Unless you and your partner are both advanced dancers, most followers prefer that you lead a few moves well rather than a whole lot of moves, shall we say, not so well.
by Joseph Baker
The most important elements for good leading and following are dance frame, connection and timing. When these elements are present, leading and following are easy. When they are absent, partner dancing becomes impossible.
Here we have seen the common mistake among beginners is letting the arms fall and letting frame collapse. Turns are difficult to lead if the follower has a noodle arm. Tone must be maintained in the arms and all connection points must stay intact. Leading turns is easy if framework is maintained.
In any position in which joined arms are extended (such as 1- or 2-handed open position or open promenade), never lock your elbows. To prevent a rotator cuff injury, always leave a slight bend in your elbow(s) [of arm(s) connected to your partner].
excerpted from an online AARP.org article
Dance it out. It worked for Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy. Dancing “has been shown to reduce depression, anxiety and stress, and boost self-esteem, body image, coping ability and overall sense of well-being, with the benefits lasting over time. In one study, it even helped control emotional eating in obese women who eat as a response to stress,” according to the Berkeley Wellness website, in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health.
Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart is helping neuroscientists in California to explore the relationship between rhythm and brain function.
Hart has made rhythm and its many applications his lifelong business. At 74, Hart, has not only stayed young by playing percussion, he has spent the last many years exploring how it may help prevent the aging of the human brain.
“Rhythm is connection,” he <says. “It’s everything. It’s life.”
Just how connected is easy to see once you’ve had a look at the inside of Hart’s brain. During a recent series of performances, the pulsating image of Hart’s cranium spanned the huge dome of Hayden Planetarium, illustrating how different parts of his sensory system light up and vibrate when exposed to various musical stimuli.
Although Hart’s demonstrations are entertainment, his message runs more deeply: rhythm and vibration heal the brain. Dementia, he says, is the “loss of rhythm.” And he, along with notables who collaborated on the eventare all at work searching for pathways that can bypass obstacles to function and cognition. Hart has also worked on music as a therapeutic tool for brain function.
Taking up an instrument as a child and playing through adulthood is one proven way to protect one’s brain. But learning later in life is helpful, too. Hart shares the story of his unlikely best friend, Walter Cronkite, who was 73 when he became a Deadhead and also started playing the drums.
In July of 2009, as Cronkite lay dying from complications of cerebrovascular disease, Hart handed him a hand drum. “He could no longer speak, but he could play,” Hart says, tears in his eyes. “He used to ask, ‘When we do we know we have found our groove?’ Well, he found it.”
As an active person, I recently started training for a run/walk 5k, which – sigh – has led to yet another injury to my knees.
In physical therapy, I was presented with a different way of running that reduces impact on one’s knees.
I now have a greater empathy for dancers and dance students who have been dancing a lead, connection, move, step, etc. incorrectly and need to unlearn bad habits in order to improve execution. More than ever, I have a greater appreciation for these efforts.
by DANCE magazine
it’s the day that every UN member state (so official!) celebrates our favorite art form. Sure, we celebrate dance every day. But there are still ways we can join in the festivities
Dance to give back. There are so many ways to impact your community through dance, wherever you are in the world.
Experience a new culture. Use dance to transport you by delving into a new style, be it African, Bollywood or even musical theater. So what are you waiting for?
by Ron Montez (excerpted from an article in “American Dancer,” October 2009)
A lot of times, beginners see a lot of dancing around them on TV and at competitions and get confused by the picture that is being produced by the media.
They see the bigness and the emphasis on tricks and choreography. But that image is not really social dance. Social dance is fundamentally an interaction of two people to music. Social dance is not based on trying to show off; it’s based on an interaction between you, your partner and the music. It’s the best way that two people can express themselves.
by Joyce Szili
(Washington, DC area)
Leaders – look where you are going to send your follower before you do so. Do not start a move unless there is room.
Look where you are sending your follower while you are doing so. Another leader may have seen the same empty space that you did. Once you’ve sent your follower there, look around him/her. Protect your follower from collisions.
As a leader, you are in control; therefore, you are responsible.
Every collision your follower suffers is your fault. (Minor bumps on a crowded dance floor are almost unavoidable. I am not talking about those – I am referring to the big collisions.) If you can’t avoid the crash, be considerate and position yourself to take the collision.
Leaders (on the beginner/intermediate levels): the leader’s frame guides the follower’s frame. E.g., if you want the follower to move in a certain direction, the lead must come from moving your own frame.