Dance: The Musical – Act 2: Dancing

The Story

Dancing is the loftiest, the most moving, the most beautiful of the arts, because it is no mere translation or abstraction from life; it is life itself. (Havelock Ellis, psychologist)

So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing. (T. S. Eliot, poet)

The one thing that can solve most of our problems is dancing. (James Brown, musician – the Godfather of Soul)

I got started dancing because I knew it was one way to meet girls. (Gene Kelly, actor/dancer)

The main thing is dancing, and before it withers away from my body, I will keep dancing till the last moment, the last drop. (Rudolf Nureyev, dancer)

I have no desire to prove anything by dancing. I have never used it as an outlet or a means of expressing myself. I just dance. I just put my feet in the air and move them around. (Fred Astaire, dancer)

DancePlaybillProgram (Past Posts)
Act 1: Dance

Act 2: Dancing
Dance is a rhythmic action to music, but it’s also an event where the action occurs. Then again, from the time we most-likely first danced on someone’s lap, one can dance anywhere – around the house, down the aisles of the grocery store, or wherever one desires.

Those who do it well, dance with style while expressing a message. For others, dancing is a fun activity because it brings them joy.

Act 2 features songs with Dancing or Dancin’ in the title.

Caution: No duplicate songs, which includes the same song by a different artist.

Production Note
To prevent browsers crashing from loading too many videos, please 1) include the song title and artist in your text, and 2) paste the URL as part of your last line (not a new line). The latter will provide a link, thus not embed the actual video … but I don’t mind unembedding, so apologies are not necessary.

Announcement
No matter the skill level, dancing is an expression for the dancer. Opening an act with an instrumental, but Act 2 is about dancing. Ladies and gentlemen, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to honor a dancing legend for the opener. Enjoy not only Dancing in the Dark by Ray Conniff (which is from the movie Band Wagon), but also the expression by Cyd Charisse and Fred Astaire.

On Foxtrot

My favorite dance is the Foxtrot. It’s a proper dance with proper music. It has class. (Anton du Beke)

Danced to the music of crooners, Foxtrot is a long, smooth, continuous dance designed to move down the floor and around clockwise (unless a pair has the floor to themselves as above). It’s easy, flowing manner displays face, style, and elegance … just imagine Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

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Origins
Foxtrot’s origins are debatable, some have it beginning in the 1890s. Whoever is right, there is no doubt that the dance became popular.

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There no question that early Foxtrot was faster than today as it was originally danced to ragtime. By the time of this film, the tempo had slowed down.

Style
Danced in 4-4 (4/4) time, Foxtrot is smooth and graceful … not jerky … not bouncy.

Its easy walking style helped make Foxtrot the most popular dance of the 1920s and 1930s.

Overtime, Foxtrot morphed into slow and fast versions, thus today Foxtrot is slower and Quickstep is fast. Each have similar steps, but done at different tempos. Even today, American and International versions differences include tempo. (To me, this is International style, which is slower.)

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Steps
Foxtrot is a combination of slows and quicks …. slow walking steps (each using two beats of music) followed by quick steps (each using one beat).

Because of the footwork, instructors often say “slow, slow, quick, quick” or “slow, quick, quick” in a repeated pattern

In some “slow, quick, quick” styles, the first quick is lengthened into an almost “slow, slow, quick”.

Foxtrot is a combination of walks, chasses, and turns with a rise-and-fall action from heel leads on the slows, but toe leads on the quicks. Partners commonly remain in hold most of the time … and at least in contact.

Although the timing of the music is different, many Foxtrot steps are usable in Waltz, and vice versa.

Arthur Murray started his road to fame and fortune by printing the basic step of the Foxtrot and selling them for 10 cents each through the mail. It was the first time anyone had printed dance steps and sold them mail-order.

Quickstep, Peabody, and Slow Fox are variations – thus in a group of social dancers, styles are (in my opinion) the most wide-ranging of all the ballroom dances

To close, enjoy this collection of Dancing with the Stars clips that have been brilliantly compiled, then placed into the same song.

Ready to dance?

On Taking a Deep Breath

Whew …. another Christmas is in the history book. I hope each of you had a holiday filled with joy and safety.

Our four hours at church playing handbells for two services went well. Christmas morning we traveled to my sister’s home several hours away. My wife met our new great nephew for the first time, plus we received the news that our youngest nephew’s engagement to a nice lady.

Since this is the week between two holidays, I thought a light start would be fitting. Consider this as the Tuesday Special Edition of  Monday Morning Entertainment. Since the video of Christmas clips from old movies delighted many of you, here is a clip of two classic dancers – Eleanor Powell and Fred Astaire. Enjoy …. and have a good week.

On a Dancer from the Past

With tonight being the start of Dancing with the Stars – Season 10 (and that we watch the show that got us started with ballroom dance), today is a perfect opportunity to look back at two dance legends: Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell.

They seem so effortless in this 1940 tap-dancing clip. Enjoy a look at the past and have a good week.

On Ballroom Dance: Why?

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I wrote the core of this article for the studio newsletter.

As another season of Dancing with the Stars approaches an end, many couples continue to consider taking ballroom dance lessons. In an earlier post I explained how my wife and I got our start taking ballroom dance lessons. Later I answered 10 common questions about the experience.

Therefore, it’s appropriate to say what we’re getting out of their investment.

Enjoyment

Ballroom dance has turned out to be something we like to do. On our cruise last fall, every evening included finding the ship’s dance floor. Today, we look for places to go. Why should anyone stop doing something they enjoy – especially if it’s enjoyed by a couple!

Friendships

Through the Fred Astaire program, we’ve gotten to know others who view dance as we do. More importantly, we’ve learned they are good people – the type that make good company. It turns out that we now get together for dance evenings. We’re now at the stage of learning more about these friends outside our dance interest. Isn’t that an important part of life?

Challenge

I’ve always said that the more one knows, the more they realize how much they don’t know, thus how much there is to learn. I’m sure more than one of us has thought “Oh, I know waltz (or whatever dance)”, after a few lessons. Ha ha – were we fooled! For those who enjoy learning and problem solving, dance is good mental exercise. As the lead I have to think ahead about upcoming moves. Of course the challenge of learning the move or pattern the first time can be a story in itself.

Growth in Relationship

Those of us that are taking lessons with our spouse understand how dance has allowed us to grow as a couple. Yes, it’s a capital investment, but we calculated the cost per hour of something that we enjoying doing together; thus a reason why we’re still at the studio. Although we still have our individual interests, dance was become a venue for strengthening us.

Communication

Over our many lessons, one “different” lesson with a different instructor at the studio, turned out to be a very important lesson about dance that is also applicable to any relationship. To me, her lesson was about being subtle with leads, thus for my wife it meant focusing on the subtlety. This communication link allows a person to communicate with anyone in the world of dance. This is a continual challenge for both of us, but we’re getting better.

FYI: For more about ballroom dance, see Ballroom in the Categories list.

Image courtesy of Fred Astaire Dance Studios