www.whyville.net Aug 22, 2007 Weekly Issue

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Dance Floor Anthem

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Who doesn't enjoy dancing? Whether you are in an actual dance class or just like nodding to the music, emerging yourself in music is the best therapy. Music comes from someone else's soul to yours, combining the feeling and the movement as one. I've been dancing for almost three years. Honestly, dance is my passion, my one true escape. (Well, besides writing poetry.)

I am on my schools drill team and it's so much fun to perform and let go of all your worries. We study many different kinds of dance, including the originator of all dance, ballet. I'll admit the first time our instructor told us that we would be learning ballet, I joined in on the whines and dislike. I soon learned that ballet was a world of wonder, and it helps you learn all the other types of dances. Even hip-hop originates from ballet in some ways. This article will tell you about some different types of dance, along with the name of some moves you might see on television or in a dance classroom.

Lyrical is one of my all time favorites to perform. Basically you just let go and let your feelings show through. The point of this kind of dance is to covey your feelings to the audience, whether it be sad, happy, mad, etc. The word lyrical means "expressing deep personal emotion or observations". Sometimes dancers take acting classes in order to portray the feeling in their movement properly. Lyrical dance is a fusion of ballet and jazz technique. It uses traditional lines and it's purpose is to flow with the music. It interprets the music and lyrics with movement and facial expression. The dancer moves on a central axis, which means that they dance with their center. In other words, their torso. In across the floor series, you lead with your toes and connect to the floor with a light quality.

The next dance in our tour of the dancing world is hip-hop. Hip-hop isn't one of my favorites but it looks pretty cool when a group of twenty perform the same movement or make a ripple affect. Hip-hop is a loose translation of street dances and funk dances. It started appearing in the United States during the 1970's. Hip-hop keeps evolving and has been the originator of many styles of dancing such as popping, locking, hip-hop (new style), and house dance. It is a high energy performance and encourages spectators to join in.

Hip-hop is now accepted and taught in dance studios. It is even offered at some schools as a form of physical education. Hip-hop became popular in the 1980's. Unlike many other dance forms, hip-hop encourages individuality and uniqueness, instead of a using a certain technique. Krumping (a closely related dance) recently became widely known and focuses on high energy movements. Recently, hip-hop has been mixing with other types of dance creating new breeds and a whole world left to explore in dance. Breakdancing focuses on improvisation and uniqueness. Popping and locking focuses on hard hitting and fast movements. Hip hop new style became less funk and had slower more aggressive movements. Hip-hop has so many different branches, I could probably write a whole article on it.

Show me those spirit fingers! Jazz is the next stop. Jazz is an umbrella term many it is related to many different types of dance. Jazz originated from African American dances in the late 1800's to the mid-1900's. Until the mid-1950's, jazz referred to tap dance (set to jazz) because it was the main performance of the era. Jazz was introduced into Broadway and morphed into the smooth jazz taught today, known as Modern Jazz. Jazz can been seen in some music videos, and even Las Vegas showgirls are considered jazz dancers. In order to thrive in jazz, the dancer must learn ballet technique. Jazz has slower movements then other dances and requires balance. Jazz dancers' strong and sharp movement is aided by ballet.

Lindy Hop, now what in the world is that? No, it's not a name. It's a dance completed by having a partner. Lindy Hop is an African American dance that evolved in New York city during the 1920's and 30's. It is based on jazz, breakaway, and the Charleston. Lindy hop combines partner dancing and solo dancing. In the dances open position each person improvises. In its closed position man and women dance together. The United States is home to the largest number of lindy hoppers in the world, but there are thriving communities in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, just to name a few. On the television show "So You Think You Can Dance" my cousin, Nick Williams, choreographed a lindy hop routine for two of the last four finalists. He has won a large amount of titles and trophies for his work and I am so proud of what he has done. Hopefully in the future, he can teach me a few moves!

Now the most important dance of them all, ballet. Without ballet there would be no form for any kind of movement or dance. Ballet serves as a foundation for all types of movement. It consists of a set of movements that stay the same. In my dance class when we learn the movements we use a song in order to remember them. There is different styles of ballet but all require exact footwork and ridged posture. Ballet is a girl dominated dance, but I am lucky to have a male ballet dancer as a friend. He believes it is girl dominated because of all the focus on sexuality these days. When ballet first began it was only men that danced it. It is a graceful and flowing dance that looks effortless if performed correctly.

During the Middle Ages dance was very important to the people. In spite of occasional suppression by the church, ballet emerged in the 1400's in Italy. Italy began the tradition, but the French enabled it to flourish. The French took some aspects of the Italian ballet and incorporated their own. They made ballet popular nationally. Today most of ballet vocabulary is in French. Ballet intimately translates into the Latin word, ballere, meaning to dance. Ballet consists of five basic movements, all completed with a turn out.


1. grand jet?? - A leap through the air, in full out split, flying across the stage.
2. A Pas de Chat (step of the cat) - The dancer starts in a pli??, then during the ascending phase of the step, quickly lifts each knee at the same time with hips turned out. For a moment both feet are in the air at the same time passing each other.
3. pli?? - Bending of the knee. In classical ballet the term most commonly refers to a slow bending of both legs, knees turned out to the side.
4. Arabesque (ah-ra-Besk) - Standing on one leg with the other extended behind. The arms held in various positions creating the longest possible line from fingertips to toes.
5. Chass?? (sha-Say) - A dance move where the foot slides along the floor.
6. Choreography - Steps and movements arranged to make a dance.
7. Extension - The full height a dancer can lift their leg in the air.
8. Pirouette- (peer-o-wet) - A turn on one leg. A double pirouette being two turns on one leg.

If you want to learn more about dance try these books.

1. "Classical Ballet Techniques" By Gretchen ward Warren
2. "Giants Of Art And Culture" By Bruce S. Glassman
3. "The Pointe Book: Shoes, Training, And Technique" By Sarah Schlesinger
4. "Basic Principals Of Classical Ballet" By Agrippina Vaganova
5. "The Vision Of Modern Dance: In Words Of Its Creators" By Jean M. Brown
6. "Dancing Through History" By Jean Cass
7. "Jump Into Jazz: The Basics And Beyond For Jazz Dance Students" By Minda Goodman Kraines

To sum up our journey I would like to say that you should all respect other dancers and their work, no matter if you're competing against them or if you just admire their talent through the television or stage. I think competition is the worst thing and the best thing about dancing. It's the worst because you feel like all the other dancers are critiquing you. It's amazing what a few kind words from your competitors can accomplish. It's the best because you win trophies and your family or dance team becomes ecstatic and proud. It makes my week wonderful whenever we win! When the two dance teachers at the High School and Middle School in my town were placed on the top 10 dance coaches in America, my team was so proud and congratulated her in her accomplishment. Dance teams are just like any other team and are proud of what they do.

Until Next Time...Dance Your Hearts Out,


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