People have time for it.
With each succeeding generation less time is needed to produce the necessities
of life, more time is available to cultivate the artistic and social aspects of
life. In medieval Europe, only the aristocracy learned to dance well. Dances
took place in the courts of kings and queens. Dancing masters were patronized
only by the very wealthy. Later it was adopted by the rich merchant class. In
our time, it is possible for everyone to become an accomplished dancer.

Dancing has been described as poetry in motion. By observing the similarity
between the rhythm of speech, particularly as applied to poetry, and the rhythm
of motion, as applied to dancing, anyone who can recite a simple jingle in
rhythm can learn to dance.

Occasionally a person will come to our studio and insist that he absolutely has
no rhythm. We frequently ask such persons to read: "Mary Had a Little Lamb."
After pointing out to them that they do have a sense of rhythm, or they could
not have recited this poem in perfect meter, they develop confidence enough to
apply themselves to learning rhythm of movement.

I have never met a person who could speak, who could not recite poetry
rhythmically. Reciting poetry, naturally, is easier for most people than moving
the body in perfect rhythm. Some people learn to coordinate more easily than
others, but with practice it can be learned, and it is simply not true that
you, or anyone else, cannot learn to dance because you do not have a sense of
rhythm.

If you are a beginner who has never danced at all, you can, if you apply
yourself, learn all of the steps presented in this book. If you are already
enrolled in a dancing class, you can use this book as a supplement and as a
guide for practice at home. In dancing, as in any other art, practice brings
perfection.

If you are an advanced dancing student, or a teacher, you can find aid and
inspiration here by acquiring a new viewpoint, as the author has found valuable
aid in the dancing books he has studied throughout his career.

Dancing is fun. Unfortunately, however, many persons miss out on this fun
because they do not dance well. Girls are apprehensive that they will not be
able to follow their partners. Men are worried about stepping on their
partner's toes.

Many persons are reluctant to try to learn to dance, because they believe they
do not have a sense of rhythm.

This is regrettable, for all of us have a sense of rhythm. Rhythm is one of the
governing laws that makes for order in the universe. Rhythm appears in many
phases. The competent typist has rhythm; the public speaker, the musician, the
author all make use of rhythm in the practice of their arts.

Even the engine in our automobile has rhythm -- it must fire in perfect time to
operate successfully.

While it is true that some people find it difficult to express their innate
sense of rhythm, this is due largely to some form of inhibition. Primitive man,
completely uninhibited, found it easy to stomp his feet to the beat of a
tom-tom, giving expression to his sense of rhythm.

We do not dance in such an abandoned manner because we feel ridiculous to let
ourselves go so completely. Our desire to express rhythm is tempered by our
feeling that we do not know how to dance as well as others.

Even after learning a few of the simpler steps, some people are still afraid to
relax and keep time to the accompanying music because they fear they will make a
mistake and be ridiculed. This fear of criticism and ridicule can be so
overpowering as to cause certain persons to become immobile. If the desire to
dance is thwarted often enough, a psychological block can be set up in the
nervous system which leads to discouragement and a desire to stop trying, and
these folks say, "I have no sense of rhythm."

Learning to dance is fun -- and it is easy. In a sense it is like learning a
new language -- a language in which moods and emotions are expressed in
movement; a language of rhythm, grace and harmony. It is new -- but in a very
real sense it is the oldest language in the world, for dancing is the oldest
form of art.

We know people danced as far back as the beginning of recorded history. The
dance appeared in various forms in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome.

Dancing gives expression to a deeply rooted emotion in man so profound as to
border on reverence. This is evidenced by the fact that some early dances were
a part of religious rites.

The Bible mentions dancing in numerous places -- one of the most frequently
quoted verses being that taken from the 150th Psalm: "Praise ye the Lord in all
your songs and dances."

There is an instinctive urge in all of us to express rhythm. Primitive men
satisfy this urge by beating drums and dancing around a campfire until they
drop from sheer exhaustion. We, of the civilized world, satisfy this same
instinctive urge in a more cultured way. We dance in a conventional manner to
rhythmic music and conform to certain set patterns. We observe the rules of
conduct that society has set for us.

Dancing is a wholesome, natural outlet for the emotions. It develops grace and
poise, timing and balance. Men take pride in their ability to lead their
partners with assurance and poise. Girls enjoy the ability to follow their
partners smoothly, expertly and correctly. The ability to dance develops
personality, and above all -- it is fun.

Learn How to Line Dance

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 method of bringing fitness back into the everyday.

Line dancing has been associated primarily with country music for a 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 for
going 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 traditionally 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.

Learn How to Dance

If there is one thing in life that is sure it is this. No one is born knowing
how to dance. We all have an inner sense of rhythm and quite frankly some have
it and some simply do not. It is true that not everyone is meant to dance
competitively and some will never refine their skills enough to make their way
out of the mosh pit. However, there are those who have that inner sense of
balance and rhythm. With proper instruction and the right inspiration these
people have the potential to become phenomenal dancers.

Learning how to dance is a process that works differently for different people.
Some learn best by one on one instruction. Others manage to learn simply by
watching others dance. Some require a little bit of competition in order to
properly motivate themselves to push their limits and really give dancing their
all. The good news is that there are dance lessons and classes that are
appropriate for all different learning needs when it comes to dance.

That being said, in order to dance on a competitive level it is quite likely
that you will need to incorporate a little bit of all different methods of
teaching and learning for the best possible results. There is nothing wrong
with watching others dance and learning and deriving inspiration from the moves
they make. You can also discover flaws, weaknesses, and mistakes by watching
others dance and learn from those as well.

That being said, you will never learn as much from merely watching other
dancers or instructions on a video tape as you will in a classroom or one on
one environment. Dance is fluid and there are certain technicalities to the
steps but there are other things involved that mark the difference between a
dancer with some degree of technical skills and a truly great dancer. Some
things have to be pushed and prodded from within you and only a qualified
instructor can really accomplish that.

The thing is most, who want to be dancers, should not settle for simply
learning how to dance. They need to learn how to feel the music and use the
music and their bodies to tell a story. That is what dance is about. Not the
execution of even complicated movements. Dance should be an emotional outlet
more than anything else. This is the way dance has been throughout history. It
is only in the last century or so that we have turned dance into a sport rather
than an art form and it has lost some of its potency as a result. Those who
truly understand that real dance is delivering a message rather than delivering
movements however are the successes that simply can't be matched.

If you wish to learn to dance, you need to carefully consider your reasons for
doing so before deciding on your method of learning. I strongly recommend a
little of all the different methods. One thing to keep in mind however, is that
if you learn from more than one instructor you will be chided for needing to
unlearn bad habits. It's an ego thing I believe. Most instructors prefer rank
novices so that they do not have to 'unteach' any bad habits. Otherwise, you
should choose the instructor that you feel will not only teach you how to dance
but also encourage you to dance to the fullest of your potential. Those are a
little more difficult to come by.

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.

Irish Step Dancing

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 affect 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.




Ice Dance for Those Who Love a Challenge

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 dominate 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 to be 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 giving 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 is 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 are 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.

I Hope You Dance

There are many things in life we can do to show emotions and let others know
how we feel. Some people sing, some people write poetry and prose, some retreat
within themselves and hold it all inside. Others dance. Dance has for centuries
been a way to express a wide range of emotions. It is an excellent outlet for
the emotions that at times our minds simply cannot process. Dancing is a method
in which you can work through those emotions and to some degree move on with
your life in spite of emotional upheaval.

Believe it or not, many people believe that belly dancing (or Oriental Dance)
brings not only emotional healing but also physical healing for some
conditions. Dance is well known as a form of exercise but belly dancing is a
type of dancing that is body friendly. This means that you do not need to be in
the best of physical shape to enter into this sort of dancing. You will not have
to worry about stress on your joints due to high impact moves that other forms
of dance require. You should also note that the movements in oriental dance
these moves are smooth and natural.

Among the health benefits you can experience through Oriental Dance are
improved circulation, lower blood pressure, improved joint health, and the
burning of calories. Some believe that in addition to the health benefits
mentioned above that Oriental Dance can also help improve whiplash symptoms and
back problems. If you are considering belly dancing to address these sorts of
symptoms you really should consult with your doctor before doing so and make
sure that you have a highly qualified instructor.

When it comes to Oriental Dance, physical healing isn't the only sort of
healing that is often experienced. Many dancers also find themselves letting go
of the stress and tension in their lives as well as some quite traumatic issues
that have been in their past that may continue haunting them long after. For
this reason, Oriental Dance is sometimes recommended for treatments of
emotional issues as well as physical ailments.

There are vides such as Healing Dance that will allow you to learn some of the
basic moves at home. However, if you have the resources within your community
there is really nothing that can replace taking dance lessons with a group of
women. You will find that these women come in all shapes and sizes and from all
sorts of financial, physical, and spiritual backgrounds. It's a solidifying
experience to join with other women for the sake of physical and/or emotional
healing such as an Oriental Dance class will provide.

In addition to the Oriental healing dance there is also the African healing
dance. This is a little more high impact in nature and focuses on healing
through expressions of joy. This is a very uplifting form of dance and one well
worth considering if you would like to focus on feeling happy and energetic and
renewing your joy for living but prefer something that offers a little more
impact than the Oriental style of Dance for healing.

There are also healing water dances or hydrotherapy that are often used in
helping people with specific injuries. These sessions are low impact though
there is some degree of resistance offered through the water for great results.
You should make certain however that if you are considering this sort of dance
you have a qualified instructor and if possible one on one attention.

For many common ailments, there is a good chance that some form of dance exists
that could aid you in recovering from your ailment. Additionally, there are
often classes offered for groups in your area. If you are considering learning
to dance in order to improve your quality of life or just your enjoyment of
life in general, I for one hope you dance.

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.

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.

Dance for Fun

We all have things in life we love to do. Some of these things we love more
than others. Dancing is something that many of us, as we age, forget to make
the time to enjoy. However, dancing is one of those simple pleasures in life
that can also remind us to smile, to play, to spin around until we get dizzy,
and most importantly to enjoy the simplicity of having fun without the worry of
work, family, or finances getting in the way.

It costs very little in most homes to simply turn the radio on, draw the shades
and dance. You can dance with your significant other, your lifelong partner, and
even your children. You do not have to worry about anyone watching and if they
are watching you should take pity that they are spending their time worrying
about what you are doing rather than dancing around and enjoying life to its
fullest.

Native Americans had the right idea when it comes to dancing. Let the beat be
your guide and simply dance. They danced as a means of worship, to express
submission to their gods, to exalt their gods, to display their joy, and as an
outward expression of grief. They danced for love and they danced for war.
Dancing to them was as natural as walking is to many of us and important means
of expressing themselves not only as individual people but also as part of a
larger and unified group.

If you have never danced for fun, it's time to check out the various styles of
dance and see what appeals to you as a style of dance. There are many types of
dance and many different styles of music for those various styles.

Line Dancing

Line dancing is a style of dancing in which dancers line up and dance together
by making the same dance steps at the same time. It has swept not only the
nation but is quickly making its way around the world as an excellent source of
dancing fun. It's also a great way to socialize and meet new people. While line
dancing was primarily limited to country music in the beginning it has quickly
made its way into other styles of music as well. Many bars, dance halls, and
clubs will offer line dancing lessons on slow business nights in order to
encourage extra business. Line dancing can be enjoyed by both men and women.

Square Dancing

This style of dance has a rather long history and has experienced a good degree
of evolution over the past couple of decades. While it was once reserved for hoe
downs and such square dancing is quickly becoming a hobby for many people across
America and a great way to spend an evening and get to know others who share
this hobby. This style of dancing is best enjoyed by couples and can be such
great fun if you let your hair down a bit while participating.

Belly Dancing

Belly dancing can be enjoyed by men and women though it is most commonly
associated with women. Unless you include the appreciation that goes alone with
watching rather than participating and in that case the men may actually
outnumber the women. Belly dancing is a very exotic and erotic form of dance
that is almost always an audience thriller. It may take years to perfect your
belly dancing moves and many study this style of dance their entire lives but
it is a great physical activity that is a lot of fun.

Dancing for fun is not only the best reason to dance by far, but it is far too
often not the reason that people dance. People dance for competition, for
exercise, and for many other reasons but not nearly often enough do we make the
moves simply for the pleasure of doing so. If I could make one suggestion to
everyone reading it is this. Go out and dance for the sheer joy of dancing.

Dance for Children

When it comes to our children, we want to give them the world. Many little
girls and some little boys show an early interest in dance and you should not
worry about gender stereotypes at young ages especially. The benefits of dance
for children far outweigh any potential stereotyping that may come about as the
result. Children, whether male or female can learn many things from dance
classes that go far beyond practical applications in their dancing. These life
lessons are part of the appeal of dance classes to parents around the world.

Dance Teaches Important Lessons

Much like team sports, dance for children can teach some invaluable and
important lessons. Discipline and self-control are very important character
traits when it comes to dance. You must practice and you must hold yourself in
the proper positions for the moves you need to take. Your child will also learn
to take turns, to share attention, and to cooperate with others. These are very
important skills for a young child to develop and dance classes are often
offered for children at a much younger age than many team sports. Your child
will also learn the importance of being a part of a group as many dances
involve everyone in the class.

Dance classes also teach your children about music, rhythm, and beat. Your
child will become more coordinated as the result of their dance classes and
these classes are a great way in which to encourage physical fitness and
exercise. By teaching your child early in life the importance of movement and
fitness you will instill in him or her the tools he or she will need in order
to remain physically fit throughout the course of his or her life.

Dance for children will also help build self-esteem in your child as he or she
accomplishes new goals and tasks each week. You should watch closely however
and make sure that this isn't backfiring by having your child in a style of
dance that he or she finds frustrating. While you do want your child's dance
classes to present a challenge you also do not want them to be so much of a
challenge that your child isn't enjoying them either.

You should also keep in mind that if you are considering a long-term commitment
to dance classes and competitive dance, the financial commitment could be
significant. This is not a cheap alternative to team sports. In fact, quite the
opposite is true at older and more competitive levels of dance. Not only are the
financial commitments serious but also the commitment of time. Dance is a
wonderful method for teaching your child many important skills that will
greatly help develop the character of your child. That being said you should be
aware that if this becomes something in which your child is exceptionally
talented, you might find that the costs are more than you had imagined.

You will also find that there are many different types of dance that are
offered for children. Among some of the more popular are ballet, jazz, tap,
ethnic dances, hip hop, and belly dancing just to name a few. Younger children
will probably take a few creative movement classes rather than jumping into one
specific style. This gives your children a chance to experience different styles
of dance and to discover which moves are more enjoyable and natural feeling to
them.

All in all, dance for children is a great way to build invaluable social
skills. Much more importantly however, it is an opportunity to teach your
children the importance of being part of something larger than themselves. This
is something far too few children really understand and that will serve them
well as they grow and become adults. If you are looking for an excellent studio
that teaches dance for children you should really concentrate on those studios
that place an emphasis on personal development for your child more than
competitive opportunities, particularly in younger years. As your child's
talents and enthusiasm for dance grow you can always choose to move your child
to a more competition focused studio.

Dance Dance Revolution

Those who aren't big fans of gaming systems may not realize that Dance
Revolution is actually a video game for the Playstation 2
gaming system that actually has taken the industry by storm. It was one of, if
not the very first attempts of the gaming industry to combat the idea that
playing games robbed children of the physical activity that is so important to
their overall health and well being.

The solution was to introduce a game in which the players were scored based on
their ability to dance according to the directions of the game. If you haven't
tried this game, let me be the first to tell you that it requires some fancy
footwork and more than some degree of tunnel vision. The really cool thing
about this game is that you can adjust the level of difficulty and combine
games with friends who have the same game for a competition. Competition with
yourself is all well and good but the idea of crushing your friends with your
dance talents is even better.

This is a game that happens to be crossing generational barriers however and
making quite a splash in doing so. Mothers and fathers are competing against
sons and daughters and the wagers are quite fantastic. I know I've been known
to win a week or two off from washing dishes as the result of a rousing round
of friendly competition. The irony is that I'm not really that good at the
game. It is a great deal of fun though and I feel less guilty about letting the
kids play this game for an hour than I do about allowing them to play some "all
your base are belong to us" sort of game for an hour.

The wide popularity of the game should be completely obvious in all the 'knock
off' versions of this game that have already flooded the market. I do expect to
see more games along this line in the near future particularly with the new
Nintendo Wii system making waves for the physical nature of many of their
games. The hope is definitely that the Playstation Dance Dance Revolution. We
have already seen follow up with Dance Dance Revolution 2, Dance Dance
Revolution Extreme, and Dance Dance Revolution SuperNova. I can only predict
that Playstation will attempt to bring this successful line to the ailing
Playstation 3 in the near future.

As far as the workout reality of this game goes you will find that it offers an
excellent aerobic workout and great exercises for your legs. The arms are really
up to you to a large degree. If you chose to approach in a river dance sort of
method your arms are likely to receive quite the excellent degree of a workout
that your legs will receive. However if you put everything into your dance
moves then the revolution will be all the calories you burn as well as the
strengthening and toning you manage as a side benefit.

While very few of us consider video games to be a great source of health or
fitness, this game may be the one exception to the rule. Who would have ever
thought you could get all of these things and so much more from playing a video
game. Next thing you know they'll come out with Mountain Dew that is a health
drink.

Belly Dance Basics

Oriental Dance, also known as belly dancing is one of, if not the most sensual
styles of dance. It is also one of the most beneficial forms of dance there is
healthwise. In addition to the great calorie burning affect of belly dancing
there are other health benefits that this form of dance has become famous for
over the centuries.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ballroom Dancing is Making Waves

Until recently, ballroom dancing often brought about mental images of elderly
couples dancing two inches from their walkers. However, in recent years,
ballroom dancing has developed a new, hipper, sexier image and people of all
ages are standing up and paying attention.

Movies such as Strictly Ballroom and Shall We Dance have contributed greatly to
the newer kinder image that ballroom dancing is developing in the United States.
As an art form, ballroom dance is a beautiful sight to behold. Particularly when
watching those participate on a competitive level.

Because of the rigorous training that is involved in competitive ballroom
dancing, many couples that participate often consider this to be a sport more
than a style of dance or manner of artistic expression. The term DanceSport is
often used in reference to ballroom dancing in the International Style.

There are many styles of dance that fall under the banner of ballroom dancing.
Some of these dances are often considered to be the most beautiful to watch as
well as among the most sensual styles of dance on the planet. Only you can
decide for yourself if ballroom dance is something that might interest you. I
do, however, encourage you to take stock of the various styles and themes
before unilaterally deciding to rule out all ballroom dance as a possible
interest.

International Style

Under the International Style of ballroom dance there are two main categories
of dance. They are Standard and Latin. The Standard style is typically
hallmarked by Fred and Ginger sort of attire. By this I mean that the style of
dress is very formal with men in coats with flowing tails and vests while the
women wear very elegant gowns as part of their costumes. Latin dance is far
more sensual in music, mood, and attire. Men wear tight fitting garments and
women wear very little.

Standard

Not only is the style of dance between Standard and Latin very different but
also the styles of dance. In Standard ballroom dancing you will find the
following dances: the Quickstep, the Slow Foxtrot, the Tango, the Viennese
Waltz, and the Waltz. The Tango for many is the highlight of the Standard event
while others have a deep appreciation for the technical qualities of the many
Standard dances of ballroom dancing.

Latin

For the younger generation, the Latin portion of competitions is the eagerly
anticipated event. The style of dance is very exotic and emotional as well as
incredibly beautiful to watch. The mood this style of dance brings not only to
the dancers but also to the audience is almost palpable. The fan favorites of
Latin dance include the Cha Cha, Paso Doble, the Rumba, the Samba, and Jive
dance. This form of dance is certainly in keeping with the idea that dance is
quickly becoming a sport. The energy required for these dances is phenomenal as
is the fitness level required in order to wear the costumes.

American Style

The American standard when it comes to dance is a little different than the
International Style. The two categories for American Style are Smooth and
Rhythm. There are other differences as well. In International Style the couples
are required to remain in a closed formation. For American Style ballroom dance
these requirements are somewhat relaxed in order to allow for creative use of
footwork. The step patterns for Latin or Rhythm dance are also slightly
different than in the International Style of ballroom dancing though the
sensuality of the music, costumes, and movements are very much the same.

Smooth

The smooth portion of the American Style of ballroom dance includes the
Foxtrot, the Tango, the Viennese Waltz, and the Waltz.

Rhythm

In American Style Ballroom dance the Rhythm portion of the dance includes the
following: the Bolero, the Cha Cha, East Coast Swing, the Mambo, and the Rumba.
The audience still enjoys the intensity of Latin dance and Latin influence
though there are other influences as well. These are still a much anticipated
audience favorite in most competitions.

As you can see, ballroom dance has taken on a new intensity in recent years. If
you have preconceived ideas of what ballroom dance really is, it is time you saw
for yourself how sensual this style of dance can really be.

Ballet Dance Classes for All Ages

For those who are interested in dance classes, ballet lessons in particular,
there are many options from which to choose. In most areas you will find ballet
lessons that are available to students of all ages as well as a wide range of
experience levels. Beginning adults are not uncommon today as more and more
people discover the fitness benefits of incorporating dance, such as ballet
into their fitness routine.

For children, ballet dance lessons often begin quite early sometimes as early
as the age of three. There are no upward limits on ballet lessons at this point
in time to the best of my knowledge. As long as the students are physically able
to do the moves and have a sincere desire to do so, I honestly cannot see them
being turned away from a studio that is truly dedicated to sharing the passion
of dance.

Ballet dance lessons can teach important lessons to people of all ages that go
well beyond your typical dance moves. In fact, one of the greatest lessons that
ballet dance classes teach students is the lesson of discipline. Discipline is
required in order to achieve greatness when it comes to ballet or any other
type of dance or sport. The earlier we learn this lesson the better off we will
be. I recommend getting your children involved in some sort of creative movement
dance or gymnastics course as close to the age of 3 as the dance schools in your
area allows in order to instill the principles of practice as early as possible.

Ballet dance classes for little ones is also an important tool for helping them
learn important socialization skills such as sharing attention, taking turns,
and working as part of a group. Your child will look forward to the experience
each and every week and it will burn off a little bit of his or her excess
energy. As a parent I cannot possibly stress the importance of this on occasion
as it might provide the rare evening where there are no arguments when bedtime
rolls around.

As your child ages and progresses in his or her ballet education you will find
that your child is learning more and more about the importance of participation
within a group, the value of discipline, and perhaps most importantly good self
esteem. These lessons are not to be taken lightly. Another great thing about
ballet dance classes for children and teens is that it keeps them up and active
every lesson they take and every minute that they spend practicing is a moment
that they aren't sitting around mindlessly watching television and playing
video games or stuffing junk food into their mouths.

For adults, the value of ballet dance lessons or any other form of dance for
that matter is much like the value it has for children and teens. Discipline is
an important skill to learn and foster at any age. Even those with some degree
of discipline already can often use another reinforcement method and dance will
definitely reinforce positive discipline in a person. Another huge benefit is to
ballet dance lessons for adults is the fact that it is also keeping you active
and on your feet.

Ballet dance is a form of exercise that happens to work many major muscle
groups at once. Ballet is a very inviting form of exercise for many who would
otherwise avoid exercise all together. The graceful flow and form of ballet are
also moves that force the dancer to bend and stretch while maintaining excellent
posture. The workout may be lower in impact than many other workouts however it
is still burning calories at a much greater rate than sitting around the house
watching television. Ballet dance classes are a great activity to pursue at
almost any age provided you are in proper health to handle the rigors of ballet
dance.

7 Great Reasons to Dance

When it comes to dance there are plenty of wonderful reasons that people elect
to dance. The fact remains that far too few of us manage to incorporate dance
into our lives nearly as much as we should. There are many wonderful reasons to
dance and they do not all require copious amounts of alcohol and someone with a
video camera poised for America's Funniest Home Videos greatness.

Below I will suggest 7 great reasons to incorporate dance into your life as
often as possible. I hope that you will take some of these to heart and find a
few reasons of your own to dance more often.

Love

There are few greater reasons to dance than to show your love for your partner.
You do not have to limit your dancing to your wedding night or an evening out
with friends. All you need to dance with the one you love is some good music
and a little bit of floor space. Dance while you prepare dinner, wash dishes,
or just because it's raining outside. But dance with the one you love and do it
often to keep those flames burning.

Joy

We always hear people talking about dancing for joy but how often do we really
see that happen? What a shame it is that we actually take so few opportunities
to dance in our society. Dancing is an outward expression of joy that is almost
always infectious. Share your joy with the world and you just might find they
will dance along with you. Even if they do not, you should at least be secure
in the fact that at this moment in time you are much happier than they are.

Fun

When is the last time you've danced? Was it fun? I have found very few people
(well other than young boys) who did not have any fun while dancing. The truth
of the matter is that dancing is fun. Whether you are line dancing or trying
the Tango it is great fun to dance.

Flirting

What a wonderful way to flirt dancing can be! If you haven't tried it with the
one you love, there is no time like the present to do so. Find some great fun
and flirty music and dance for the one you love. If you're really lucky, you
might even convince them to join in.

To Make Your Children Laugh

Really, there is no better reason on the earth than this to dance. My kids love
to see me dance the moves that were popular back when dinosaurs roamed the earth
and share their more modern moves with me. It's a great way to enjoy your
children before they decide your evil or during those rare moments when you may
be on the verge of neutral in their opinions.

Fitness

While dancing does a lot to lighten the mood and raise your spirits it can also
help your heart in other ways as well. Dancing is a great way to get up and
moving that doesn't feel as though it is really exercise. This means that you
can help your heart by dancing a little while every day. The longer you dance,
the better you will feel and the healthier your heart will become.

Meet New People

If you decide to take lessons for dancing, you will find that you have the
ability to meet a bunch of great new people. Dancing is a great way that many
people are discovering to have fun and stay fit. This means that more and more
people are joining local dance classes for these very reasons. You might
develop some lifelong friendships through your dance lessons that you would
have missed out on otherwise.

Of course there are many more reasons that different people take up dance. In
fact, you may find an all-together different reason to take up dance for
yourself. Whatever your reason you decide to dance, do it often and have fun in
the process.

4 Great Ways to Learn to Dance

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.






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