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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Dancing Through History
Through history we have seen many evolutions of dance. Some of these ancient dances and rituals are still practiced today by those who honor their religious or cultural histories while many have sadly been lost throughout the ages. One thing however remains constant. Dance has always played an important role in the societies, great and small, of the world.
Dating back to the beginning of recorded history dancing has been a vital part of society. Dance was involved in celebrations and preparations for war. Dance was part of rituals and ceremonies of worship. Dance was part of life and we live in a society today that seems to increasingly label dance as a form of entertainment more than a way of life. Perhaps that is part of the reason we have a growing awareness when it comes to depression because fewer people are experiencing the joy of dance.
Did you know that the Spartan warriors used dance in their preparations for battle? They incorporated a 'weapons dance' that was designed not only to familiarize themselves with their weaponry but also to help them be more agile when using them. Believe me when I say that very few ever dared question the masculinity of Spartans on the battlefield. These soldiers were prepared for war and a large degree of that is the result of their weapon dances as mental and physical preparation for the art of waging war. With the Spartans war was most definitely an art form.
Oriental Dance was common during what has become known as Biblical times and remains today a very noteworthy form of dance. In fact, Oriental Dances, also referred to as Belly Dancing, seems to be experiencing a rebirth of sorts as its popularity has spread around the globe in recent years. This style of dance has been used as part of religious ceremonies as well as to entice lovers and incite lust and in some cases to represent fertility. Oriental Dance has a long and intriguing history that is well worth further study if you are of the mind to do so.
In Medieval times dance was a social requirement by those of means or holding status. In fact, what we know as ballroom dancing today began during this period and has evolved a little over the years while holding true to its original form to some degree. The church at the time however frowned on dancing though many members of the church not only tolerated dancing but also participated in these dances. After a great deal of pressure from the populace the church did eventually accept and embrace dance.
The movements for the medieval dance steps were said to be rather simple and repetitive. While some of the dances of the day were performed by couples there were many processional or line dances that were popular during this period as well. Who knew the line dancing had such a long and distinguished history?
As times have evolved so has dance. In today's society dance is often limited to competitions, festivals, and parties rather than the prominence it once held in society. The good news in all this is that dance is no longer for some in society an activity that is solely reserved for the wealthiest among us. Though access to dance lessons, classes, videos, etc. is by no means solid proof that they will be utilized the fact remains that very few cities in the United States do not offer dance classes that are at least marginally affordable for those who participate. Competitive dance is another matter all together however and can bring a significant price tag to those who are unaware or caught off guard. Recreational dance however, often costs little more than the music required with which to dance and the will to dance deep inside. We live in a nation of opportunity, do not squander the opportunity we have to incorporate the simple pleasure of dancing into our daily lives.
The Wedding Dance
Around the globe couples celebrate their unions with a wedding dance of some sort. Most religions, with the exception of those who still frown upon dancing, have some sort of wedding dance that is a part of this joyous event or the celebration of this event. This is much more than a simple dance. It is the dance that will begin your life as husband and wife. For this reason alone, many couples spend a great deal of time and effort choosing the perfect song to symbolize their love for each. Once decided, this is the song that is to be played for their wedding dance.
Your wedding dance is one of the few memories of your wedding that you will have forever. Most of your wedding day will go by in such a blur of faces that there will be few moments that stand out above the rest. Your wedding dance however, is the one time during your wedding reception that you and your spouse are truly alone within the crowd. All eyes may be on you both but this is your moment together and no one else in the room should matter at this moment. This is the reason that most people will remember their wedding dance long after they've forgotten other details about their wedding.
Some couples actually take wedding dance lessons in order to make sure that nothing goes wrong during their wedding dance. Many instructors often suggest that you use the shoes you will be wearing for your wedding as well as a skirt that is very similar to your wedding dress in order to actually get an honest feel for how you will be dancing on your wedding day. It is amazing how much of a difference the height of your shoes and the length of your skirt or train can make when it comes to dancing. These classes are very important for couples that truly want to have the fairy tale wedding experience though not necessarily practical for couples that are already working at the end of their budget constraints.
Ballroom dance lessons will often suffice for wedding dance lessons and in many cases are much less expensive if you can take them at a local community center rather than taking private lessons. Group lessons are almost always more economical and can be a great way for you and your future spouse to learn to dance together in time for your big night and your wedding dance.
If budgets won't even allow for this indulgence to make your wedding dance a little easier to handle you can always opt to purchase an instructional video or DVD. It would be great fun to practice your wedding dance together before the big night and it is a great way to have fun together as a couple even after the big night. You can find videos and DVDs that teach all manner of dance steps that you may find appealing.
Otherwise you can always wing it. Pick a song you love, a dance you like and have fun without worrying about getting it perfect. You are beginning your new life together as a couple and who really needs the pressure of dancing perfect, right? It is also your day and that is one thing that far too few brides really realize when getting caught up in the pressure of creating the perfect wedding within a limited budget.
The thing to remember when planning your wedding and your wedding dance is that you and your spouse to be are the most important people in the process. Do not allow yourself to feel pressured into something that you don't want in order to appease others. Make your wedding day and your wedding dance completely your own if you are not interested in or comfortable with the idea of taking lessons from someone else. You and your partner will be glad that you did what was right for you when all is said and done.
Learning To Dance At Home
There are many ways in which a person can learn to dance if he or she is of the mind to do so. The problem is that many people shy away from learning to dance, despite a sincere desire to do just that out of fear of being seen in the learning process. This is such a sad reason to avoid bringing the joy of dance into your life and one that can be so easily avoided if you are willing to make the efforts that would be required.
First of all, you can learn to dance within the comfort of your very own home. You do not need a dance hall or studio with mirrors to learn to dance even though they are helpful to the process. In all truthfulness it is quite possible to learn to dance at home without even procuring a teacher.
There are many DVDs and instructional tapes and videos on the market that can teach the basics of many different styles of dance. If you aren't sure what type of dance you are most interested in, it isn't a terrible idea to begin by ordering some DVDs in order to find out what specific type of dance interests you most. The really neat thing about doing this is that you can being the learning process in your very own home with the curtains drawn and no one will ever need to be any wiser.
Of course if you are going to learn at home you might want to clue your spouse or partner in and see if he or she would like to join you on the path to discovering the joys of dance as a form of entertainment as well as a means of bringing an extra level of physical activity into your life. The really good news is that this sort of physical activity won't feel like exercise and if you play your cards right with your partner it just might lead to other forms of physical activity. Keep in mind that many people find dance to be a very romantic precursor to other romantic pursuits.
Backing away from the romance department you can even find a great and occasionally merciless audience in your children. They also make great practice partners and guinea pigs and if you control the allowance, then you might even manage to squeeze out a compliment or two to help your potentially wounded ego through the event. Kids are great fun though when it comes to dancing and (younger kids anyway) are almost always willing to kick back and have a laugh at mom or dads expense. If you want to make a really fun afternoon of things, challenge your kids to a 'dance off' you just might be surprise at who is the last one standing.
Learning to dance at home can be a rewarding experience if you apply the things you learn. Not only do you get the benefit of a new hobby but also you manage to do so without the uncertainty and insecurity that is often a common part of lessons. Having an audience can be a frightening thing, however, once you've passed the child test you should be ready for the most ruthless audience any dance studio can give. You should also keep in mind that other students in the class (should you ever decide you are ready to take an actual class) are probably just as nervous about their level of skill as you may be.
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