5 December 2016

Long Term Health Benefits Of Dancing

Dancing is arguably the sport that offers the widest range of long term mental and health benefits than any other sport for all age groups, from children to the elderly. There are countless stories of people whose lives have been saved through taking up the sport of dancing. From staving off Parkinson’s disease to managing high blood pressure and averting the onset of dementia, the medical profession advocates dancing as a fun, cost effective way of maintaining excellent health and longevity. There are also a myriad of social benefits that make dancing appealing to everyone, including enhanced self-esteem and confidence acquired through greater coordination and artistic achievement. The moral of the story is never to give up dancing for fun, fitness and longevity.  We leave with this short video from a medical professional confirming the above. To your happy feet!


18 November 2016

Free Dance Classes at GLAMOURDANCE

Most competition dancers don’t start their sporting career as athletes in the making. Most dancers learn to dance for fun and fitness first, and some from a very early age. Once the addiction of dancing through a level of competence and confidence take hold, the temptation and encouragement to compete starts to grow. But competition dancing is not for everyone. Dance athletes are driven, disciplined and focused on goals and outcomes. Social dancers, on the other hand, enjoy the relaxed, social interaction of dancing and learn for fitness, fun and friendship, rather than technical excellence. Both social and competition dancing deliver the same health benefits the sport of dancing has to offer. There are countless personal stories and abounding medical research establishing dancing as being the drug of choice to stave of the onset of many critical illnesses such as strokes, Parkinson’s and dementia. Dancing is fast becoming established as the fountain of youth sport for extended longevity and physical and mental well-being at any age. The key thing is to start, and keep going. Both social and competition dancing deliver untold long-term social and health benefits that impact on the way dancers view and interact with the world at large. The temptation to start learning is there with countless observers tapping their feet on the sidelines while watching others dance. They could do with encouragement to join in and try it out.
GlamourDance remains on track to fulfil its Mission Statement to make a difference to the dance industry and grow the dance community. We invite and encourage non-dancers to participate in our weekly free dance lessons, taught by local professionals (styles rotate monthly). Dance professionals in the vicinity of our Sydney Glebe store are welcome to participate in this community project for the benefit of their studios, the general public, and the dance industry. 

More information: 

20 October 2016

The Outback Crown Celebrates 6 Years Of American Style Competition Dancing In Oz

Professionals Sharon and Marko Pekkarinen, organizers of The Outback Crown in Canberra, can hardly believe the success that has come their way since they introduced this American Style Dancing competition to Australia in 2011.  We asked Sharon Pekkarinen to explain the difference between International (standard and latin) and American (smooth and rhythm) style ballroom dancing, and she gave us some fascinating insights, shared with you below:

“The biggest, most obvious difference everyone can see between International and American Style ballroom is when partners release hold in the Smooth Dances – Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot and Viennese Waltz. One of the most important similarities to remember though, is that the techniques used in the Standard closed holds are exactly the same in Smooth. The physics of 2 people moving, elevating, lowering and rotating together don’t change and the 2 styles have a huge number of the same figures and elements. The character of each dance is essentially the same, but with the history of music development in the USA and the ability to break hold, the Smooth Dances incorporate more dance genres and dance techniques from styles such as broadway, cabaret, theatre arts and classical ballet which broadens the expression available to portray in each one. The biggest challenges Smooth dancers face is learning how to move differently in these other styles, dancing them on their own, and making ‘Smooth Transitions’ between open holds such as Shadow positions and Apart, and traditional closed holds.
 “The US Rhythm Dances – Rumba, Cha Cha, Bolero, Mambo & East Coast Swing have strong roots in Cuba and have been driven by the evolution of music over the decades. The biggest difference between Rhythm and Latin is in the Cuban/Latin Motion. Rhythm uses a ‘Pressed Walk’ most of the time, stepping on a flexed knee with pressure, and Latin uses a strong walk, where the knee straightens just before the extent of the stride. However, both styles use both methods in some situations. The difference was described to me by dual examiner in International & American Style, Ms Lori Woods-Gay of the USISTD like this, ‘The International Forward Walk is like walking with the wind pushing you from behind, and the American Walk is like walking into the wind.’
“In the ‘Rumba’ Genre, the tempo of the music also separates the styles: fast tempo is American Rumba, medium tempo is International Rumba, slow tempo is American Bolero. Mambo is the precursor to Salsa and Cha Cha. When it comes to Swing and Jive, Jive is approximately 10mpm faster in tempo than Swing. So Swing has a more relaxed, shuffling technique where Jive is driven to be more lively by the music. Swing also becomes more energetic and compact when the tempo is faster too.
“An important thing to remember is that neither style has a lesser technique or ability than the other. I come from the American Style perspective first in my career, International came later, and I am still studying and gaining professional qualifications in both, and have heard many descriptions of how both style dancers ‘see/interpret’ the other style the first time they see it here in Australia. In the USA they have competitions practically every weekend which involve both styles. Judges in the USA do not become adjudicators until they have a professional Licenciate Degree in all 4: Smooth, Standard, Rhythm & Latin as they will be judging all of them. Australia, in comparison, has only a few people who understand both, and it will still take a while for the knowledge and acceptance of both here. But it’s happening and will continue to happen as all of us dancers want to learn and grow and improve ourselves, whether we get better at competing or become a better social dancer. The gap between the styles is not so big, especially when you think about the fact that we are all ‘dancing’ “.

Sharon Pekkarinen is a fellow of the United States Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (USISTD), and co-owner of Danzon Studio with husband Marko Pekkarinen. Together they organize The Outback Crown in Canberra, the only annual American Style dance competition in Australia.

17 September 2016

Managing Dance Partnership Breakups

2016 has seen its fair share of dance partnership breakups, including some high profile couples that surprised their long-term followers.  Whilst we on the outside absorb such shock announcements, spare a thought for the actual dancers involved. The breaking up of sporting partnerships is never easy, bringing with it the usual grief that comes from any sea change, and with much soul searching that goes before it. Sports psychology experts recommend couples openly discuss their joint goals and direction before announcing that they have decided to part company. Acknowledging that they are no longer seeking the same outcomes helps not to make each other wrong or feel victimised by the decision. Confiding in close friends also alleviates the heaviness of heart, although it’s important to ensure that such shared confidences do not become external gossip. Finally, as time passes and new horizons emerge, it is important to be grateful for lessons learned, and appreciate that, in the long run, each dancer has become a stronger person.

3 September 2016

DanceSport Looks To The Future

DanceSport has been the name given to competition ballroom dancing since 1999, and now, 17 years later, DanceSport CEO Steve Edwards says the future looks bright. “Project 5000 is the main program through which DanceSport continues to gain momentum, having introduced a Recreational Division for new dancers, alongside Medallists who want to consolidate their skills at competition entry level.” We asked Steve Edwards where the sport of dancing was heading, and he stated that “DanceSport is not only a member of the World Dance Federation but also the Australian Olympic Committee, where it is anticipated that DanceSport will become incorporated as an Olympic Sport in the future.” This is an exciting horizon for DanceSport athletes that seek recognition on the world stage, and appears to be ripe for introduction at Olympic level. Through Project 5000, DanceSport provides multiple incentives for competition dancers to continue to improve their skills, with public recognition at all ages and levels, from Recreational to Professional.

The Paso Doble as Defined by the Inimitable Leeanne Bampton

Sydney Ballroom Dance Studio principal Leeanne Bampton is one of Australia’s most highly respected professionals in DanceSport, with a string of titles as long as your arm, and highly sought after for TV shows such as So You Think You Can Dance,  Dancing With The Stars, and musical productions such as Strictly Dancing. We asked Leeanne to define the Paso Doble, a Spanish gypsy dance taught in the Latin group of dances alongside Cha cha cha, Rumba, Jive and Samba. 
"The Paso is a dance that catches the eye with colourful costumes and moves to a strong marching rhythm. It is a mixture of Latin American and Flamenco gypsy music" says Leeanne. "The character of the dance in choreography depicts an imaginary bullfight, with the man as the matador, and the lady as the bull and at times the cape of the matador. There are three musical highlights rising to a crescendo, and normally two of those are played on the competition dance floor. The Paso Doble has syncopation, fast footwork, and plenty of scope for dramatic interpretation. It's one of my favourite dances to teach and choreograph."