Contact Improvisation

Contact Improvisation Dance.

Here you’ll find the fullest information about dancing contact improvisation, its history, rules, exercises, and many others.

What is it?

Contact Improvisation (CI) – is an improvised dance form that is based on real-time communication and a point of physical contact between two people or more. Dancers improvise in physical contact using elements of dance, acrobatic and martial arts.

It’s better to see once than try to understand through the words:

So the two main elements of CI are:

  • physical contact (can come in the form of leaning, pushing, falling, lifting, etc.);
  • improvisation (evolving of the dancing is unexpected and surprising, the dancers can’t prepare for it and the next step demands the full dancers’ attention).

CI can be used just as searching for material to choreographies but it is also a kind of social dance form.

History

To understand the whole idea of CI, let’s take a closer look at the history of its origin and development.

CI is quite a young direction in the art of free dance. 1972 was the year Steve Paxton founded contact improvisation. In January of this year, together with several male students at the University of Oberlin, he presented a 20-minute, first in the history of CI, dance performance “Magnesium”. The performance consisted of unexpected things: participants constantly collided, threw each other, jumped, rolled on the floor, and on each other.

A few months later, Paxton assembled a laboratory of 15 people. They researched the movement and found ways to interact with partners. Initially, they studied how the body works, how gravity works, the physical capabilities of a person, how the human body reacts to living situations (falls, collisions, danger, etc.). Paxton’s first works in contact were different from the further development of CI: movements were faster and more unexpected.

Over time, the feeling and the flow of movement became longer. It was more time to feel what was happening.

At the beginning of the CI movement, performance participants almost never used music. The point was to listen to “music” that comes from within you.

They took away everything we think is a dance, and the dance stayed. What does it consist of? It turned out that there are a lot of things in it: the physics of the human body, its interaction with the laws of physics – earthly attraction, acceleration, centrifugal force… There is also the anatomy of movement and what is born in people when they meet. A huge space for research was found.

Then they started experimenting: what happens if you don’t make the body dance, but see what it can do on its own? And they discovered that there is a dance that it always performs, and they called it the “small dance”. When a person is standing, as it seems to him, motionless, millions of small reflex inclusions work in the muscles, which we have almost no control. The body is constantly balancing relative to the state of equilibrium so as not to fall. The body is dancing!

What is it contact improvisation?

Then they began to investigate what happens to a person during a fall, landing, jump, how to make support without making too much effort, and so on.

As a result of the research, the group presented a new performance, which Paxton called “Contact Improvisation”. The dancers performed at John Weber Gallery in Manhattan, during the broadcast of the film by George Manupelli, Dr. Chicago.

After presenting this work, the band members began touring in the states and Europe and practicing CI with new members, spreading and popularizing this movement. Among Paxton’s supporters were quite famous dancers at that time: Kurt Siddal, Nancy Stark Smith, Nita Little, Karen Rudler, and others.

However, Paxton didn’t standardize and formalize this form of dance in any way. Leaving the CI system open, Paxton allowed the CI to evolve and the participants to bring something of their own into the improvising dance.

Steve Paxton.

Today, contact improvisation is danced in the form of a performance or in the form of “jams”, where people can both participate in the dance and act as spectators, and change roles at any time.

Features, rules, forms

Despite all its freedom from rules and requirements, contact improvisation still has some specific features and several techniques. But these techniques do not limit you, but rather provide a basis for interaction between partners.

We can say that CI is a dialog, the dialog between two people, sometimes even strange. And it begins from listening to each other without having asked to add anything to it, without thinking, planning, or navigating. There is a flow of information between them.

It includes physical information like a weight but also sensory information like fear and excitement.

Physical information

Contact improvisation is opened for a physical exploration that consists of weight sharing, losing and regaining balance, playing with momentum, and other surprises. Through touching and searching for common trajectories, contact improvisation explores concepts such as support, giving and receiving, following and resisting, balance, taking responsibility, and finding a solution

Adults can learn contact improvisation from children. They can move without mental restrictions:

Among the CI techniques, it is worth noting work with bodyweight (transferring the weight of your body to another person and taking the weight of the other person on yourself):

  • rolling on the floor (rolling on the floor and on each other’s body);
  • low table (when one of the dancers stand on his fourth and another dancer rolls on this “table” as he does it on the floor);
  • hight table (it’s the same low table but the first dancer stands on his legs and tilts his body forward);
  • side lift (the partners are on each other’s sides, one of them holds a hand on the other’s lower back and lifts it with the strength of the supporting leg, raising the other leg like a pendulum; the other partner tries to transfer his weight smoothly).

This is not an exhaustive list. There are so many kinds of communication between partners with the help of the body in CI.

Despite the fact that some performances resemble acrobatics, CI is fundamentally different from acrobatics. CI partners try to perform elements with the least effort, that is, with the application of minimal physical strength. The partners’ attention is focused on how to get into a “comfortable” position or use the impulse so as not to use muscles or use them with minimal force.

Sensual information

In CI we give and receive information at the same time. So partners always try to understand each other without any words. And it’s not only about physical contact, but it’s also about understanding the intent of any movement.

CI is about the moment, it is about what is happening and any thoughts. Plans and other stuff may cause dancers to lose this contact and maybe to miss out on an opportunity to ride on the right way. And on the other hand, the intent will help these people to stay together.

CI is a partner dance form based on improvisation.

An important part of improvisation is to allow what is happening now to happen. This means not thinking about what will happen in a few seconds, but being right in the moment.

Despite the fact that Paxton and his followers initially studied motion physics, later some of them began to talk about the inseparability of body and mind. This gave rise to the study of physical action as an analog of communication between people in real life. For example, the ability to give one’s weight or support another corresponds to the ability to trust others and support others in the daily routine of communication. This space provides connecting with other people in a way that isn’t possible anywhere else.

Rules of CI space

Safety is the most important principle in the framework of CI because, without a sense of security (both physical and mental), no other principle in this direction will work.

In light of the above, CI is a place without judgment. It means doing something mutual without competition, without a fight, without thinking about who is the winner and who is not.

  • You don’t need shoes.
  • You don’t need to follow so strict rules.
  • Use the whole body.

One of the basic rules that participants in CI groups must follow in order to avoid injuries during work is to do the warming up the body and stretching at the beginning of each lesson. And you should avoid rolling over and give weight to your partner’s knees, ankles, and head.

Benefit of CI

CI has a positive effect on the human body, develops and heals it, gives it flexibility, plasticity, strengthens and stretches muscles, fills the body with lightness and vitality. Participants acquire the ability to listen, hear, and understand their own body, which allows them to open up more and act naturally, using movements more effective and less energy-consuming.

In psychological terms, regular attendance at CI classes allows a person, firstly, to learn to trust other people to a greater extent, secondly, to learn to take responsibility for another person, thirdly, to learn how to work, act in pairs, and, in fourth, to unleash your own creativity.

Conclusions

CI is a spontaneous dance form that involves two bodies in motion and is built around a point of contact with a partner. Each such contact and performance is something unique, something that is born here and now. It’s the magic of CI and its uniqueness. In search of choreographic material, you can find yourself, contact with the outside world, support, or the ability to “speak” by your body.

So if you have the opportunity to try out the CI on yourself, feel free to try!

And then write in the comments how it is to you.?

For those who want to know more about CI:

  • Stephen Paxton’s video lecture from the conference at Culturgest, Lisbon 2019​:
  • link to the specialized magazine on improvisation and dance, which has been published since 1975:
    Contact Quarterly

How does stretching help you lose weight?

Stretching to Lose Weight.

There’s no point in questioning the benefits of stretching to the body. A flexible body is a sign of his youth. But as for slimming, will the stretching be as effective for weight loss as, for example, weightlifting?

For many, Stretching is not only a way to brag about doing the splits, but also a way to keep yourself in shape and even to lose weight. Stretching exercises do indeed nourish the muscles with oxygen, as a result of which the blood circulation is activated, more useful substances enter the body tissues and metabolism is improved. As a result, you can even lose some pound weight.

Since not every stretching workout is energy-intensive enough to lose enough calories, let’s work out how and in what cases it is effective for weight loss.

Important!

Stretching is a set of exercises aimed at stretching the muscles and ligaments and as a result of improving the flexibility of the whole body.

How many calories are spent on a stretching training session?

An hour of stretching exercises consumes an average of 150-200 calories, which of course is much less than an hour of dancing or strength training.

So from a calorie perspective, there are many types of activities that you could be doing to burn more calories during an hour of training.

Exercise-calories.

Stretching has a number of positive side effects that indirectly affect muscle calorie consumption and body quality in general. Among them:

  • increasing the amplitude of movement of the stretched muscle, which means it starts to use more energy when functioning;
  • keeping our muscles more limber and looser which ultimately means you might perform better when you do your formal training;
  • muscles become more prominent;
  • decreasing stress hormones;
  • muscle tone is improved.

These are the main reasons why stretching is recommended for all athletes who train in weightlifting.

So what about weight loss? – it’s fair to ask.

Stretching training alone is not good enough for a significant weight loss. But you can combine different types of activities to get a good weight loss or choose alternative workouts that include stretching exercises.

A combination of gym and stretching exercises

– works doubly well for weight loss. If you are engaged in strength training and your goal is to lose weight, try to add some days of stretching to your training schedule, or at least stretch your muscles out after weightlifting.

Stretching after weightlifting and gym training.

Dynamic stretching

This is when you do a repeated controlled motion to stretch that muscle group. Some pros of dynamic stretching are that it warms up your body temperature, increases your heart rate and your blood flow, so it’s really good for warming up your muscles.

This type of activity also helps with the speed of your nerve impulses. It helps increase your range of motion before activity. It’s really important to remember not to be too vigorous with your dynamic stretches especially if you are a beginner or if you’re covering from injury. For dynamic stretching, the control is key.

So all of these factors mean that dynamic stretching is something like cardio training and in that way, it helps you to lose your weight and look good.

Here are some useful and effective dynamic workouts we’ve found on YouTube for you:



Energetic warming up exercises

Before any physical activity, including stretching, a warm-up is required. Your body must be prepared in order not to “tear” and not to injure the muscles. Often group training sessions on the stretching are built in such a way that warming-up is the most tempo-intensive and energy-intensive part.

That is, due to the intensity of the warm-up increases and, in general, calorie consumption throughout the workout, which means it is easier to create a calorie deficit and as a result lose weight.

Important!

To lose weight, you need to follow simple rules of proper nutrition. Because the main thing that helps us lose weight is a calorie shortage.

Efficiency for Beginners

If you are new to the sport and have never trained before, stretching is likely to be an effective way to lose weight for you, and in the first few months, you will be able to lose from 4 to 9 pounds. This is due to an increase in calorie intake because it’s could be enough to do such kind of activity to lose weight for a body unused to sports.

Examples of Stretching Exercises

You can use any of the exercises available on youtube and on Instagram. We have picked out some of our favorite ones:

Routine for the Inflexible and beginners:

Middle splits stretching:

Side Splits:

Back flexibility stretches:

Important!

Stretching is a quite injury activity. If you train on your own, please be careful: be sure to warm up the body, do exercises without sharp jerks and without using physical strength, breathe deeply, and do not try to achieve quick results. Flexibility requires patience and regularity in training.

Alternative workouts

You can find many other ways to lose weight that are focused on stretching the muscles but not only on that. There are different kinds of yoga, body ballet, pole dance, bar class. All of these exercises will help you with stretching muscles and losing weight. And these ways are not only very effective but also very interesting and include learning many other skills.

Alternative stretching workouts to lose weight.

Conclusions

To sum up, stretching is not a primary weight-loss activity. It’s something that helps your overall health and will help all the other things that you’re doing with your diet and your exercise. So that’s not to say that certain kinds of exercises that are very stretching focused aren’t phenom for weight loss. That’s examples like yoga or pilates or bar class – those things can really help weight loss but that’s not static stretching, these are dynamic motions that you happen to be stretching but your quads are also burning, you’re activating your core and you’re burning more calories than during static stretching class.

But! It needs to say, that stretching helps you to lose weight indirectly because It gets your body stronger.

Also, stretching can help to lose weight effectively if you are a beginner and you’ve never done any sports activities.

Have you ever tried stretching as a way to lose weight?

If so, what were your results?

Write about your experience, maybe some readers will find it useful.

And also let us know if you liked the article.

Thank you!

List of Latin Dances

List of Latin Dances.

We don’t know if you can tell samba from salsa and rumba from bachata, but we bet – you don’t know the FULL list of Latin dances. We get it. Below is a list of all Latin American dances with detailed explanations and videos of the respective dance.

Important!

Latin dances are a collection of dances that have formed in Latin America. They include both folk (so-called social) and sports ballroom dances (International Latin).

List of Latin Ballroom Dances

The Latin program consists of 5 main dances such as:

  • Samba;
  • Cha-Cha-Cha;
  • Rumba;
  • Paso Doble;
  • Jive.

(this list specified in the order of performance of dances at the contest, only in the category of professionals the first dance – chacha, the second – samba).

Ballroom Latin dances are strictly standardized, as part of the competition, there are clear rules and requirements for dresses and costumes of dancers, for their hairstyles. For each age category, there are strictly defined permitted dance figures and movements.

And it is only by moving into higher categories that the dancer has more and more opportunities to express himself: dresses become more unusual and brighter, the heel of the ballroom shoes is higher, and movements more diverse, sensual and technically complex. This is the magic of ballroom dancing: when you come to the dance class as a child, you look at the senior dancers and look forward to being able to dance and perform just like them.

Well, let’s discuss each dance separately.

Samba

Samba is a dance characterized by hip movements and springy movements by the knees, the so-called “Samba Bounce”. The movement of the partners takes place along the line of the dance.

  • Time signature: 2/4 or 4/4, accentuated in the first and third (first more) kick.
  • Tempo: 50-52 beats per minute.
  • Basic moves: botafogo, corta jaca, volta, whisk.

Cha-Cha-Cha

Cha-Cha-Cha got its name and character because of the special repetitive main rhythm and specific instrument of maracas. In the cha-cha-cha, the dancers step on each beat, be sure to straighten their knees after each step, and actively work with their hips. The main characteristic movement for the cha-cha is the lock-step – the attachment of the non-supporting leg to the supporting one so that they join at the knee (when moving back and forth).

  • Time signature: 4/4.
  • Tempo: 30 beats per minute.
  • Basic moves: Basic, New Yorkers, Under Arm Turns, Away & Back, Chasses, Spot Turns.

Rumba

This is a very sensual and romantic dance, unlike his Cuban rumba. This dance is quite slow, but every score and every moment of the music is filled with sensual and elaborated movements of partners. The peculiarity of performing rumba figures – transferring body weight to the “one” account without taking a step – makes the dance more interesting due to accented stops and accelerations; the dance seems to have its own breath.

  • Time signature: 4/4.
  • Tempo: 25-27 beats per minute.
  • Basic moves: Basic, Cucaracha, Side Step, Under Arm Turn, New Yorker, Hand to Hand, Aida.

Pasodoble

The Spanish Pasodoble dance imitates bullfighting, where the male partner is the toreador, and the girl is the muleta. The main characteristic of paso doble is the position of the body. It is distinguished by its highly elevated breasts, hips forward. Bodyweight is on the front of the foot; most steps are done with the heel.

  • Time signature: 2/4 or 6/8.
  • Tempo: 56 beats per minute.
  • Basic moves: Appel, Attack, Spanish Line, Flamenco Taps, Huit, Sixteen, Shasse to Right.

Jive

Fast and incendiary jive is the last dance of the competitive Latin program, so the dancers must show that they are not tired and are ready to perform it with greater return. Jive has basic steps made up of a fast syncopated steps left and right, together with a slower step back and return to the front. Jive is also characterized by the clear and quick kick movements.

  • Time signature: 4/4.
  • Tempo: 40-44 beats per minute.
  • Basic moves: Basic, Fallaway Rock, Fallaway Throwaway, Hip Bump, American Spin, Walks.

List of Social Latin Dances

The types of Latin dances described below are folk dances, that is, they were created on the streets of Cuba directly by the local population. These dances are not as standardized as a ballroom, but no less energetic and sensual.

Salsa

Salsa has managed to harmoniously combine typical African folk dances with Cuban folklore. It dances in pairs as well as in groups. It has two main types – circular and linear. The main movements consist of a fast, fast, and slow step with 4 musical scores.

Interesting!

Read about the history of the salsa dance in our article – “Salsa Dance Origins“.

Bachata

Bachata is a pair dance, which is distinguished by its intimacy, romanticism, sensuality. Its basis is very close finding partners in relation to each other. This is the main feature of the style – sensual romanticism. The movements are very smooth, wavy, the bodies of dancers often touch. The main movement of bachata is 4 steps from side to side, the last of which is highlighted by the accent (putting your foot forward or putting your foot on the sock).

Merengue

Merengue is characterized by dance movements in close contact paired with the soft swaying of the hips. It has a faster tempo than bachata, although the two dances are very similar in many ways. In the merengue, improvisation of partners and flirting is important.

Reggaeton

Reggaeton can be very different (duro, romantico, perreo), everything depends on the music, the dancer, and his preferences. The main characteristic is muscle isolation, i.e. moving one part of the body relative to a fixed body or another part of the body. This gives the dance contrast and distinguishes it from other Latin dances.

Mambo

Greater temperament, freedom of expression of emotions, and luxurious musical accompaniment distinguish this dance. At the end of each tact, there is a slowdown, on the count of “four”, in the amount of 4/4. The dance is characterized by a clear rhythm and fast tempo.

Kizomba

The dance is performed slowly and very smoothly. It is danced exclusively in pairs. Slow and smooth movements, very close contact with a partner, mesmerizing Portuguese music create the atmosphere of dance kizomba.

Zouk

Zouk consists of three counts. Dance moves are saturated with beautiful bends of the upper part of the body and deflections. The steps and turns are complemented by circular rotations, wave-like movements, and turns of the head. There are several types of Zouk, such as the Caribbean and Brazilian Zouk.

Macarena

This well-known dance appeared under the influence of the popular song of the same name by the group Los del Río, in the clip of which the dance movements were shown.

Well, did you find out some new styles of Latin dances for yourself?

If so, write to us about it in the comments below.

And also be sure to share your impressions if you’ve tried at least one of them. We are very interested!

Interesting!

Read about the history of the ballroom dances in our article – “Ballroom Dance History“.

How to Practise Pole Dancing at home: with or without a Pole

Pole Dance at Home.

Learning pole dance at home can be caused by many reasons. Now we’re all #stayhome because of COVID-19. But at normal times, home classes are also very relevant. You can fully train pole dance at home on your own, or you can practice in addition to your training in the dance studio. In addition, it is very convenient, because you yourself choose when and how much to train, and also do not waste time on the road.

Anyway, we have some useful and effective tips and reminders on how to learn pole dance at home. You can find out more about it in the article below.

Learning Pole Dance at home with a Pole

If you have a pole installed at home, you can, of course, take online lessons, paid and free, on your own.

Important!

Do not forget about safety when performing complex tricks – be sure to put the mat, and do not ignore the high-quality warm-up – be sure to fully warm up the whole body, so as not to damage the muscles during training.

Below are some of our recommendations on how to work with the pole yourself.

Several YouTube channels to practice pole dance at home:




We propose you to check out some of our favorite pole dance home workouts:




Let’s train Pole Dance Spins:

Popular paid online courses:

  • Open Dance Academy.
  • X Pole TV.
  • Courses on Udemi.
  • Studio Veena.
  • Danna’s Online Pole Dancing Course.
  • Pole and Aerial.
  • 123Poling.
It’s interesting!

We have chosen the best poles for home use. Check out the details.

Regularly train basic elements

Pole dance requires ongoing support for your fitness. You must constantly train the basic elements on both sides. Some of these elements are:

  • chopper (invert V, straddle);
  • the hang on the leg;
  • flags;
  • basic Climb;
  • basic spins (chair spin and variations, soldier, frog).

This is a base that needs to be done regularly.

Important!

When training at home, do not forget to carry out each strength element on both sides. Observance of this, I am not afraid of this word, the MAIN rule in Pole dance, guarantees the uniform development of the muscles of your body.

Training without a Pole

Even if you don’t have a pole at home, you can maintain your physical form with various exercises with improvised tools and with your own body weight.

Grip Exercises

Most of the tricks in Pole Dance include grip. Therefore, grip and wrist training is a must for pole dancers.

Exercises with an expander for hands. Buy an expander – it is inexpensive, but can almost completely replace your pole for grip training. I think there’s no need to explain how to handle a hand-espander ?.




Wrist Strengthening Exercise:

  • get on all fours;
  • make sure your palms are strictly under your shoulders and your knees are under the pelvis;
  • lift the heel of your wrists and slowly lower it;
  • do 15-20 such repetitions.

You can do this exercise standing up, pushing your palms off the wall. Depending on the tilt of the body, you can adjust the complexity of the load on the palm of your hand.

Posture improvement

Posture plays a key role in the pole technique. You have to constantly control the shoulders to be lowered back, the shoulder blades put together.

Exercise “W” will help strengthen the muscles of the upper back.

Watch the video below about a detailed explanation of the athlete’s exercise technique. The same technique is also suitable for pole dancers.

Working out the purity of motion

A good helper for pole dancer is classical ballet. It helps to make body lines longer and smoother, and the body stronger. Such independent training at home will definitely help you and come in handy when performing tricks and spins on the pole.

For example, you can try one of these lessons:


An important point is working with the feet. Here are some exercises for stretching the foot:

Pole Dance Lessons for Home.

Exercises for your foot.

Exercises for Pole Dancers at Home.

Exercise for tightening knees

The most universal exercise is to sit down, stretch even legs forward, stretch the flex feet, and pull your knees into the floor by force.

Exercise for improving your chopper

A set of exercises for a chopper:

  • Sit on the floor, stretch your legs forward, and spread them out as wide as possible.
  • Start lifting one foot up 30 degrees from the floor cute. You have to do 15 times or for 20-30 seconds on one foot.
  • Do the same on another leg.
  • Next, lift both legs together. It’ll be a little harder, try to use the press. Be sure to keep your back straight, a chopper with a humpbacked back looks ugly!
  • Lie on your back, press your hands along the body, press your lower back to the floor. Raise your legs up, “open” them as wide as possible, as in the position of the chopper. Start to lift the pelvis up and towards yourself, slowly lower it back. Keep your legs level at all times. This way you can train your abs and buttocks for the chopper pose. Do 20-40 reps.

Balance sheet work

Your main assistant in balance practice is swallow exercise.

Balance exercise.

For an advanced level, try to stand on the half finger.

Stretching

And of course, the best thing you can do to improve your pole dancing work technique at home is stretching. It is important not to overdo it and stretch correctly. Here are some articles on stretching that will be useful for training at home:

So, Dear Pole People, we hope, this article about home pole training was useful for you.

Write down what was good for you.

Perhaps you have tried one of our proposed home training sessions, then write how it feels?

You can also leave links to other online trainings and courses – we will be glad to collect on this page full information about pole dance lessons at home!

Happy Poling!

Salsa Dance History

Salsa Dance history and origin.

Let’s dance salsa! After all, this is one of the most incendiary rhythms of Latin dances. But here’s what I tell you: dancing salsa without knowing its history, it’s like never in your life and not dancing real salsa. Because real salsa lurks in its roots – in the history of origin and development. Let’s learn together how salsa appeared syncopated rhythms, its main steps, and hip movements, how this dance was enriched with different dance movements from other dance styles.

So, bellow you can find the timeline and facts about salsa dance origin.

History of the Term Salsa

Yes, originally in Spanish, the word “salsa” means sauce. Only in the 30s of the 20th-century salsa began to be called the musical genre and style of dance, which has its roots in African tribes. But about everything in order…

Salsa dance Facts and Timeline.

There are several versions of how this dance got its name. According to one of them, in 1928 the Cuban Ignacio Pineiro once shouted out “Echale Salsita!”, which means “Let’s add a fire!” and called his new energizing song that way. Later on, the phrase was transformed into “salsa”, and the dance of the same name gained huge popularity. Until the 70s, the word “salsa” meant a combination of various Latin American rhythms and styles of dancing. Among them were cha-cha, mambo, pachanga, guaracha, rumba, and a number of others.

Salsa’s Origin

Although salsa is considered a Cuban dance, its history began far beyond Latin America…

So, in 1492 Christopher Columbus sailed to the shores of Cuba (he actually discovered it). The Spanish invaded the new lands and exterminated almost the entire population of Cuba. But someone had to do some hard work there. To do this, the Spaniards brought slaves from West Africa to the territory of Latin America. The supply of slaves went on for a long time, until 1886 when slavery was officially abolished. On this basis, it was the people of Africa who played a huge influence on the origin and development of salsa dance.

Around the second half of the 19th century, Cuban music, until then little different from European music, began to acquire special characteristic features. The reason for this is the influence of African culture, which was becoming stronger as the slave system on the island weakened.

That is, Afro-Cuban dance, which includes salsa dance, appeared as a result of the merger of two cultures: Spanish and African. Spanish culture brought string instruments and melody to music, while African culture (especially the Bantu, Yoruba and Karagali tribes) brought drums and other less known percussion instruments to music.




It is also worth noting!

Cuba’s slave-holding system was slightly different from that of the United States at the time. In Latin America slaves were not forbidden to make music, so they often sang in church choirs and played European musical instruments. This had a huge impact on the formation of music and dance culture in the local population.

Contradanza, Danzon, Son are the forefathers of salsa dance

It is believed that the first danzon, Las alturas de Simpson, was written by the mulatto Miguel Failde in 1879. However, this is a very simplified vision of the question. Ballroom dancing styles are not created “suddenly”, out of nothing. As a rule, they “grow” from older dances, evolving under the influence of many external circumstances. It was the same with the danzon dance.

The ancestor of the danzon dance was the contradanza. It took a difficult and long way in Cuba: having appeared in England, it spread to France and then was brought to Espanola (Haiti). And it was not until 1791, when a brutal slave uprising broke out in Haiti, that the mass flight of French colonists led many of them to Cuba, where they settled in the eastern part of the island. As a result, the French contradanza, similar to the minuet, took root surprisingly quickly on Cuban soil and was popular for almost the entire 19th century.

In the beginning, the rhythms of danzon did not differ much from the rhythms of the contradanza. The Danzon dance was the name of a paired dance, which gradually replaced the figure dance, ie the contradanza. At the end of 1877, composer Miguel Failde composed four danzon. This date is usually considered as the start of a period of huge spread and “acceptance” of dance danzon. The romantic of closeness of the partners, the swinging of the hips and the use of minimum space for dance gave the danzon its special feature.

Around untill 1920, danzon was Cuba’s national dance. But everything comes to an end. By the 1930s, danzon was almost gone in Cuba. And in many ways, the reason for this was that around 1920, Havana was inundated with another kind of dance – Son.

The Son Dance developed in parallel to the contradanza, but unlike the second, the Son is purely folk dance. The contradanza was performing by orchestras; the Son was a song accompanied mainly by drums. The merit of the Son dance lies in the fact that the freedom they afforded to spontaneous folk expression helped to enrich the dancing moves.

But by the end of the 1930s, jazz and swing brought to Cuba by the Americans did their job – danzon and son, so sweet to the heart of Cubans, began to lose popularity among the islanders…

Mambo

“Mambo’s Father” Damaso Perez Prado was born in Matanzas in Cuba in 1916. From an early age he studied the piano. By the 1940s, thanks to his energetic manner of playing, he had become a well-known musician.

In 1948 Perez Prado left his native island and moved to Mexico, where he formed his own orchestra. Taking as a basis a rhythms of son-montuno, popular at that time in Cuba, the musician decided to bring his sound closer to the music of popular American big bands of that time. To do this, Perez Prado added trombones and saxophones to his orchestra, as well as increasing the pace of his compositions. Perez Prado, his orchestra and his new musical and dance style – mambo – quickly gained popularity in Mexico and then in the USA (one day, music producer Sonny Burke, who was on holiday in Mexico, heard Perez Prado’s song and published it in America, where it became a real hit).

Mambomania, which came to America in the 50-60s, had a significant impact on Latin American dance. Thus, it was Perez Prado who opened wide the doors for Latin American music and dance in the States and all over the world. This period is very important for the development of salsa dancing precisely because Latin dances have become popular all over the world, not only in Cuba.




So where’s the salsa dance?

The origin of salsa dance is not a momentary event, it is a diverse way of mixing of many cultures and dance styles. The emergence of such a dance as salsa is associated with the long transformation and spread of Cuban dances.

Cuban movements and dances in the form of mambo, cha-cha-cha, and others have gained wide popularity in the US. The turning point in the “standardization” of salsa as a dance was two major factors: the widespread use of household video equipment and the commercialization of salsa. And here we should mention two Torres, Eddie, and Alberta.

Since childhood, Eddie Torres was fond of Latin American dance, was a regular visitor to Latin American discos in New York. Being already a famous dancer, in 1995 Eddie Torres released his first video course called Salsa Nightclub Style. The video became popular and spread throughout the USA and then around the world.

The other pole of salsa dancing standardization was Los Angeles in California. The other Torres, Albert, played a leading role in spreading salsa on the West Coast. Albert Torres was the man who “promoted” salsa on the West Coast. He opened several salsa clubs, toured the best salsa dancers, was the first to hold salsa congresses.

That is, the name “salsa” and standardization of movements and techniques, Latin American dances have already received in the United States. What about the Cuban style, you ask? In Cuba, there are more Casinos and Rueda de casinos dancing than salsa dance brought from abroad.

It is not surprising that Cubans began dancing salsa almost the same way as the Son dance. Only the pace became higher, and the number of various “knots” increased. For a long time, it was not even a question of mass introduction of any standard – simply because Cubans did not need it. People did not learn salsa in dance schools, but naturally – dancing to their pleasure on holidays with friends and acquaintances. That is why the peculiarities of the dance varied from one city to another, and in Havana – and from district to district. It must be admitted, however, that thanks to Cuban television and, in particular, the popular program Para Bailar, the Cuban salsa dance style has almost taken shape.

Today salsa is a popular social dance. Salsa competitions, salsa dancers’ congresses are held all over the world, more and more schools are opened where salsa is taught.

Tell us if this article was useful for you if you learned much about salsa dance history. Perhaps you thought the salsa was a native Cuban dance, as we did before.

In any case, share your impressions with us!

Also interesting to read:

William Forsythe: a Revolutionary Look at Classical Dance

William Forsythe dance.

Improvisation and choreography are equal partners in a dance. Improvisation is the most important direction of choreographic thinking, it organizes the form of dance and the specificity of dance performance. One of those who made a serious contribution to the art of improvisation as a method of searching for choreographic vocabulary and a tool for developing creative thinking is William Forsythe.

Researchers of modern dance rank Forsythe’s improvisation as postmodern improvisation, or the art of dance performance. Forsythe system has been shaped and honed for 15 years. And in 1994, it was designed in a specialized video manual “Technologies: A Tool for the Analytical Dance Eye”, which is still used for training new dancers of Forsythe’s troupe and is also a part of training professional dancers of modern dance in Europe and the USA.

About William Forsythe’s work and his influence on modern dance – read below.

Life and Career

William Forsythe is a ballet master, a specialist in the field
of modern dance, a researcher of the specifics of human body movement and improvisation. He was born in New York in 1949. He got his choreographic education in Florida. He got at the first dance class at the age of 17 with his roommate by accident, having absolutely no idea what the lesson will be.

In 1971 he joined the Joffrey Ballet (a company famous for the works of contemporary choreographers). It was there that Forsythe first saw Balanchine’s ballets on the stage of the New York City State Theater, which undoubtedly contributed to his development as a researcher of dance and choreography.

Since 1973 W. Forsythe has been working in Germany as a performer in the Stuttgart Ballet. Already in 1976, he was appointed ballet master of the company. For this company, he created his first neoclassical miniature – “Urlicht” – a duet to music by Gustav Mahler.

In 1984 William Forsythe became the head of the legendary Frankfurt Ballet and continued to be so until its closure in 2004. At Frankfurt Ballet, the choreographer worked on productions such as Artefact (1984), Steptext (1985), In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated (1987, Paris Opera), Impressing the Czar (1988), Limb’s Theorem (1990), Loss of Small Detail (1991), ALIE/NA(C)TION (1992), Eidos:Telos (1995), Endless House (1999), KAMMER/KAMMER (2000), and Decreation (2003).

His productions are part of the repertoire of the world’s major theatres, including the New York City Ballet, London’s Royal Ballet, Paris Opera, National Ballet of Canada and the Netherlands Dance Theatre.

This period of the ballet master’s work is characterized by a special radicalism: he puts on performances that are completely different from classical ballet, transforms the aesthetics of classical dance, proclaims freedom in dance from any canons and narratives.

In 1994, the program “Technologies: A Tool for the Analytical Dance Eye” was developed and released.

After 20 years at the Frankfurt Ballet, William Forsythe founded his Forsythe Company troupe in 2004. In addition to appearances at the main venues in Dresden and Frankfurt, the artists were active on tour. Forsythe has staged such ballets for the new company:

  • Three Atmospheric Studies (2005);
  • You made me a monster (2005);
  • Human Writes (2005);
  • Heterotopia (2006);
  • The Defenders (2007);
  • Yes we can’t (2008/2010);
  • I don’t believe in outer space (2008);
  • The Returns (2009);
  • “Sider” (2011).

He worked as a director and ballet master until 2015 in the troupe. As the reason for Forsythe’s resignation, the need to reduce workloads due to health reasons was reported. However, Forsythe has remained a consultant for the company, a guest lecturer and teacher, one of the co-directors and teachers of the European Dance Students’ Network program. The directorship of the Forsythe Company was taken over by Jacopo Godani under a new name The Dresden Frankfurt Dance Company”.

Forsythe produces and participates in the creation of a large number of architectural and performance installations. The installations have been exhibited at the Louvre, the Venice Biennale, and other important venues. His short film “Solo” was presented in 1997 at the Whitney Biennale.

The choreographer has also received special recognition in the field of fine arts, organizing amazing installations, whose viewers themselves become participants in the action.

Today Forsythe regularly holds lectures and seminars at various universities and creative organizations. He lives and works in Vermont.

Exhibitions

Special attention we should pay to Forsythe’s work in the fine arts. The project “Choreographic Objects” includes various installations, including interactive ones. Over the past few years, they have been shown in many museums.


Some of its current* interactive installations:

  • The Fact of Matter (Brisbane, Australia) – December 7., 2019 – April 26., 2020;
  • Acquisition/Körperschaft (Hasselt, Germany) – March 14. – May 10., 2020;
  • Aufand, Doing and Undergoing (Besançon, France) – until April 26, 2020;
  • City of Abstracts, Human Writes Drawings, Backwords (Essen, Germany).

* Expositions are temporarily closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

“City of Abstracts” is scheduled to be shown in Essen at Art Basel on September 17-20, 2020.

Forsythe’s Technologies of improvisation

In 1994 the computer program “Technologies: A Tool for the Analytical Dance Eye” was presented. Until now, it is actively used in the process of training dancers of different levels. This work deserves detailed consideration because its importance for the dance world is immeasurably great.

Improvisation technologies basically use the geometrical approach, working with lines, arcs, corners which form a body of the dancer. It was important for Forsythe to use what his dancers already knew. Since they were graduates of ballet schools, they were used to working with lines in body and space. This approach allowed the dancers to forget “how to move” and focus on the inner part of the movement, to overcome “numbness” in improvisation.

Forsythe Dancer.

The choreographer shows simple movements and techniques in the program. The main purpose of his training is to teach the mind of a dancer to analyze movement in geometrical categories, corresponding parts of his body in space.

It’s useful!

Check out the program, even not only for ballet dancers. You will definitely learn a lot about your body.

For example, here are a few techniques from Forsythe’s technology. In his video lessons, the choreographer shows how to work with lines. For example, you can create an imaginary line with body parts and “move” that line in space, or you can create the same line with one of your body parts. You can also create a line by “pulling” it out of a point, or you can stretch not just a point but an entire line and create an imaginary plane. You can extend the line by unbending a joint, for example, an elbow. You can work in the parterre by building movements along imaginary lines on the floor. The technique of getting into the line is to find a way that you can “get” into the imaginary line by a part of your body.

William Forsythe’s New Ballets

After leaving Forsythe Company in 2015, the choreographer has staged several ballets:

  • «Blake Works 1» for the Paris Opera Ballet;
  • «Playlist [Track 1, 2]»;
  • «A Quiet Evening of Dance»;
  • «Playlist (EP)» – the work for Boston ballet company;
  • «Artifact Suite».

Influence on modern dance

With the death of George Balanchine, the era of great discoveries in ballet was coming to an end, and few people believed in the possibility of a new revolution in dance. Nevertheless, the postmodern era has made its mark and proclaimed in dance freedom from any canons. The improvisation and value of the moment “here and now”, the study of the movement and limits of the human body, the importance of the process rather than the final product of art – all this became the basis of contemporary dance. It was William Forsythe who brought ballet into the realm of marginal art, making it speak about contemporary ballet.

The avant-garde Forsythe has pushed back the boundaries of what is generally accepted: while in classical dance the position of arms and legs is fixed, Forsythe gives freedom to both arms and legs, and head. This also applies to his methods of working with dancers. Improvisation – the main method of working with dancers – requires not only freedom to own their own body in space, but also freedom of thought. In this case, the intellectuality can be called one of the most precise characteristics of the specificity of W. Forsythe’s works.

Opinion!

Forsythe is a new turn. It’s basically a classic, but as if turned from a different angle… It’s as if you look at it through some special optics – and you get Forsythe.

At the same time, despite this release of thought and body, William Forsythe’s approach to choreography is surprisingly algorithmic. Through systematic exploration of the boundaries of space and time, the potential of the body and the mechanics of movement, the choreographer has developed his own author’s method of dance geometry and thus gives rise to a characteristic Forsythe’s style of movement.

The imagery and abstractedness of Forsythe’s ballets deserve special attention. After all, not every spectator is ready for a Forsythe’s form of interpretation, hence the complexity of perception. We can state the mechanical or geometrical style of dance plastics, but certainly not the lack of content. Forsythe is simply not interested in stories and characters that are important in classical ballet. What is more important in these works is the emotional dynamics of the performers, the way the change in body movement determines the changes in a person’s emotional state. An abstract stage reality is formed on stage, within which a multivariate narrative of philosophical content is performed.

Biography.

Dance critic Roslin Sulkas highlights the following features in the work of William Forsythe:

  • the presence of so-called “flickering movement” (based on elusive points of presence), performed by dancers with classical training, that is professionally developed in the aspect of ballet plasticity;
  • the use of the principle of inclusiveness – the possibility of including elements of absolutely any kind in the dance, both on the technical and conceptual sides;
  • approach to the realization of a complete work on the basis of the concept of “one theatrical universe”, where each element is a significant part of the multidimensional structure of the dance;
  • the development of a plastic language based on personal ideas of movement, where each element is endowed with volume.

We can’t help but mention the improvisational inserts in Forsythe’s ballets. Certain parts of the composition are performed by dancers in accordance with the concept of dance at their own discretion based on their own vision. Thanks to this, each display of a dance piece becomes unique and each broadcast gives a new reading to the work.

By its nature, modern dance is “dance of the head”, i.e. choreography that stimulates thinking tone not only of the dancer but also of the viewer in the process of perception of dance. Such mutual work of the ballet master and the viewer gives the necessary body and emotional contact. Then the viewer leaves with a huge plume of emotions and thoughts after the performance.

William Forsythe does not like to repeat himself, he always speaks to the viewer through his work in different ways. And no one knows what this choreographer will present to the public next time…

Conclusions

Doesn’t matter whether we call Forsythe by The New Balanchine or The Classic of the Ballet Avant-Garde, many today consider him one of the most important choreographers working today. Having traversed in his life from a dictatorship of ballet to a free of contemporary, William Forsythe has struck the ballet world with radicalism and experimentation. He has transformed and continues to transform the aesthetics of classical dance, has led to a rethinking of the importance of dance improvisation and has made an invaluable contribution to the training of dancers around the world.

Sources:

Ballet Moves for Beginners

Ballet Moves for Beginners.

Are you dreaming about a career as a ballerina or just want to try classical dance for yourself? These simple (ha-ha) exercises will help you understand what ballet is and is it fits you.

Are you ready? There are 9 ballet movements that tone the muscles of the whole body. Let’s go.

PLIÉ

Plié in the first position is one of the basic elements of ballet. Stand in the first position and start bending your knees slowly until your knees are over your thumbs. Hold on to this position for a second and then return smoothly and quickly upwards. Complete the movement in the first position.

Plié should be performed in all 5 main ballet positions. There are two types of pliés: demi and grand.

GRAND PLIÉ

The Grand Plié also performs from the first position, but unlike the Plié, you sit much lower, tearing your heels off the floor.

RELEVE

Releve is a basic movement that almost all newcomers learn. To perform a simple releve, take the first position and hold the ballet barre with one hand. Tension the caviar muscles and pull up to be on your socks. Transfer all the weight to the part of the foot that is under your fingers. This position is called the demi-pointe. Then gently fall down.

Try to do single-leg releve as well. This exercise is good for strengthening the back surface of the hip and calf.

Over time, you try to connect the plié and the releve. First, make a plié and then climb up in the releve using the strength of your feet on climbing.

BATTEMENT TENDU

Battement tendu is an exercise in which the working leg is either pulled aside and then returned, or bent and unbent. There are several different types of battement with which you can practice the ability to correctly move your leg back to the original position, bend and stretch the leg, pull it out and lift it to any height in any direction and at any speed.

JETE

In this exercise, the working leg moves in three directions: forward, to the side, back and again to the side. But the sock is detached from the floor every time. The leg is raised to the position in which it will make from the other about 45 degrees. After making the whole chain of movements, repeat the jete from the other leg.

ROND

Push your right foot forward without tearing your sock off the floor. Smoothly, drawing a semicircle, move it to the side and then back. Return to the original position, repeat 6 times with each foot.

FONDU

Lower into the demi-plie by bending the supporting left leg and leading the sock to the right of the ankle stone. Unbend the supporting leg and pull the right one forward. Return to its original position. Repeat the movement by pulling the right foot to the side, but then lower into the demi plié, leading the right foot behind the shin with the left foot. Straighten the supporting leg by pulling the right foot back. Move the side again and return to the original position. Perform the exercise 4 times from each leg.

SAUTE

Saute is a jump with no position change. It is convenient for learning the mechanics of jumping with novice students. Its study is started separately, with pauses before each jump. Saute consists of three main points: half-sitting (preparation for the jump), the jump itself and landing (half-sitting). The jump is made by jumping with the pushing of heels from the floor.

During the jump, the legs in the air are stretched in the knees to the limit, toes are stretched too, and the body is straight, no tension, the legs in the air retain the given position. When landing after the jump, the socks touch the floor first, then the whole foot is lowered and a half-squat is made evenly on both feet. Keep the body straight.

ADAGIO

Get in the fifth position. Push your right foot forward as in a battement tendu, but then raise it, straight, to the parallel with the floor. Go back to the fifth position and also through the battement tendu lift the foot to the parallel with the floor to the side. Then make the same move back, again to the side and return to the original position. Repeat with the other leg.

So, are you ready to wake up the ballerina inside of you?

Also interesting to read:

Burning Calories Dancing

Burning Calories Dancing.

Dancing is a good cardio load. This activity corresponds to a fat-burning cardio zone (60-80% of your maximum heart rate), so it's good if you want to get rid of a couple of extra pounds.

About how many kilocalories you lose in one dance class, read on.

The amount of calories burned depends on your age, weight and metabolic level.

That is, how many calories an average person spends an hour doing this or that dance.

All data below are based on estimates for a girl weighing approximately 155 pounds. But once again, let us remind you that everything depends not only on weight but also height, age, metabolic level, intensity of training.

Ballet - from 450 to 500 kcal/hour

Ballet is in first place in terms of calorie consumption. With various classic pas, you can burn about 500 calories or even more.

If you are not a professional dancer, try the relatively young direction of classical dance - body ballet. In such classes, you will be taught a basic ballet pas, put even posture, show how to work near the ballet barre.

Hip Hop — from 400 to 500 kcal/hour

Hip-hop and generally street dances such as dancehall, breakdancing, krump are usually very rhythmic and fast, which means it's a great cardio load. The main elements and techniques of hip-hop are "rocking" body, jumping, falling, spinning and light acrobatic movements. This dance includes a wide range of movements of the whole body, which puts it quite high on the calorie scale. Depending on the intensity of your workout, you can spend up to 500 calories per hour.

Zumba — from 400 to 500 kcal/hour

Zumba is a dance fitness program that combines fitness exercises and movements from Latin American dances.

If your main goal in dancing is to lose weight, then Zumba is the perfect fit for you. It's both fun and effective, and group dancing is not boring thanks to the fiery Latin rhythms of music. You can even try practicing zumba at home. But don't forget to buy comfortable sneakers for zumba classes!

Latina – from 300 to 400 kcal/hour

Depending on whether you are a sports ballroom dancer or a social Latino dancer, there will be different calorie consumption and efficiency. But on average you can burn up to 400 calories per hour of active samba or salsa training.

Pole Dance – to 400 kcal/hour

Pole Dance combines cardio load, stretching exercises and at the same time power training. The main load is on the abs, back, and arms. Not as many calories can be burned during a pole dance training as during a more rhythmic dance. However, you should take into account that sport pole dance is a serious power load, which develops your muscles, thus helping to increase muscle mass and, accordingly, increase the consumption of calories.

Contemporary — to 400 kcal/hour

Contemporary is a dance direction, consisting of many different techniques and styles. It is based on classical dance and art nouveau - modern dance. Despite the seeming lightness and airiness of movements, dance contemporary burns a lot of calories, gives enough load on the muscles and body.

The heavier you are, the more you spend compared to a lighter colleague. According to Harvard Medical School, if you weigh about 133 pounds, you'll burn about 5.5 kcal per minute while dancing at a moderate pace. A person weighing 155 pounds kilograms will spend 7 kcal per minute or 420 kcal per hour.

Create a calorie shortage

Physical activity alone may not be enough to feel the full effect of dance training. In order to lose weight while dancing, it is advisable to contact a nutritionist, who will perform the necessary calculations and make a suitable menu taking into account all needs.

Advantages of Dancing for Slimming

Besides the fact that dancing produces plasticity and helps us lose weight, it has a lot of other advantages. Among them are the following:

  • The whole body works during training. By dancing, you develop all muscle fibers evenly, so rest assured that your body will look as proportionate as possible.
  • Dancing improves coordination - it helps a lot in everyday life.
  • Dance training makes you more flexible. Many dream of being able to do splits or a bridge. Dancing is a great opportunity to learn it all.
  • Choreography increases self-confidence.
  • Aerobic loads are a prevention of osteoporosis, a positive effect on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
  • Dancing develops a sense of balance and a sense of self in space.
  • Dancing also works well as art therapy. Sometimes it is difficult for a person to express his emotions and feelings in words, to say it out loud, to tell someone else. So the narrative goes through movements and music.

FAQ

How many calories do you burn when you dance?

It depends on what type of dance do you choose. But on average you can burn between 300 and 700 kilocalories per hour of dancing practice.

Which type of dance burns the most calories?

Hip hop and ballet burn the most calories in an hour of training. The Zumba Fitness Dance is also effective for weight loss.

How long do you have to dance to burn 1000 calories?

A person who weighs 155 pounds needs about two hours of high-intensity training to burn 1,000 calories while dancing.

Is dancing good for weight loss?

Dancing is good for weight loss.

Sources and External Resources

How to Become a Better Dancer?

How to be a better dancer?

The profession of a dancer requires constant work on himself and his body. Whether you are a professional dancer or a student in a dance class or dance college, you will always have to improve your skills. So what do you have always to do to become a better and better dancer every day? We’ll tell you some tips in the article below.

Watch the other dancers dance.

Watch the video of others dancing. Pay attention to detail, plasticity, choreography. Over time it will diversify your dance vocabulary and may even help to form individual and special plasticity. Also, paying attention to other dancers, you develop your own dance taste and ideas about the world of dancing.

Shoot yourself on video.

Without seeing yourself from the outside, it will be difficult for you to evaluate your progress and technique. Also, be sure to practice in front of the mirror. But even better, videotape yourself periodically. From the outside, you can often see what can be improved in the technique of a particular movement.

Shoot yourself on video.

Practice often.

Frequent and regular training is the key to your progress. Don’t be overworked, but work out every day as much as you can. If you can’t dance in the studio every day, then dance at home on days free from studio training. No room? Practice separate movements. Look for an opportunity, not an excuse. This quality is definitely useful for you if you want to be a successful and professional dancer.

Dance in front of mirror.

Attend the masterclasses.

To learn from a good choreographer or dancer who came to your city is an opportunity that is simply not to be lost. Usually, these masterclasses give you much more than a few months of regular training. This is because top dancers and choreographers with a lot of experience come to the masterclasses.

Try training with different coaches.

In addition to masterclasses, try classes with different coaches. Everyone has a different approach to teaching, different style, and plasticity. This variety is sure to benefit your body.

Masterclasses.

Set specific goals.

It’s cool that you want to be better than you are. But it’s not very effective if you don’t set specific goals. Such a goal can be a victory or a prize in competitions, participation in battles, appearances in public, getting a job in ballet, organizing your group of dancers, etc. Goals may also be short-term, such as learning to spin on your head if you are a b-boy, or learning the attitude (the main pose of ballet) if you’re a ballet dancer. In this way, you will be able to track your progress, and achieving your goals will inspire you to win even more.

Different dancers' goals.

Take part in competitions and battles.

Dancing in public is a completely different feeling than in a training class. Performances train artistry, the ability to express emotion in dance, as well as tell a story with your body. Competitions and battles bring up a sporting spirit and competitive enthusiasm.

Dancer on Competitive Stage.

Communicate with other dancers.

Sharing experiences, the opportunity to train together, an objective view from the outside – all these are the benefits of communicating with other dancers. Yes, sometimes you may meet an adversary who will not be sincere with you because of competition or other selfish feelings. But in most cases, the dancers around you can help you became better every day, and you can help them in this too.

Find people from whom you can get quality feedback.

Ask your coach for advice, ask him what you are doing right and what you are not. In addition to coaches, you can talk to friends and family, even if they have nothing to do with dancing. You will at least get a boost of motivation and support from them.

Give 100% in training.

Take ALL from every training. Be serious, listen carefully to what the coach says. Repeat the movements after the coach over and over again, because the more practice you have, the faster the result will be. Why come to the training if you do not plan to do everything you can on it?

Keep the body toned.

It’s a set of actions – work out, eat the right food and sleep enough. All this will make your body always ready for exercise, strong and healthy. Every day it works hard to be better for you. Do something for your body in return – make sure that your body is nourished with quality micro- and macronutrients, and that you recover sufficiently while you sleep. It’s also a big plus for you if you keep your muscles toned by training in the gym or jogging if necessary.

Healthy Body.

Ignore the haters, but don’t be seduced by compliments.

Negative in this field of activity can not be avoided, it is important – do not pay attention to him. Constructive criticism from professionals and experienced specialists, of course, is important. But if we are talking about envious people, then you should not be upset about their opinion. As for praise and compliments, they are, of course, very pleasant. But the main thing is not to stop at what has been achieved.

Do not ignore fatigue, pain, or even minor injuries.

Take care of your body and make sure it’s healthy. If you feel pain in any part of your body, do not ignore it. Tell your trainer, or see a doctor immediately. Any injuries, even the mildest, can lead to serious and severe consequences.

Don’t compare yourself to others.

Nobody’s born a dancer. Yes, some people are more inclined to learn, some people learn easier or faster, some people have good ears, then they get rhythm quicker but nobody’s born with coordination. That’s a skill that has to be developed.

Nobody’s born a dancer.

Do not give up!

This is one of the most important tips for all dancers, both beginners, and professionals. Never give up, no matter what. Take challenges with pride, and also be confident in yourself. And you will succeed!

Write what you think about these short tips below in the comments.

Perhaps you have something to add, we will be happy to supplement this list with useful tips.

And if our advice has helped you in any way, we’d be very happy to hear about it.

Dance and grow with DanceBibles.com!

Contemporary Dance History

Contemporary Dance History

Contemporary dance is a popular dance direction characterized by plasticity, emotionality, variety of movements and techniques. Today, this dance has huge popularity. Its active popularization and development began only in the 80s of the last century. Even the word “contemporary” only then began to be used exactly as the name of the whole direction in dance. But you should understand that this style of dance appeared much earlier. Let’s find out – when?

Theories of Origin

We don’t know exactly when the Contemporary dance came out. That is, it is not clear who and when he first started dancing, inventing movements and techniques. There are several theories that are based on the similarity of certain techniques to others.

Contemporary dance origin.

So, there is an opinion that contemporary dance came from Eastern practices, in particular from yoga and some martial arts. This is explained by the special technique of breathing in a contemporary, which is also inherent in yogic breathing. It’s also important for the contemporary dance to have a stable position, balance, smooth transition from one movement to another, which is also very typical for yoga. So one cannot help but think about the similarity of these two types of physical activity.

Contrary to the previous theory, some historians argue that the emergence of contemporary dance is directly related to either Central America or European countries.

Alternative to classical ballet

What nobody denies is that the contemporary appeared as a result of the denial of classical ballet and its canons. Ballet is a rather structured system of movements with strict rules. Contemporary dance has become a kind of opposition to everything classical, because of its free, expressive and natural character.

Contemporary VS Classic Ballet.

It should be noted that the classic base of a contemporary dancer is often an undeniable advantage in terms of physical fitness and capabilities of the body.

Founders

The mother of modern dance, free and sensual, is rightfully considered Isadora Duncan, although contemporary dancing got its popularity even 30 years after her death. It was she who began to contrast the sharp lines, strict choreographic movements and standardization of poses in favor of free, natural dance, which expresses sincere emotions and feelings.

Isadora Duncan.

Isadora has established a tendency to dance barefoot. She was not interested in inventing new pas, but in creating a new worldview – light and joyful. This feeling was fully conveyed through her dancing and performances. She talked so much about “liberation from conventionality”, about “free spirit in a liberated body” that her art was eventually dubbed “free”.

Isadora Duncan's Photos.

Authenticity and individuality, the manifestation of personal feelings of the dancer – these signs became the main in determining the modern dance according to Duncan and her followers. The ballerina’s frozen smile has disappeared, and she has been replaced by sincere emotions and feelings.

Attention!

It is also worth noting the significant influence of the idea of freedom of movement and expression of feelings in dance on classical ballet dances. Even the academic ballet could not allow a “soulless” gesture after Duncan.

Martha Graham (1894-1991)

Although Isadora and her dance were quite popular, contemporary dancing has gained more popularity thanks to Martha Graham. This dancer, who introduced and widely popularized contemporary dance to a global audience.

Martha Graham.

М. Graham excluded imitation of movements, teaching independent plastic thinking and expressiveness of gestures. For this purpose, she used the technique of contraction and release, according to which the movement originates from the center of the body where breathing is concentrated (diaphragm).

Martha Graham's photo.

Graham has introduced into modern dance all known to this day bases:

  • Breathing techniques: when exhaled, the diaphragm shrinks, directing the movement inside; when inhaled, it expands, the movement spreads in a spiral upward through the torso, arms, neck.
  • The movement must cover the entire space, that is, the dance takes place standing, sitting and on the floor (parterre).
  • The dance completely covers the whole body, all parts of the body are used.
  • More complete use of space through movements on the floor.

Merce Cunningham

Merce Cunningham worked with M. Graham’s troupe in 1939-45. In 1952, he formed his own troupe. He believed that the emotional element should be brought to choreography by the spectator, not by a choreographer or a dancer. His aesthetics were close to the theatre of absurdity and aleatoric in music. Cunningham has staged performances of both the Art Nouveau Dance and the European Classical School in many European and American companies, particularly the Paris Opera.

Merce Cunningham.

Pina Bausch

The German dance theatre in the Pina Bausch version becomes the third source of all modern culture with modern dance. She has been working as a choreographer since 1968, thanks to which she creates the Wuppertal Dance Theatre. She has not only transformed modern dance but has also created a new genre: dance theatre, a system in which words, music, and movement exist on equal terms. Many of the things that exist in the field of dance theatre today owe this genre to Pina Bausch.

Pina Bausch.

Present days

Today, contemporary dance is a popular dance around the world. Such dancers and choreographers as William Forsythe, Alain Platel, Steve Paxton (creator of contact improvisation), Wim Vandekeybus, Itzik Galili, Meg Stuart, Ruth St. Denis, Boris Charmatz, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Sasha Waltz made a significant contribution to its development and popularization. They and many others are the authors and ideologists of modern free dance – contemporary dance. To these people, we should be grateful for what we see and enjoy this amazing dance exactly as it is.

This may be interesting to watch:


Books about the history of the Contemporary:

  • Steve Paxton “Gravity” and “Trisha Brown: dance and art in dialogue, 1961-2001”;
  • Driver S. William Forsythe “Chur: Harwood Academic Publishers”, 2000;
  • Susan Rosenberg “Trisha Brown: Choreography as Visual Art”.

So, what do you think about the future of contamporary dancing?

Let’s talk about it in comments bellow.