Thursday, 10 June 2010

Dance is in!

Keeping fit doesn’t always have to mean going slavishly to the gym, dressed in this season’s lycra mishap, baseball cap crammed down as far as it will go (to remain incognito), and acting like a demented hamster on a conveyor belt, in order to fight the flab!

There are other activities to hand, which can be fun, keep you fit and happy and help to keep your social skills sharp as well. Have you ever thought of taking a dance class? No, I don’t mean attempting to relive Flash Dance under the pretext of being ‘discovered’ as the new dance hottie in town. There are a multitude of dance opportunities on offer such as Ballroom dancing, Salsa, Tango, Quickstep, Cha-cha-cha and even Belly dancing. Dancing is for everyone young and old. It seems, and I have this from an informed source, that ballroom dancing is also all the rage here, amongst the student population. Yes, surprising as this information may seem, students these days are also looking for active distraction too.

So, let’s take a look at a few and maybe it will wet your appetite to take that step.

Ballroom dancing covers several differently styled dances requiring a partner, the idea originating in Germany. Skilful interaction between two people in a partnership of dance means that its popularity not only continues as a form of social dancing for events and parties, but is also part of the competitive dance arena the world over, both for performance dance and entertainment. An example of a  dance school which offers ballroom dancing is Danceschool Inter-Dance in Nieuwleusen, Overijssel (which can be found between Zwolle and Meppel). They offer the English Waltz, Tango, Quickstep, Slow Foxtrot and the Viennese Waltz. For more information their website (Dutch) can be found at:

Salsa originates in the Caribbean (particularly in Cuba and Puerto Rico), Latin and North America. The music is not surprisingly salsa music, which also has a strong African influence. Again a partner dance with the sporadic solo steps and group interaction, with partner change included.
‘Salsa’ is the Spanish word for sauce. This spicy dance is flirtatious and sensuous. A well-known dance school for this is Salsa Roy that can be found at: (website in Dutch)

The passionate and imtimate dance for two, the Tango was orignally known as tango criollo or simply tango. It originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay. Starting as a result of a music type by the same name, that originated in South America. One of the many tango styles of today, the popular Argentinean style can be recognised due to its melodic nature and the use of percussion to break up any heavy accents. What many consider to be the authentic tango is that which is closest to that originally danced in Argentina and Uruguay. For Argentinean tango lessons please see: Argentijnse Tango Club (Their website is also available in English)

Belly dancing is a western term for a traditional Middle Eastern dance form. In Arabic, Raqs Sharqi is literally translated as ‘oriental’, ‘national’ or ‘folk’ dance. The origins of the term being said to originate in Egypt. In Greece and the Balkans, belly dance is known as tsiftetelli.

Belly dancing is ‘is uniquely designed for the female body, with an emphasis on abdominal muscles, hip moves, and chest moves. It is firm and earthy, traditionally with bare feet connected to the ground. It is a dance characterized by smooth, flowing, complex, and sensual movements of the torso, alternated with shaking and shimmy type moves’. (Quote taken from: here)

Should you be interested in taking up belly dancing: Aina Danst offers courses for people at all levels, including the possibility of a proof lesson.

Sources: Wikipedia

First published in the Connections magazine 
#21 Autumn 2008 

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