The Dance Styles of So You Think You Can Dance

Broadway dance developed alongside jazz dance. When jazz found its way from New Orleans to New York in the 1920s, stage directors began to incorporate it into their shows as momentary bits of spectacle scattered throughout loosely-framed narratives. However, once directors and choreographers started using dance to advance their plotlines instead, the choreography became more intricate and the dancers more trained. There are examples of this type of dance throughout the 1930s — Anything Goes, for instance — but it wasn’t until the 40s that it really took off.

In 1943, a jazz dancer named Jack Cole choreographed the Broadway musical Something for the Boys. Cole was trained in East Indian dance, and would often blend some of those elements into American jazz. His unique fusion of jazz, ballet, and ethnic movement was revolutionary, and it earned him the title “Father of Theatrical Jazz Dance.”

Some recent and contemporary Broadway Dance choreographers are Gower Champion, Michael Kidd, Randy Skinner, and Chet Walker. Noted SYTYCD Broadway choreographers include Andy Blankenbueler (also a choreographer for Broadway shows) and Tyce Diorio.

Some identifying features include:

  • story-focused and character-driven movement
  • exaggeration
  • quirkiness
  • athleticism

Pole Fitness: The Respectable Face Of Pole Dance?

Pole fitness is a combination of acrobatics, gymnastics – and the pole dancing you might recognise from a nightclub. The first schools for what was then called “exotic dance” opened in North America in the 1990s, but now pole fitness is popular worldwide. Earlier this year, photos of the Chinese national team rehearsing in the snow went viral, while finalists at the World Pole Dance Championships 2014 came from 14 countries, including Argentina, New Zealand, Russia, Brazil and Cyprus.

The winner of the event’s women’s singles category, Kate Czepulkowski (stage name Bendy Kate), is from Bristol, and the auditorium was full of her fans from pole clubs around the country. Pole fitness is one of the UK’s biggest new fitness trends and amateur classes are springing up everywhere, with at least 10 dedicated schools in London and many more in Manchester, Birmingham and Brighton.

Even Alan Carr is getting in on the act – on Friday’s instalment of his show Chatty Man he let Lindsay Lohan show him some moves, and then a body-double slipped in to do his routine for him.

Classes are often women-only, though more and more mixed classes are popping up and most competitions now include men’s categories. Controversially, junior classes for children as young as three are also on offer at many pole studios.

A typical class begins with stretches, followed by lifts and moves on the pole. Most first-timers can expect to barely lift themselves off the ground, while the most advanced moves seem to defy gravity – athletes grip the pole with a single foot or several fingers. The lifts and tricks tone muscles, while high-intensity choreographed routines provide a cardio workout.


Learning Tango In The Group Dance Environment

A mixture of passion, sensuality, nostalgia, and melancholy, the tango is the dance of Argentina and, more specifically, Buenos Aires. Every child learns it; every couple knows it. The dance emerged from the poor immigrant quarters of the capital at the end of the 19th century, from a combination of the Spanish tango and the milonga, a sensual and risqué Argentine dance. It gained mainstream acceptance throughout Argentina only after becoming a craze in fashionable European society. In the 1920s, lyrics to the once happy tango became deeply melancholic.

It depends on so many different things such as how often you go to class, how you apply yourself, how good your teacher is, how good the other people you practice with are, what you’re overall goal is and so on. It is a question which is therefore difficult to answer simply.

Many tango schools label people as beginners, improvers, intermediates etc. based on calendar duration of dancing tango rather than capability. In my humble opinion all tango dancers (including myself) who are not raw beginners are improvers, because…

It is important to remember that most people don’t ‘get it’ on the first run through of new material, new technique, or trying to improve musicality. Or some people ‘get it’ in an intellectual way (i.e. they understand what’s required) but they still can’t perform it well without a lot of practice.

So when you go to any class and learn new material, don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get it quickly, and certainly ignore anyone around you who is showing impatience because you don’t get it quick enough to suit them.

Just think about what you need to practice to improve that element of your dance, find a patient enough person to practice with, and keep practicing.