Posts tagged ‘dance’
Dance Quote 1/22/17
Today’s dance quote is by Bob Fosse. He is one of my most inspirational dancers and choreographers that I look up to and thrive to be like. Saying “Fosse”, has a meaning of its own. Say “Fosse” to a jazz dancer and watch them strike a pose with jazz hands and all! He inspiresme everyday to be an amazing choreographer like him. Enjoy!
“Pointe technique is the part of classical ballet technique that concerns pointe work, in which a ballet dancer supports all body weight on the tips of fully extended feet within pointe shoes. A dancer is said to be en pointe when the dancer’s body is supported in this manner, and a fully extended vertical foot is said to be en pointe when touching the floor, even when not bearing weight. Pointe work is performed while wearing pointe shoes, which employ structural reinforcing to distribute the dancer’s weight load throughout the foot, thus reducing the load on the toes enough to enable the dancer to support all body weight on fully vertical feet.”
“Pointe technique resulted from a desire for female dancers to appear weightless and sylph-like. Although both men and women are capable of pointe work, it is most often performed by women. Extensive training and practice are required to develop the strength and technique needed for pointe work. Typically, dance teachers consider factors such as age, experience, strength, and alignment when deciding whether to allow a dancer to begin pointe work.”
“Pointe technique encompasses both the mechanical and artistic aspects of pointe work. In particular, it is concerned with body alignment, placement of the feet, and the manner in which a dancer transitions to and from en pointe. A dancer is said to have “good” or “proper” technique when in conformance with the best practices of pointe technique, which in turn are generally referred to as proper technique.”
- “Body alignment and foot placement are fundamental aspects of point technique, as illustrated by this en pointe dancer.”
Source: Pointe Technique
What are the components that make up a pointe shoe?
“Someone who regularly takes several classes a week can probably start at a younger age than someone who attends less frequently. During the first year of pointe you will probably be expected to take at least three or four ballet classes a week (a minimum of 5 hours).”
“It is hard to tell an eager young dancer that she is not yet ready for pointe shoes. Students — and parents — must realize that teachers have to be firm: there is a risk of serious injury in introducing pointework too soon. Starting pointework is not just a question of age or physical maturity; readiness depends on strength, technique, attitude, and commitment.”
“The bones of the foot are not fully developed until sometime in the late teens or early twenties. Of course, there is a great deal of individual variation. If a young dancer attempts pointework without proper strength and technique, the significant forces created by the combination of body weight and momentum can permanently damage those not-fully-developed bones. Yet if a dancer is truly ready, if the introduction to pointework is gradual and always carefully and knowledgeably supervised, if the pointe shoes are well chosen and properly fitted, there is minimal risk of injury even if the bones are not fully formed.”
“Most dancers are ready to begin pointework between the ages of ten and twelve. Occasionally a supremely strong nine-year-old can safely go on pointe, but this is unusual. There is rarely any harm in waiting. A dancer who starts pointework a year later than her classmates almost always catches up. Many adult beginners are not ready for pointe either, but there is much less risk in their using pointe shoes because their feet have fully grown. In general, these are the criteria for readiness for pointe shoes:”
“Most dancers need at least two to four years of training in ballet technique, with a good attendance record, before going on pointe. Other forms of dance, or classes that mix ballet with other forms, don’t count.”
“Your demeanor shows that you have the maturity for pointework. Your attitude is attentive and hardworking, and your studio etiquette is exemplary.”
“Pointework requires a continual lifting up and out of the shoe. It’s the same strength and skill needed for attaining and sustaining a balance on high demi-pointe on one leg. That means that you can always hold your turnout when you dance, that your abdomen and lower back — your core — are strong, and that your legs, and especially your knees, are really pulled up.”
“You should be in good health, not recovering from illness or injury, and of normal weight. You must possess the stamina to make it through a full ballet class several times a week. You don’t need insteps arched like bananas, but your feet must not be so flat or your ankles so stiff as to prevent you from properly “getting over” onto full pointe.”
“It’s the rare dancer is not tremendously excited about going on pointe. It’s a good sign: an indifferent dancer may not have the perseverance needed for the repetitive exercises pointe training entails. But don’t let your enthusiasm tempt you to practice at home or to wear your new pointe shoes around the house. Proper supervision is so important that some schools require that their students keep their pointe shoes at the studio. And when you are ready to go on pointe, congratulations. You have worked hard for this moment.”
“You must be able to both relevé and piqué up to a balance. Calf and ankle strength are essential. Your relevé must be particularly strong; at least sixteen flawless ones onto a high demi-pointe center floor should be easy. You must demonstrate the correct use of plié in your dancing and know how to work your feet properly in tendu and all other exercises that require pointing the foot — no sickling.”
My Favorite Dance Quotes
This is a little topic I would like to bring up every now and again. I have been a dancer for over 30 years. Jazz is my dance background. I danced it all through school, including college, at UF. Now I am a dance instructor and choreographer. I love to reflect back on famous dance quotes because they always make me a little happier. Seeing any quotes from Martha Graham makes me inspired and proud to be a dancer. Her words have moved me to tears before. Today’s quote that I chose is by Martha Graham. Only right to show her words after I give much praise.
Waltz With Me…
The Waltz is one of the smoothest ballroom dances. It is a progressive dance marked by long, flowing movements, continuous turns, and “rise and fall”. The dance is so graceful and elegant. Waltz dancers appear to glide around the floor with almost no effort.
“When first introduced into the English ballrooms in the early 1800’s, the Waltz was denounced by both church and state for its vulgarity and immorality… this was, after all, the first time society had seen this outrageous dance position, with the man holding the lady so close to his body. But the very thing that brought it such criticism also made it appealing, and the Waltz was here to stay.”
“Throughout its history, the Waltz has undergone many changes. Even before its introduction into society as a ballroom dance, it was a country folk dance born in the seventeenth century in the suburbs of Austria and Bavaria. By the middle of the eighteenth century, the dance had grown in popularity and spread throughout Europe.”
“The Waltz was introduced into the United States in the mid-1800’s. The standard Waltz tempo at this time was still very fast and quite demanding to the average dancer, and before long, composers were writing music which was much slower. From this music evolved a style of Waltz called the Boston, with slower turns, and more longer, gliding movements. While the Boston eventually faded away, it did stimulate the development of what we now know as Slow Waltz.”
“The twentieth century saw two distinct styles of the Slow Waltz evolve. The English refined the movements and codified the technique into the competitive International style, while the Americans developed a Waltz with a more theatrical flavor.”
Visualize the box. The basic waltz steps create the image of a box on the floor. This is why the basic step is called the Left Box. Your feet will stop at the corner points on the box and move along the edges and diagonally across the center. Envisioning this shape will help you as you learn the dance.
“Dance basic steps or add turns. You can dance the basic square movement, especially in the beginning when you are learning the dance. However, it is more common for the waltz to include turns. These are easily added once you are more accustomed to the dance.”
- Lead clasps follow’s right hand in their left. Hold at shoulder’s height.
- Lead places their right hand to cup follow’s shoulder blade.
- Follow places their left hand with fingertips at lead’s shoulder seam.
- Place elbows at shoulder’s height.
- Stand with backs straight, upright, and knees loose.
Edgar Degas, Frieze of Dancers, ca. 1895, oil on fabric, 27⅝ × 79 inches.THE CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART, GIFT OF THE HANNA FUN Few modern artists have achieved the work of the enigmatic painter Edgar Degas. The master impressionist is known for his masterful depiction of movement, human form, color, and dance. The New York […]
An arabesque for each position:
Contemporary Dancers have the tilt, jazz dancers have the layout, but ballet dancers have arabesque.
An arabesque is defined as: a position where the body is supported on one leg, with the other leg extended directly behind the body with a straight knee. The standing leg can be straight or in plie, but the back leg must always be straight. Arabesque can be found in almost every aspect of a ballet, both contemporary and classical, as well as other dance forms. Arabesque can be done with the back leg either on the ground (a terre) or raised in the air.
5 Tips for a Refined Arabesque
- 1. To increase the height of the working leg, open the hip without lifting it, making sure rotation increases as the leg ascends higher.
- 2. The back should be positioned correctly to achieve adequate height. Instead of the strongly arched Vaganova back or the rigidly vertical back espoused by the Cecchetti school, Bennett prefers moving the torso forward to facilitate the leg’s ascent. The chest should be over the toes of the standing foot. A 90-degree back-to-leg angle is the aim.
- 3. To understand the proper positioning of the back: Face the barre in first position. Holding on with both hands, tendu derrire with the right foot. Then, cambré back, feeling the arch in the center of the back. Without standing upright, lift the foot in tendu off the floor as high as you can without moving your back. Then, keeping the same back-to-leg angle, bring your back up to a vertical position, imagining that the big toe is lifting your back. Repeat on the other side.
- 4. Keeping the arabesque square means neither tipping toward the standing leg nor lifting the working hip. For a symmetrical arabesque and a traditional line, square the rib cage by making the right side of the torso even with the left side of the torso (when you’re standing on your left leg), so that you feel the stretch in the middle of your back.
- 5. Lift the chin and look over the fingers of the lifted arms, which are in line with the center of the body.
I have been dancing for over 25 years, and over 15 of those years I have danced Jazz. So you can imagine my intense excitement over talking about the man who invented “Jazz”! I have always had an infatuation about Fosse and his style of dramatic yet perfect jazz choreography and his way of dancing. He lived every moment of his life devoted to dance, being a dancer, teaching others, putting on shows and anything else that could take up his time. The first time I saw “All that Jazz”, I was in college, and almost angry at myself for not learning about Fosse years before that. Shame on me, I almost felt. After seeing that movie, my vision towards jazz was seen in a whole new light. I now appreciated it so much more, a very intense appreciation you might say. I saw myself beginning to talk more highly about myself as a jazz dancer, and quoting Fosse and Martha Graham. I also started seeing more performances at my university’s Performing Arts Theatre. I was drinking red wine, as opposed to my normal Bud Light. Things in my life actually began to change all from this one movie. This may all sound weird, but it’s all so true.
All my life, I’ve enjoyed having people I look up to, people, whom I wish to try and be good enough for. Bob Fosse has always been one person on this earth, that I asume, I wouldn’t be a good enough dancer for. So, after seeing “All that Jazz”, in my head, I wanted to become as good of a performer as those dancers I had just seen on TV. To this day, I can say I have added many more years of dancing jazz to my already long list of dances I have performed for, choreographed to, and just danced for the love of dance. I wish there were more crazy, insanely brilliant and dedicated people in this world. Their rarity is what makes them unforgettable icons that will always remain in our hearts and minds. But we will never stop trying to be as good as them. Them you ask? Your egos that is.
Start Dancing Salsa!
“Are you looking for a fun, sexy new hobby that might just transform your life? Then you may want to consider salsa dancing.”
“Salsa dancing is a popular form of social dance that originated in South America and New York, and has grown to be one of the most popular dance forms in the world. Maybe you’ve watched people dancing salsa on popular shows like So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With The Stars, or seen people dancing at the many salsa festivals that are held throughout the Bay Area. If you’ve ever thought it would be fun to learn how to dance like that, then I encourage you to start learning how to salsa today.”
1) Salsa is good for your health
“Salsa dancing is a great way to get into shape. Whether you take salsa lessons, join a team, or go out dancing several times a week, salsa is a full-body aerobic workout that works all your core muscle groups such as your abs, hips, and legs. Salsa dancing is a fun way to burn calories and tone your muscles, and it’s a lot more fun than running on a treadmill at a smelly gym!”
2) Salsa is a great way to meet people
“Salsa, unlike many other dance forms like hip hop or ballet, is first and foremost a social activity. Whenever you go out to a salsa club, you will be dancing with dozens of members of the opposite sex, and getting to meet a lot of new people. Whether you’re looking for a date or just want to make a lot of great friends, salsa is a great way to break your daily routine and meet lots of new people. Trust me, it beats grinding people in a noisy club or getting drunk at the bar.”
3) Salsa makes you feel sexy
“If you’ve ever seen salsa dancing before, you know that salsa is a very sexy and sensual dance. By learning how to dance salsa, you will learn how to better express your sensual side. If you’re like me and work in an office all day or have a regular day job, you probably don’t have many opportunities to really express yourself in your day-to-day life. Salsa provides you with a fun and safe outlet for exploring your sensuality and creative side.”
4) Salsa builds confidence
“One of the common insecurities that many people have is that they don’t know how to dance. Fortunately, taking a few salsa lessons will help get rid of that insecurity in no time! In addition to helping you be a better dancer, salsa also helps you build confidence in meeting new people and interacting with others of the opposite sex, as you’ll be doing a lot of both in any given night of salsa. Salsa also provides opportunities for performing on stage, and there are many different salsa teams in the Bay Area that perform around the country and the world. There is no bigger confidence booster than getting on stage before hundreds of people and dancing your heart out.”
5) Salsa is international
“Like I mentioned before, salsa is one of the most popular forms of dancing in the world. If you like traveling, then you will LOVE salsa dancing. Whether you like exploring the Americas, or you enjoy visiting Europe or Asia, in whatever city you find yourself in, you will likely find a salsa club. Salsa dancing provides you an instant connection with people in cities around the world, even if you don’t speak their language. Salsa is like its own universal language and by learning it you will be able to enjoy connecting with people from all over the world.”
6) Salsa is diverse
“One of the misconceptions about salsa dancing is that it’s only for Mexicans and Latinos. However, while salsa does have Latin American origins, the salsa community, especially here in the Bay Area, is incredibly diverse. In a typical night you can expect to dance with peoples of many nationalities, from all walks of life, from tech entrepreneurs to restaurant workers and homemakers.”
“The word salsa means “mixture”, and like its namesake, salsa brings together people of all stripes for mutual enjoyment and pleasure. If you’re looking for a fun and diverse community to be a part of, you can’t go wrong with salsa.”
Click above to see a beautiful Rumba, choreographed by yours truly!
Today, I was reflecting on all my dancing achievements, and I must say that learning all of the technical ballroom dances I was trained at Arthur Murray [(16) Rumba, Salsa, Cha-Cha, Merengue, Samba, Mambo, Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Fox Trot, West Coast Swing, East Coast Swing, Hustle, Two-Step, Tango, Bolero & Paso Doble] has been the most rewarding because it further developed me to become an even more well-rounded dancer.
“Rumba is one of the most erotic and sensual of all the Latin dance styles due to its slow rhythms and hip movements that create intense bodily expressions. Rumba is related to Afro-Cuban music, which was introduced to Cuba by African slaves in the sixteenth century. It is also influenced by the music brought to Cuba by Spanish Colonizers. There are several different types of Rumba that have evolved over the years.”
“All dancers are ultimately on the same quest: to become better, stronger dancers. But in order to reach beyond their limits, many dancers find they need additional training methods besides dance, and yoga is a popular choice.”
“Why is yoga one tool no dancer’s survival kit should be without?”
“Increased body awareness.”
“While all dance classes focus on position and alignment, yoga classes take this one step further. The slower pace of a yoga class naturally allows for greater precision. For example, instead of just putting your feet into a parallel position, you have time to check that the outside edges of your feet line up the with the outside edges of your mat, your weight is equally distributed to all four corners of your feet, your toes are spread wide and your pinky toes are anchored firmly into the floor.”
“By taking the time…
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“West African dance is an essential component of West African culture. Over time, traditional dances incorporated new moves, rhythms and ideas. Through the slave trade, and through national production of traditional dance forms, West African dance has found it’s way around the globe. West African Dance has influenced many popular American dance forms, such as hip-hop, salsa and jazz dance. Traditional dances are still practiced by many people today.”
Traditional West African Dance
“Dance has always played a very important role in the lives of West Africans. Throughout history, West Africans performed dances to celebrate a birth, harvest or death. Communities relied on dance to ward off evil spirits, to ask the gods for prosperity, or to resolve conflict. Dance continues to serve those functions. For example, villagers perform the Malinke rhythm Kassa during farming and harvesting work. The singing, dancing and clapping entertains and motivates the hard-working farmers.”
“African dance, according to R.F. Thomson, has four unique qualities. First, the body moves in a multi-unit fashion, where the head and arms may move to one rhythmic pattern while the feet follow a different time signature. Second, it is percussive; the dancer interprets the rhythmic nature of the music through movement. Third, though as a whole African dance is a community event, some dancers follow different parts of the rhythm, dancing “apart” from the crowd. Finally, West African dance phrases, or sets of movements, overlap, creating a “call-and-response” pattern.”
Drum in West African Dance
“Drums, played with hands and sticks, are a vital component of West African dance. The drum is the “language” that the dancer interprets. The drum patterns signify a dancer when to start or stop a certain move, and what moves to use. The dancer also challenges and directs the drummer through his or her moves. The drummer translates the dancers moves into rhythms. The drummer and dancer are interconnected.”
History of African Dance in North America
“West African dance reached the Americas during the slave trade. Slaves were often prohibited from dancing, but African-based movements found their way into European dance styles, quickly evolving into popular American dances. The influence of African dance can be seen in early American dances, such as the Ring Shout and the Cakewalk, and later dances such as the Jitterbug, and the Charleston. The influence is still visible in more contemporary styles of dance including hip-hop and jazz.”
West African Dance Today
“West Africa dance traditions are still very important to West Africans. Many West African nations promote their rich dance history through national dance companies. Certain traditional dances are still performed, while many other rhythms and dances are created or developed for certain modern contexts. West African dance is enjoyed worldwide for its expressive movements and aerobic benefits in classes and performances.”