Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Solo Dancing

In Spanish "Solo" means "Alone" and it has come to mean the same thing in English as well as other languages to mean dancing by yourself. Which is the way we as humans danced from the very beginning. Advanced Mexican Indian Civilizations danced "Solo" and it was mostly men. In the Aztec period they had a few dances for exhibition in which men and women danced together and sometime held hands.

"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."

Just dreaming, folks

We had the beginnings of partner dancing in Europe just before the Crusades, about the year 1100 AD. Men and women danced together and at time they held hands. In a couple hundred years they even danced holding each other with both their hands. Even if it caused a small scandal, naturally.


By the 1500s, Most dances were danced with both hands held togcther. Then in the 1600s, came the Minuet, a social dance of French origin for two people, usually in 3/4 time. The word was adapted from Italian minuetto and possibly from the French menu meaning slender, small, referring to the very small steps taken at the time.

"Livin Without You" by Noelani Cypriano


Soon the men learned to hold the lady's right hand with his left hand and holding the lady very discreetly by putting his right hand somewhere around her back. And it was only on special occasions and not done always. Then in the late 1700s, the peasants of Bavaria and nearby began dancing a dance called Walzer, a country dance in 3/4 time that spread from the countryside to the suburbs of the city. While the eighteenth century upper classes continued to dance the minuet, bored noblemen slipped away to the dances of their servants.

"Unforgetable" by Jimmy Borges



Partner Dancing did not hit Latin America until the establishment of the Mexican Empire by Napoleon in the mid 1800s. The natives already had the three count in both the even count and the chasse. So it was just assimilating the partner style of dance in the Viennese Waltz. And it rapidly spread down to South America. In the US, it was still mainly the Minuet.

 "Cecelia" by Simon and Garfunkel

Solo dance has never stopped and today it is danced mainly by the young (under 30.) There are over one thousand different documented moves in solo dance so they are not likely to make any new ones. We can suppose that there are many that think they are the great choreographic inventors. At any rate, the kids are and will always be at it. Line dancing is unique and the older more experience dancer will dance it along with the accepted "social" dances. Any of those dancers and the other groups too, will get their kicks just moving to the music of their choice.

 "To Wine or not to Wine" is never the question. It is the answer.

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