Tricia Deed writes about different types of arts and crafts. One of her favorite is belly dancing. It suits every woman. .
Dancing As A Hobby
Dancing as a hobby is an exciting activity for all ages. Dance as a soloist, a couple, or as part of a group. Many people like to dance to their favorite music. Others venture into other world music to satisfy their interest in other cultures.
People enjoy dancing because of the love of music. They cannot resist the urge to move their body to the different rhythms. The rhythms may be experienced as a soloist or danced with a partner or a group.
Some of us are attracted to the dance fashions which accompany the music style. Dance fashions range from wearing a grass-weaved skirt to an elegant ballroom gown. Bare feet, shoe taps, or high heel shoes capture feet fashion enthusiasts.
We are guilty for being attracted to dances that use props. Swords, canes, daggers, water pitchers, large straw hats roller and ice skates, and stilts are a few of the props that may be experienced.
Dance is an exciting hobby activity for all ages. You may dance as a soloist, as a couple, or as part of a group. Many people like to dance to their favorite music. Others venture into other world music to satisfy their interest in other cultures.
The love of music inspires movement. People cannot resist the urge to move their body to the different rhythms. They experience the different rhythms as a soloist, a couple, or as part of a group.
Certain dance fashions capture our attention and we want to wear them to accent the music. Dance fashions range from wearing a grass-weaved skirt to an elegant ballroom gown. Bare feet, shoe taps, or high heel shoes capture feet fashion enthusiasts.
There are dances that require props or accessories. Swords, canes, daggers, water pitchers, large straw hats, roller and ice skates, and stilts are a few of the props.
Improve physical, mental, and emotional fitness
Stimulate mental abilities
Relieve physical, mental and emotional stress
An excellent social outlet resulting in friendships
Meeting a romantic other
Rock and Roll
1. Rock 'n' Roll
Rock ‘n’ roll music originated from about the 1940s and continuing into the 1950s. It introduced me to it in the late 1950s as a child.
This was the era of the rock ‘n’ roll, and its king was Elvis Presley. Teenagers loved the exciting rhythms, and they loved dancing to it. Rock ‘n’ roll continues to be popular because the music sets one’s feet and body to dancing. We need no formal dance training.
Rock ‘n’ roll is still an active form of dancing in America. There are many community clubs and nightclubs which offer dance participation. These dance centers will provide music from re-recorded music or featuring live bands who specialize in rock ‘n’ roll.
Rock ‘n’ roll music is here to stay. My generation wore out many rpm albums and watched the Dick Clark television show every day. This show featured musicians, and the live audience were teenagers from local towns and cities. Today’s technology allows listening or viewing to CDs, DVDs, MP3s, iPods, computer, cable, and satellite.
The first Rock ‘n’ Roll song was introduced by Bill Haley and the Comets called “Crazy Man, Crazy”.
The Father of Rock ‘n’ roll is Chuck Berry. His number #1 song “My Ding-a-Ling” in 1972.
King of Rock ‘n’ Roll is Elvis Presley. #1 song “Heartbreak Hotel” in 1956.
Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll is Janis Joplin #1 song “Me & Bobby McGee” in 1971
The music prior to this era seemed tame. What made Rock ‘n’ Roll different was its loudness and rhythms which grab your emotions and make you move about with all the energy your body can muster. It is upbeat, exhilarating, infectious, flashy, colorful music bringing out every delinquent behavior a teenager can muster.
Adults take ballet as a fitness program. They may do ballet at recreational centers, gyms, schools of ballet, or personal training in your home. Ballet bars are available for home installation. You may also study with DVDs or online.
The ballet cannot be self taught. This dance requires a skilled and qualified instructor. To use ballet as physical fitness I would recommend attending classes and supplement practice at home. Sometimes people want to try out a movement without instruction and it results in injury. We need the instructor to observe your movements and correct when necessary to prevent injury.
Ballet is becoming more popular as an exercise outlet for adults in America.
Physical Benefits of ballet movements:
- Burns calories, helps reduce fat, and tone and increase muscle strength
- A flatter tummy
- Reduce stress
- Corrects posture
- Tightens skin to reduce cellulite
- Weight loss
Mental benefits include:
- Develop creativity
- Gain confidence, endurance, coordination, and flexibility
- Refine focusing abilities and better cognitive abilities
- Ballet Basics
Adults enjoy taking lessons in a safe and fun environment. They design classes for adults. There are no age restrictions and flexible scheduling is available. Most classes are for 30 minutes.
Yes, adults perform in recitals and other outlets for adult ballerinas.
Modern Dance - Men in Stage Performance
3. Modern Dance
Modern dance is a changed version of ballet. We consider it a rebellious dance. This dance is a method of self exploration and for that reason we become free spirited. This is one reason for many styles in modern dance. It uses all senses when dancing. There are few rules to follow.
Artists such as Isadora Duncan pioneered this dance. This art form allows the freedom to create movements to express one’s self living in the music. Ruth St. Denis and Martha Graham were other artists who have helped to make this dance popular.
You may dance as a soloist, as a duet, or as a troupe.
- Build endurance and stamina
- Gain balance and stability
- Manage weight
- Overall muscle conditioning
- Helps build bone strength
- Cardio workout
- Fine tune coordination and flexibility
- Aerobic fitness
This dance is best for the creative individual who wants originality and lack of discipline in their dance style.
4. Ballroom Dancing
There are three categories to choose; smooth, standard, and Latin. The waltz, foxtrot, tango, and jitter bug are in the smooth and standard categories. Latin includes salsa, rumba, cha-cha and mambo. Country western, jive, plus the swing are recent categories. Ballroom dancing is popular worldwide. Choose American or International styles.
This form of dance is a popular sport. American and International audiences watch the performers with excited enthusiasm, They cheer loudly encouraging their favorites to win the competition. People watch these competitive events on American television programs. Three popular American programs are World of Dance, Dancing with the Stars, along with You Think You Can Dance.
- Health betterment for confidence, self-esteem, conquer shyness
- Social interaction
- Friendships, romance
- Educational value
- Improves focus
- Sharpens the mind
- Generates self-discipline
- Achieve perfection
- Develops positive outlet
- Stress relief
- Step mastery
- Sport dancing
- Beautiful costumes
Tap Shoes Worn by Tap Dancers
5. Tap Dancing
Tap dancing is executed to quick stepping music, which gets your feet tapping to the beats. Study with or without a partner.
As a child, I recall struggling to tap with my roller skates. I tried it during my adult years, discovering it to be fun. Tap dancing takes muscle power, stamina, and energy. It works the entire body burning calories.
Tap dancing benefits the entire body, making it an excellent cardiovascular exercise. Active movements of the arms and legs help elevate the heart rate. The constant flow of action movements enhance flexibility, agility, coordination, durability, endurance, and mental sharpness.
Tapping sounds originate from the screwed in metal discs in the heel and toe of the shoe. Dance suppliers sell these special shoes.
A wood or Marley vinyl are excellent floors. Marley vinyl is another name for roll-out vinyl. Do not use hardwood floors or concrete. The metal discs will scrape the wood surface. Concrete is a hard surface causing injuries to the spine, ankles, and feet.
Other forms of dance that use noise makers on their shoes are country western clogging, flamenco, and Irish Step.
In America, they consider Fred Astaire the most popular tap dancer.
6. Street Dancing - American Black
American Black musical artists are the originators of The Blues, Jazz, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Funk, and House dances. Social dance enthusiasts design the dance steps along with body actions to go with these rhythms.
We consider this dance within the category of social dancing. Anyone with desire and skills can do it. Break Dancing is a tool for communicating with others in the same community. The spectators familiar with the steps will join the group when inspired to do so.
Young men and women perform their dances on the sidewalks of city streets in America as a fun activity. Student dancers with experience along with advance training give shows at community functions, school, and church events.
On a visit to Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida, I enjoyed watching the presentation by an African touring troupe. In one performance, a 70-year-old man did Break Dancing with a hubcap as a prop. They credit this tribe with the authentic birth of this dance. But, when interviewing several local citizens in Florida, they did not agree. Their response was, “it’s from the Bronx in New York.”
Break Dancing is a popular street dance among young men and women. City streets become their outside dance studios. Performers use high energy, acrobatic skills, core strength, flexibility, focusing skills, and mental acuity. It is not for the non-athletic or faint at heart.
There are many types of dances credited to American Blacks. Two national famous dances include the Hip Hop, along with the Twist.
Other dances pioneered by American Blacks:
- Running Man
- The Bp
- Cabbage Patch
- Lindy Hop
- Kid n Play
- Bees Knees
- The Wop
- Hip Hop Rap
- RnB Mix
- Backyard Sway
The dancers produce each unique dance with a new name, contemporary steps and body movements. As these dances become popular, they will stand on their own merit or may blend into Traditional African, American Deep South, Harlem, along with jazz dances.
A Beautiful Belly Dancer
7. Belly Dance
Belly dance gets its nickname because they leave the abdominal section of the body exposed. There are more hip movements.
This is a woman’s dance which satisfies her physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. During its early years, it appears to have been used in the birthing process. Today, pregnant women find this dance to be helpful.
Why women are interested in lessons:
- Gentle exercise
- Control body movements
- Home or classroom instructions
- Private, class, or video information
- No partner is necessary
- It’s fun
- Wear beautiful costumes
- Social opportunities
- Performing engagements
- Weight loss or body redistribution
- Relieve stress
- Relieve general physical discomforts
- Mentally and emotionally uplifting
- Joint relief-excellent for those with arthritis
- Weight bearing exercise-gentle and easy for those with osteoporosis
- Preparation for childbirth
- Boost confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth
This dance is popular among women and girls in many countries. There are instructors teaching individual or group classes in private homes, dance studios, fitness centers, and community or recreational centers. Students who are majoring in a dance degree earn credits for studying Middle Eastern Dancing.
8. Folk Dancing
Many people, including tourists, attend International outdoor festivals and fairs in our state. These events include fun, interests, plus an education. The entertainers, representing various countries, show and inform audiences of their cultures’ history, customs, traditions and celebrations.
Florida, my residential state, is occupied by many nationalities. Businesses and private organizations sponsor and finance both private and public festivals and fairs. Citizens from our communities do dances of Greek, Bavarian, Spanish, Philippine, Chinese, Middle Eastern, African tribal, American Indians, Brazilian, Mexican, plus India folk dances.
The three American line dances are Country Western, square dancing, and clogging. Line dancing requires dancers to stand in rows forming lines. They do easy repetitive steps to choreographies. Line dancing is prevalent among Country Western music fans.
They teach International dances in dance schools, colleges, universities, private instruction, online classes, ethic restaurants, plus International clubs.
Other Popular Line Dances with their country of origin.
- “Cha Cha Slide,” America
- “Macarena,” Spain.
- “The Hokey Pokey,” Ireland
- “The Chicken Dance,” Germany
- Community enjoyment
- Mood enhancer
- Dance with or without a partner
- Improve posture, balance, and flexibility
- Aerobic exercise
- Sharpens the mind
- Relieves stress and rigidity
- Builds confidence
9. Dances of India
Indian dancing originates from the ancient world of dance. Students have many challenging styles to study.
Classical, folk, and tribal are three forms. Classical represents religious plus spiritual complex moves. It takes years of dedicated study. Folk dancing is easy to learn; we need no dance skill. Tribal dancing is best when you live with the local people and understand their primitive roots. We may do these dances in a pattern of soloists, groups, or line dance format.
The performer needs to be aware of choreography, body actions, plus feet positioning, The footwork is crucial in this physical art form.. We must place each foot in its exact position during quiet actions. Dancers do intricate quick, fast, swaying, and hopping gestures. I tried learning the foot pattern of hopping from toe to heel, repeating several times. This is a difficult maneuver.
We know Indian dancing for precise placement of body parts. It is my understanding that they commit 240 hand and finger positions to memory.
Drama plus acting are key points in this art form. They express emotions with facial gestures plus eye movements.
They make their everyday garments and elaborate costumes with brightly colored fabrics. Sparkles and jewels adorn the fabrics. They wear jewelry on their head, around the neck, arms, wrists, and fingers. They make faces up with glamour makeup. They wear facial jewelry. The dancer may choose between an animal mask or facial painting. There are full body paintings for animal characters.
Musical instruments inclusive of ankle bells and finger cymbals accompany music.
They break India into 28 states. This means 28 different styles of dance. It is a kaleidoscope of selections.
I watch classes of students studying these folk dances in our local dance studios. These dances contain excellent aerobic exercises to assist a weight loss program.
A Flamenco Dancer
10. Flamenco and Spanish Dancing
We know flamenco dancing for its powerful emotions, dynamics, and drama. Dancers with the guitar player perform with strong artistic execution. Vocalists in the audience will sing or chant. All participants also hand clap to the rhythms.
Flamenco is from the Andalusia region of Spain, representing its Spanish folklore and culture. There are fifty styles of this dance.
The male stands tall with an erect posture. His female partner stands tall with a slight back bend. These dancers pose arms, hands, and fingers in selected positions. Their feet produce tapping sounds with their Flamenco shoes on a wooden platform. Both dancers may use wooden castanets or tambourines to highlight the rhythms or dance style.
The traditional costume for men is a white shirt, black vest, hat, with black trousers. Men wear boots, women wear strapped shoes. They fasten nails into the heels of the shoes to create tapping sounds. Women wear colorful dresses fitted at the bodice and waistline opening into a flared multi-ruffled skirt. They wear a flower in their hairdo.
Improvisational Flamenco is from the Romani gypsies of India. Each generation teaches this free and spontaneous dance style. They wear ordinary clothing; no special costumes. Their dance is energetic with strong exaggerated arm, hand and finger movements. Sturdy legs support body movements and bare feet stomp to the rhythms. Clapping hand or finger snapping is used. The audience sings while clapping their hands.
Children learn both styles of dance. They often become professional entertainers as teenagers. Both styles require discipline plus hours of practicing. It is a dance pursued by serious students.
- Repair spinal posture
- Cardiac workout
- Weight loss
- Develop confidence
- Builds endurance
- Improves focusing
- Builds mental alertness
- Improves dexterity
- Build body strength and agility
There are teachers in many communities. Investigate to ensure a qualified instructor. I went to see a Spanish dancing show. A group of people were unhappy with the teacher’s credentials. These people felt cultural insult. The biggest offenders are labeling a dance with the wrong name, along with inaccurate dance movements to the wrong music selection.
11. Hawaiian Dancing
We consider Hawaii an island paradise where many travelers have discovered the hula dance.
The Hawaiians will dance the hula as long as they inhabit the islands. Women, young girls, and men perform this dance. The knees are bent to allow hips to sway to the rhythm. Facial expressions, hands, and fingers tell a story.
Children study this dance when they can walk. Hands along with fingers tell the stories. They memorize these movements. This dance, rather than the printed word, continues the stories of the Hawaiian culture.
The hula is easy to learn, which makes it popular among hobbyists. Learning the Hawaiian words in their songs is a greater challenge than the dance.
The dancers use instruments to accent the rhythms and add interest. The ipu is a hollow gourd or drum. A double gourd filled with seeds produces a rattling sound. Bright feathers decorate these gourds. Split bamboo sticks are another percussion instrument. They tap lava stones, also known as river rocks, in their hands like castanets.
The leaves of the tee leaf plant are the makings of a grass skirt. This plant is not prolific. Today’s dancers use fabrics together with synthetic materials.
- Light to moderate energy - easy on joints
- 6,000 steps in a one hour hula class vs 7200 steps walking in one hour
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves memory, balance, coordination
- Weight loss
- Improves glucose levels
- Boosts energy
- Tones and strengthens legs
- Affordable costumes
- Social gatherings
20 Dance Styles From Around The World
Tricia Deed on April 29, 2015:
You are correct in noticing that I did not include African dancing. I also did not include Brazilian, Martial Arts Dancing, Tahitian, Zomba, Tai, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, and many others. At a later date I will have to include these other forms of dancing. This article talked about those dances which I have noticed to be currently popular in America.
Miebakagh Fiberesima on April 24, 2015:
Thank you good fellow. I appreciate your story much. However, I have to say that many of the dances are western and Eastern inn character. Nowhere is African dance ever mentioned.