Sunday, July 17, 2016

Dancing? Whazzat?

By Jason Chung, Pacific Palisades
Learning to dance.

The beginning was way back, right after the time of Agriculture, about 10000 years ago. It was probably some kind of rhythm and it was step, step, step or walking dance. Even today, the blacks dancing in Africa are dancing up and down, step, step, step. You can see them on TV all the time. With time they learned to vary the rhythm into quick, quick, slow or slow, quick, quick. Now that was just asking for some syncopation. It took hold everywhere but people are people even though the Mexican civilizations began earlier than anyone on this planet. And the Mayans brought it to a peak about 1500 years ago with over 3000 different dances.

"If you want to make enemies, try to change something."
~Woodrow Wilson


And it has evolved to present day dances all over the world. Perhaps over 10000 different dances and many of the dances are still step, step, step, just walking. Any extra movements have been according to the way one feels the music no matter what or how many beats in the measure. The old Milonga, Waltz and even Fox Trot can be danced this way to the music, just walking, step, step, step. And of course the resulting differences in movement is according to the way the music makes you feel.

"Always On My Mind" By Willie Nelson


The next most important step, was the rock step. Done in many different ways but it is still the rock step and identified in modern day dancing as a rock step.Then along came the Chassé, a refined Rock Step, quite independently in the world, though not called by the same name, of course. There was a shuffle in there somewhere, that we know. If it was popular and used in the dances by the Portuguese and also by the Indians in Brazil, the fusion into the Samba was inevitable. If the identical movement is used by the military to get back in step in marching, it is not a coincidence.

Happy Dancing.
Jason

"The only dancer we can really and fairly compare with,
is the dancer that we used to be."

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