22 February 2010

Dance The Stress Away , The Ballroom Dance Way

The child in you is equipped with handling stress whenever required. Every person has always moved their bodies more as children than as an adult. Silly expressions, funny positions of the body, the hopping, skipping and jumping ,these are nature’s way of getting all the aggression out of our system.And we all know how hyper children can at time be.

As we grow up we all forget the child in us and go about our duties diligently but we also forget to revel in the pleasure of simple movements.These rhythmic movements are really about releasing the stress and tension that’s blocking our bodies. These simple playful movements whenever executed are quite a cathartic experience in themselves. Now if we remember to behave like children we are all scorned upon or laughed at, but to totally rid your body off these blockages caused by stress we must cultivate the habit of releasing stress through some playful movements which can happen while dancing….For example dances like the Jive involve a lot of kicking movements of the feet in different directions. These are good tension relievers of the feet. Similarly this dance is based on the arm tension principle called push and pull technique which simply means that while dancing as a couple with a double or a single hand hold, whenever your partner exerts a pull , you too must pull back  and whenever your partner exerts a push, you too must push towards so that you can maintain the synergy of movement as a couple .
On this simple principle works the entire body  weight connection of a couple who are dancing and in our context these playful stretching movements do a lot in terms of stress release. As you exert pressure while pushing and stretch while pulling or on getting a gentle pull in your arm ,one can actually feel, a nice warming up of the muscles and a warmth enveloping our bodies and a smile playing on our lips…
And well who can resist a playful movement whatever the age?

But a word of cautionary advice! In our hurry to learn things or do things to accomplish a task we almost never realize to enjoy the moment. Similarly in our hurry to complete a dance practice remember to let go and feel the moment. And never be aggressive towards yourself so much, that we are not able to benefit from what we are setting out to accomplish in the first place.
So develop moderation in whatever you do and slowly take it a notch higher in terms of where you want to go, step by step and you will never feel a strain in your body or mind.

Live life dancing all the way gracefully.
Learn to dance and grace up your life.


20 February 2010

Ballroom Dancing A Great Equaliser

Ballroom Dancing A Great Equaliser

As we look at ballroom dancing as a form of dancing originating from the west we can draw a lot of parallels from the yogic way of the east especially with reference to the Hatha yoga which emphasizes the balancing of the opposing forces in the body such as Masculine (HA) energy and the Feminine (THA) energy symbolically representing the sun and the moon respectively. As such in yoga the left and right coordination the inhalation and exhalation the joy and sadness and so on ,thereby restoring the body to its natural equilibrium. Forward bends are followed by backward bends standing postures by the inversions contractions followed by expansions and like dancing a movement to the left followed by movement to the right for balance the poses are perfectly in tune to the mode of dancing the ballroom way.

As it is said that we must be in control of ourselves in thoughts actions and deeds we must learn to not lean too much on to the past or think too much into the future so that we are more oriented to the present .Now as a parallel we learn that we can take reference from our past when we balance ourselves backwards , consider our future course as we balance our body forward and learn to enjoy the present moment of balance that we achieve in our body through dancing.
As a couple dancing must have a huge balancing going on wherein not only are you balancing yourself but it is also a synchronization with your partner on the floor. This is nothing but balance between each other and not to mention if there are more dancers on the floor in a social situation then other dancers too must be given their due space on the dance floor The dance floor craft is a simple understanding between dancers , following the rules of the dance floor by the dancers with respect to each other while dancing in tandem with each other with body alignment and control on a proper dance floor.


Self Awareness Through Ballroom Dancing

Self awareness through Ballroom Dancing 
Life's a dance you learn as you go, Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow, Don't worry 'bout what you don't know, Life's a dance you learn as you go

Ballroom dancing helps balance emotions sharpens the intellect and brings peace of mind. When we attend to our physical body with emphasis on postures it leads us to greater flexibility of the body and mind.
When we let go and move our bodies we find a lot of our resistance breaking down for new energy to flow through to empty spaces and gradually we become open to life’s infinite possibilities and also turn positive ourselves.
A nourishing diet that boosts our immune system helps to calm our mind and as a result with greater well being we learn to cross new frontiers in dancing and exceed ourselves.
Along with diet we need to have a correct warm up and cool down session in place to stretch and tone all our muscles, bones and ligaments, improving circulation and flexibility. Dancing basically helps relieve depression by increasing the feel good endorphins in our body, along with that as we breathe deeply the capacity of the lungs increases to breathe fully and strengthens our inner organs and improves our mental abilities and deepens our ability to relax. The cool down routine must be given its due attention and must not be ignored as the entire system rests and tensions in the muscles ease ,dislodging the blockages in our system and restoring our normal energy flow in effect calming our mind. With all these in place one must also focus our attention to positive thinking when we start dancing, as it trains us to purify our thought process so that we turn to become more confident and self actualized ,wherein ,lies the real purpose of dance. The power of the mind is also used significantly in dancing, for e.g. try to visualize yourself performing perfectly before entering into the posture and then move with focus and control into the pose and you can see and feel the transformations in yourself. 


A Dance For Every Mood

A Dance For Every Mood

The benefits of ballroom dancing are many, not only in terms of health but also lets say socially mentally and emotionally. Whenever one has an emotional turbulence there is let’s say a dance for every emotion or mood in the repertoire or ballroom dance styles.
If the feeling is aggressive then the best dance would be the Paso Doble to express it.
Pure passion expressed in a Tango could just flow through and then of course there is the flirtatious Cha cha cha with its teasing quality and terrific hip movement which parallels the Samba with its unbridled indulgence. The elegance of Foxtrot with its graceful moves and coy gestures of non verbal communication speaks of a budding romance .The intense moods of love could be tenderly expressed in a Rumba and well who can deny themselves the pleasure of the wonderful dizzying heady feeling of a beautiful whirling Waltz. And last but not the least the joy of life, the exuberance of living could be exemplified just dancing the Jive with its full of life actions.
All the above mentioned dances are classified in the list of ballroom dances styles. Each dance originating from different places around the world only adds  to the culture and deep rooted significance of that dance form .

Any expression of emotion is a release of pent up stress within the body. So why not do yourself a good deed today and give yourself a ballroom dance class and release your stress the right way? Or better still also gift a class to someone who matters to you…….
Learning to dance is all about realizing the treasures of pure pleasure of self awareness through dancing…. So never be too busy to dance……



18 February 2010

Power of dance

The Power of Dance! You can  Create it !

Dancing as a couple helps you acquire skill sets which help you beyond the dance floor. There is first of all, an awareness of  the need for balance that needs to set in when two individuals are dancing together.The  energy of  the movement that one does, automatically gets transferred unto the other  as a reaction. Secondly  a natural awareness of  the grace required of movements  comes to play in every response . The body frame of the dancers  completes  and conveys the attitude of the dance so the posture of the body the relaxed shoulder, the confident look and ability to stride ever so gently makes a person a keen observer  of  their inner state of mind  for it to be their guiding  light for their projected  image during the dance  . So  with every movement that  is  executed , there is learning  and acknowledging  of personal abilities and improving upon them as and when required. 

But to truly enjoy and  revel in the dance  itself , a Couple moving together , must clearly  strive to understand and acknowledge the other’s ability and disability and must  try to move within the parameters of your partner’s capabilities .
Now when one reaches such a level, where one is able to  accept adjust their dance movement  sensibilities  to the partner’s  movements or hesitations, and yet create visual delights ,one has reached another milestone in dancing as a Couple. 
Delighting in each others creative expressions  ,helps in  creating positive atmosphere   for your self and those around you   and this is just one of the many powerful  changes in  outlook  that  dancing together brings forth .  Couples dancing together can create energy from within and that energy reflects on each partner’s mood and enhances their self image.  S imply put the aura created by perfect movement i.e. precise timing and relaxed buoyant movement of partners dancing in tandem bring’s forth a special treat to the viewer as well as the dancer itself.

TOUCH - Therapeutic Values of Social Dancing

                                TOUCH - Therapeutic Values of Social Dancing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               I have often realized that as we teach so many students from different backgrounds, they all, in fact each of them have given us back something very special indeed. We have felt happy and touched by all the warmth they have given to us.
Now personally experiencing that as a dance educator , I feel many a stressful situation can be averted , dissolved or tackled if there is consistency in practice and a positive approach while learning to dance.
It is always entirely pleasurable to teach the one who is keen and trusting than force your patterns of movement to a reluctant learner. So a Couple that learns together must have the will and desire to learn with the same amount of eagerness.
For me as dancing is a way of life. I believe there is grace and poise is everything around us. In stillness too there is a movement that begins before the break of silence. Every organism moves and is dancing to the tunes of nature. When we harness this nature’s energy through movement we can account for the transfer of energy that takes place as we dance together. It accounts for that feel good factor once the dance actually begins and also that lasting movement of happiness and high that occurs after the dance. I almost at times feel that each feeds on the other’s energy and is helpless without the other. There is so much balance coordination and poise in each movement done together with the feeling of energy from within as you move as one and slicing through the wind gently and forcefully now and then as per the tempo of the dance itself.
Besides the good amount of endorphins generated by the individual, the dancers end up in a much lighter and relaxed mood, at once their spirits are lifted marveling at the sheer beauty of that which was accomplished by them. Such is the power of Dance – especially  Social Dancing …………so do get ready to have some fun and learn a life enhancing skill soon.


Welcome to the world of Social Dancing…..

Welcome to the world of  Social Dancing…..

Want to learn Latin &Ballroom dancing well you are not alone. There is a wave of interest which is reaching a new high with Bollywood movies bringing in world music to commercial cinema. The trend is definitely international and what with movies addicted audience wanting to learn everything the stars do on screen, there is a huge surge of interested people wanting to learn these international social dance forms & styles.

I have been teaching various Social  dance styles for a decade or so and I can clearly see a shift from typical jhatka matka dancing in the movies to a plethora of international dance styles of different countries. The interested student wants to explore and is ready to learn these different styles of dancing and adapt an attitude to suit it too. I must thank our movies for this as I have myself encountered various people who had no idea about the dances I taught and have innocently albeit ignorantly asked whether ballroom dancing has anything to do with a ball… Such was the interest in these styles a few years back where only a select few couples would come to learn maybe to dance during Christmas and New Year parties or on a wedding occasion. Well now the scenario is radically shifting with husbands wanting top learn to tango or a waltz to surprise the wife, a mother wanting to pair up with her son and daughter and learn the social graces which are very much a compulsory syllabus if you are learning ballroom dancing.Infact its very necessary that you check whether you are also taught dance floor manners by the teacher you plan to learn from as that would hold one in good stead throughout one’s life in every aspect of their lives whether its social behavior,posture or simply better body alignment as its very important to teach holistically incorporating self awareness.

Nowadays there are a number of children and young couples wanting to learn innovative steps like the salsa dips and tricks or the evergreen jive just for fun. Then there are the professionals who have stressed out lives and want to seriously connect with their partners over the weekend learning a new skill together and try to get back the good old times with a jig on the ballroom dance floor.

Whatever the reason, it’s really inspiring to teach such enthusiastic learners and the more they are the merrier it is on the dance floor. Also one gets to learn new styles just by observing different people move differently to the same steps and patterns as per their individual ideas of styles. It’s been a fantastic time for me so far  finding myself in the midst  of it all  and learning to evolve over the years and clearly its getting better with the years passing by .And with Bollywood films going truly international in dance styling there is a positive trend in it with more students interested in learning these styles at my dance class….. The going is definitely getting better!!!……