Sisters Do the Dance of Love

 

young sisters smiling

Dancing sisters pose before their dance

Dance has all kinds of functions, from exercise to art, to connection, to just plain fun.  As an art form, it’s one of the best ways to express emotion.

 

My sister, whom I love more than just about anyone else in my life, sent me this beautiful video of another set of sisters performing a dance that tells a tale of love about as eloquently as I’ve ever seen it told.  Love is a favorite theme in art, in it’s many forms.  Love unrequited.  Tragic love.  Plain old romantic love. Love of nature.  Love of beauty.

 

Sisterly love we don’t see so much.  Watch it come through with such blazing sincerity it brings tears to your eyes in this moving dance number

 

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by LaurieAnn Lepoff

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Rhythm: Our Birthright

 

twin babies dance

Twin babies charm us with their natural ability to dance

I’ve shown this video in a previous blog, but It so perfectly illustrates my point that just have to show it again:

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Rhythm and Dance are our Birthright

I believe that human beings are born with an innate sense of rhythm. I believe that as we grow up and face various traumas, we respond by shutting down whatever natural responses that feel
threatening to our young minds at the time. It could be sexuality, or even the ability to breathe with natural ease. For a great many people it’s a graceful natural response to music.

What Causes White Man’s Clapping Syndrome?

Imagine for instance that the twins in the video were boys and that their parents implanted in
them the belief that moving to music was a sissy thing to do. Those boys would likely grow up to be my target market, afflicted through life with White Man’s Clapping Syndrome..

They might remember what it was that made them think dancing was just not allowed, or it might not be obvious because what makes sense at the age of two might not register on an adult brain.
But they are nevertheless left with an emotional reaction that feels like a threat to their very survival Why else would a man who loves a woman who loves to dance refuse to even try to learn to be a partner for her?

My previous experience in counseling comes in handy here, not because I analyze the psychological issues of my students, which I don’t, but because I recognize the power of decisions we make at a young age and how difficult it is to break free.

I have incredible respect for the courage of people who are willing to take on such a challenge. I
guide them through it with understanding patience, compassion, and humor.

The Power of Music

The great neurologist Oliver Sacks wrote about using music to bring people out of comas. It had to be the right music, though, music that they loved. When faced with the wrong music, the coma looked like a better choice.

Everyone who lacks rhythm requires a unique approach to finding it again. This one problem is the most challenging for me to solve. Rhythm comes from the right brain and our educational system only teaches us to use the left. When I teach it I have to use my right brain as well. People ask me how I do it and the answer is I have no idea. I make it up as I go, praying that my instincts will guide me to the right way to work with each student. It’s the scariest and most enriching part of what I do.

Dancing without music

I know a couple who copied the dance routines of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. They danced around the room with graceful skill, completely ignoring the music. It looked like a movie with the sound track out of sync. Most teachers don’t even try to teach this, and many competitive ballroom dancers believe that dance is it’s own art form that has nothing to do with music.

I, of course, disagree. To me, dance that is disconnected from music is more of a sport than a dance. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: my definition of dance is making a musical instrument out of your body and jamming with the band.

My biggest success story comes from the time when Lindy Hop inexplicably was all the rage among teenagers. I worked with a kid whose friends were all advanced lindy hoppers. He fell in love with the dance even though he could not even feel the basic beat. Lindy is a jazz dance that uses all the nuances of the music.

He not only learned how to feel the music, but he fell n love with the dance and went on to become one of the best dancers in the community. He was cute and athletic and all the cute girls lined up to dance with him. This also made him totally insufferable for a while but I figured he earned the right.

New at Steps On Toes

What’s new in my business is that I now begin every first lesson with an explorer session. That’s a coaching session in which I find out what they want to accomplish, what their dance history
is, what worked and what didn’t, and what their goals REALLY are. They may come in thinking they just want to learn to dance, but their bottom line might be confidence, intimacy, social skills, or connecting to a community. When they achieve their goals it can have major impact on all parts of their lives.

People who learn to bring back their sense of rhythm often see the most profound shifts because they bring the right brain into balance. This also happens when left brained people learn
the skill of following, which also a right brain skill.

The human brain connects to music and we want to move to it. You see it in kids all the time. Dance is the embodiment of joy and it’s my job to give back to people their birthright: to respond to music with effortless grace and unabashed joy.

By LaurieAnn Lepoff

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Down Syndrome Dancers Show Us How to Have Fun

poster for Down Syndrome dance

Down Syndrome Dancers
advertise their extravaganza

To Dance With Abandon!

On the heels of my Dance Walking posts, I couldn’t resist commenting on this wonderful video.
People with Down Syndrome can teach us a lot about dancing with abandon.

Dance: The Embodiment of Joy

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: dance is the embodiment of joy. If I could give my students one gift it would be to remove the bone in their head that makes them care what other people think of the way they look on the dance floor. While I’m at it, I’d like to sign up for the same surgery myself.

In a previous post, http://www.stepsontoes.com/?s=dancing+for+joy, I wrote about Tim Harris, a kid with Down Syndrome who has his own restaurant in which he bestows hugs on his appreciative customers. In Tim’s video, he dances for joy on his way to work because he enjoys his life so much he is called to express it with a heart felt dance.

Dance in the Best of Worlds

In this video, a group of people with Down Syndrome bring awareness to World Down Syndrome Day by filming themselves doing their own version of dance walking. Most people have a hard time expressing spontaneous joy in public. It is the gift these lovely people bring to us to show us a glimpse of a world where love and joy are easily expressed.
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by LaurieAnn Lepoff

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Perfect Dancing Classes for your Kid’s Happy Feet

Here is a guest post from Pamela Hudson in Runcon.  Next time you’re in England, check out her school if you have kids!
dance1

Are you desirous of reaching out to after school activities for your kid? Consider their enrollment for dance classes. Along with making new friends, increasing co-ordination levels and socializing, your child will also become more energetic and active.

Check out these effective guidelines to nut out the perfect dance style for your kid’s “happy feet” and find ways of zeroing in on their ideal dance class.

When do you start?

While some feel that children should start visiting their dance classes from as early as their second birthday, others believe that “creative movement” classes for preschoolers and toddlers are more effective than structured dancing classes. Take your pick.

If your child falls in the 3-5 years age bracket and is mature enough and ready to jive with others in her/his age group, then you need not wait. Timely admission to dance school gives their growth, confidence and personality a massive boost.

Choosing the best Style

Are you mothering a bouncing B-boy, singing/dancing dynamo or a budding ballerina? With plenty of dance styles and lessons on their cards, reputed dancing classes for children help you select the most appropriate style of movement for your little one.

Most kids dance lessons and classes offer professional training for Ballet, Jazz, Funk, tap dancing, Hip Hop, Break dancing, Calisthenics and folk dancing. Your child may be attracted towards modern, contemporary, lyrical, world dance, musical theater, ball room dancing or the refreshing swing dancing—remember to look through all options before zeroing in on one.

Gather Information

Ask around. This proves to be the best tool for gaining further information and insights about the right children’s dance school. If possible, get in touch with the kids learning in these classes and their moms. They provide honest feedback about the various dancing styles, the skills of trainers and the dance studio which would work wonders for your kid.

Finding the best Dance Class for your Kid

dance2

Once you have shortlisted the dance styles, look around and check out the best dance studios in your town/city. You can indulge in a few snoops. Is the environment safe? Are the instructors qualified? Are the kids happily following their cue? The studio which notches high on your ranked list has to be checked out for credibility, distance from your home/office and cost structures.

Time Scheduling

You should work out time schedules and the duration of dance sessions. Your kid should get ample time to study, play and dance—and not quite in the same order.

Dance training requires a lot of dedication and commitment. Repetitive practice is a must. A careful understanding of the dance style requires high levels of performance, perfect attendance and most importantly—rehearsed moves.

Benefits Galore

Tapping in tune in a dance school is an exciting opportunity for kids and their parents alike. Fostering a positive and more confidence self image; dance lessons teach self discipline, self confidence, grace and poise. They introduce children to the passion for rhythm and inspire love for dance movements and art forms—all at an early age.

“And of course, dancing is and will always be a lot of fun!”

Cost Additions

Well, like it or not; after school activities add up to your costs. Along with training fees and the overall cost of classes you need to dish out funds for commuting to and fro, paying for costumes/stage fees and arranging equipment to act as props for your kids dancing steps. However, when your kid dances with elegance of the instructor then there is nothing more awarding than the sight of the kid.

Well I think that all the children’s must have the opportunity to explore their potential and few dancing schools like children’s dance school in Runcorn are trying you give your child the opportunity for it.

Dancing School Kids Do Oakland Proud

Marshawn Lynch coaches Oakland kids

Dancers, scholars, or athletes? These Oakland kids can be anything they want!

My dance studio is in Oakland and I live in Oakland. Our city gets a lot of bad press but we Oaklanders love our city. Yes, we have crime, on the streets and in our government, but we also have great food, great dancing, outstanding architecture, the Art Murmur, cultural diversity, and amazing kids.

The kids in this video use music and dance to show their eagerness to get an education and put their hearts and minds into their future dreams. See if they don’t charm their way into your hearts with this beautifully produced little video.  They would like it to be spread about as much as possible, so here’s my contribution.  Enjoy!

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By LaurieAnn Lepoff

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Another Inner Child Dancing

Evian ad of inner child

Evian captures dancing inner child again!

I know, I know, I promised no more Evian dance blogs, but they’re just so beautifully done! When a company features dance as the ultimate expression of joy, they deserve to by honored in a dance blog. This one isn’t as much fun as the dancing babies, but it’s still beautifully animated and a ton of fun. And the message is still great: that inside all of us is a dancing younger version that is dying to break out. That all it takes is a sip of bottled water to release it is debatable, but I can’t argue with the premise. I believe there is a dancer inside everyone. I think many people squashed their inner dancer at some point during their youth in response to whatever trauma they suffered, but it’s still there. And what a great illustration of that idea in this ad.  If you missed the first two posts on this theme (especially if you haven’t seen the roller babies and dancing babies ads) you can find them here:  http://www.stepsontoes.com/2013/06/dancing-with-my-inner-child/ and here http://www.stepsontoes.com/2013/06/dancing-sells-water/Whatever you feel about bottled water, you can’t deny the artistry and fun employed herein:

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By LaurieAnn Lepoff

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Dance and How To Keep Young Children Active

Here is a guest blog from a dance studio in England!

It’s important to get kids involved in physical activity from a young age. Not only is it good for their health, but it helps them to learn vital life skills. They get to play with other kids, learn to share and how to work in a team. Finding something that your child loves to do can sometimes be a challenge, especially when they are just starting to build their confidence. There are lots of ways of keeping your kids active and specialised classes that are aimed at young tots. Here are some of the things you can try to keep your child active and healthy.

 

Swimming

Swimming is a vital life skill that all children should learn. It will keep them safe in the water and it’s a fantastic way of keeping fit. Head down to your local swimming pool a few times a week when your child is between 1 – 3 years and get them used to the water. Then you can take them to local swimming classes from about 3 upwards and see how they develop. They may only do it for a while until they can swim safely, or they could end up really enjoying it and keep it as a hobby.

 

Dancing

Kids Dance classes are a great way of getting young kids to use up some of their energy. It’s a high energy, fun and entertaining form of exercise that kids will love. They can start from a very young age and some classes let parents take part too, so you can enjoy some quality time with your little one. Dance also helps with balance and coordination skills as well as being a brilliant way of keeping active.

 

Play

Incorporate some active play sessions into your child’s daily routine. Play with them outside or sing some nursery rhymes with actions. There are so many games and toys they can play with that encourage a bit of physical activity. This will help them to burn a bit of energy and have fun around the home.

 

Martial Arts

Kids martial arts classes don’t usually involve any fighting or contact, it’s more about learning the appropriate movements and skills. Martial arts are really good for learning discipline and respect for others, as these values are a big part of the sport.

 

Walking

It sounds simple but walking more is a really great way of keeping you and your kids more active. Don’t use the car unless you really need to. Walk to the park or the shops with your little ones and get some fresh air. It will save money on petrol and keep the whole family more active.

 

Active Days Out

young children

Kids at a dance class in the UK

Plan lots of active days out where the kids can get into lots of different physical activities. Take them to a theme park, down to the beach or for a fun walk on a nature trail. Spending a day doing something active will wear the kids out and give you time to relax in the evening. Days out don’t have to be expensive, you can go to lots of free parks and attractions throughout the country.

 

 

 

Dawn Short is owner of Wiggle Tots specialising in children’s dance classes in Sheffield, UK