Anyone can learn to dance – with Dance Scene
Learning to dance is something that anyone can do – it is not exclusive to those who are musically inclined or who have a good sense of rhythm. Dancing more about how you feel, rather than how good you are, and so even if you have two left feet and not a lot of rhythm, you should still pursue your dream. Learning to dance in Harlow has never been easier.
Dancing can give you so much joy and peace and while putting on the music and boogying in your living room can be fun, it is much more fun to learn different styles of dance, like those that are offered at the Dance Scene dance school in Harlow, Essex, in the company of experts and fellow students.
Under the guidance of two passionate dance teachers and founders of Dance Scene, Lorraine Hodges and Kate Tozer, various children’s dance classes and adult lessons are available at the Churchgate School and Harlow College premises.
Different Dance Styles
Dance is felt from the heart and many styles have been developed over the years that fit in with different tastes and preferences. Dance Scene follows the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) syllabus for their various dance styles which include:
They understand that people experience the joy of dancing via different outlets and while one person might find their love and passion from ballet, someone else might get the joy from tap and jazz. At the same time, for those who want to pursue dancing as a career, it is important to learn and know numerous dance styles, which can be used in a variety of performances and auditions.
Dance Scene’s highly professional founders have dedicated their careers to finding and including a wide variety of dance styles into their school in order to offer the most unique and comprehensive dance school in Harlow, Essex.
Ballet is one of the oldest dance forms and was developed for the French and Italian Courts. Ballet has changed drastically over the years, with more and more stringent rules to ensure that this remains the most elite dance form around. Ballet dancers can be both men and women, with women learning to do pointe work, and men learning the art of control and support as they generally provide the base for a female dancer.
Men are revered for their elevation and strength, while women ballerinas become renowned for their footwork, flexibility, and dexterity. Ballet makes use of traditional, classical music from centuries ago with famous composers having written various ballets that are still performed to this day including Swan Lake, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, the Firebird and others.
Ballet teaches stability, posture, and strength, with the dancer requiring great turnout and strong feet and ankles, excellent arm lines and lots of other technique elements to perform the exercises and dances correctly.
Ballet is hard, but also highly beneficial, even if you are an adult and have never done ballet before. It is fun and peaceful, being an excellent de-stressor after a busy day!
Tap dancing has its roots in African American culture and has origins in clog dancing and also Irish step dancing with minstrel troupes and vaudeville dance groups popping up all over the world. There are two types of tap, rhythmic or jazz tap and then Broadway tap.
The former relies on the sound of the tap shoes to produce music and is considered a form of musical theatre, whereas Broadway tap focuses more on the dancing. Tap was made popular during the Gene Kelly / Frank Sinatra era, when fancy footwork was used in just about every movie!
Tap became a well known dance style with legendary great tap dancers including the late Sammy Davis Junior and Gregory Hines who founded National Tap Dancing Day in 1988. Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and the famous Shirley Temple also lent their uniqueness and fame towards tap.
Tap consists of a metal tap on the heel and toe of a shoe that is used in many different ways to create a tapping sound, and dancers frequently use syncopation as a technique. Tap was originally focused on the feet with little or no arm movement and slowly began to include more arm gestures as it moved away from traditional folk dancing.
Hip hop is a fairly new dance style, only really coming into its own in the 1960’s when the music of the time offered faster beats and contemporary sounds. Hip hop is a broad term describing and incorporating many styles such as popping, locking, upbeat, breaking, roboting, boogaloo and many more.
Developed in different areas across America mainly, Hip Hop has grown in popularity drastically over the years and is now an examination dance style that is fun, funky and allows you to let your body be free. It does not conform to any other style and can be unique in the fact that there are generally no strict, set arm movements.
Much of hip hop can be interpreted by the dancer. In the 90’s as the hip hop music took on new life, various dance forms and social dances became instant hits including the Worm, the Cabbage Patch, and the Running Man, as well as the more recent Dougie and Cha Cha Slide styles.
Hip-hop is an urban street derived style and has various influences and styles that form part of it as a dance art form, making it a lot of fun to learn and quite challenging too. Ashley Banjo’s secret street crew gives some great insight into this style, take a look if you get time.
The origins of jazz dancing stem from the 1900’s when African American slaves were shipped from the Caribbean, specifically in New Orleans where jazz music took flight, however, there are many styles of dancing that fall under the jazz category. Jazz dancing started off as a vernacular form and then during the 1930’s became more performance based, with highly trained dancers in theatres.
It was after the 1950’s when modern jazz emerged boasting sideways shuffling, rolled shoulders and turned knees. Of course, everyone knows about jazz hands, with kicks and leaps also forming a large part of jazz dancing. Ballet and modern dance choreographers also experimented with Jazz styles and incorporated certain techniques into their own dancing.
During the 1950’s jazz was also profoundly influenced by Caribbean and Latin American dance forms with Rock ‘n Roll music also bringing new techniques to the table with moves like “The Jerk” and “The Monkey” becoming popular. Syncopated rhythm is a characteristic of jazz dancing.
Modern dancing was developed from ballet in the late 1800’s, as these dancers refused to put the strains on the feet that ballet does.
Modern developed moves that focused on the torso, floor work, contact-release, fall and recovery, and improvisation, and that also bring in an element of acting, and emotion to dancing.
In 1877, Isadora Duncan became the first person to develop what would be known as modern dancing, incorporating various folk dances and free movement, dancing bare foot, and wearing her hair loose.
Others followed suit, such as Loie Fuller in 1891 with freestyle burlesque dancing and improvisation, and Ruth St. Denis in 1905 with her interpretative oriental style dancing.
Expressionism forms a large part of modern dancing and in Europe expressionist dance became very popular, while Radical dancing became popular in America during the Great Depression.
It was in 1915 that the first modern dancing school was established by Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, where the legendary Martha Graham took classes. Martha Graham is known as the mother of modern day 20th century concert dance, as she developed her own techniques of contraction and release as well as coordination between breathing and movement.
Various other dancers developed their own modern techniques based on other dance styles and blending African American, ballet, folk, Caribbean, and other styles.
Performance and Theatre Dancing
Theatre dancing was first used to help tell the story, and dates as far back the original theatre performances of ancient Greece and India with Medieval and Renaissance plays also incorporating singing, music and dance in order to tell the story.
This includes the Italian Commedia dell’Arte form where the actors did not speak, but had to tell the story with movements and gestures, which later became forms of theatrical dance. Theatre dancing also stemmed from minstrel dancing to a large extent with hardshoe dance steps forming the bases of many steps that are still seen in musicals to this day.
One of the most famous musical theatre groups was the Ziegfield Follies, which operated throughout America and other countries between 1907 and 1931. This was the beginning of chorus line style dancing for musical theatre. The first ever successful musical theatre dancing is considered to be Show Boat in 1927 with choreographer George Balanchine refining this even further in his 1936 hit On Your Toes.
This led to the highly popular well known musical productions of Oklahoma and Guys and Dolls. Further into the 1900’s shows like Cabaret, Cats, A Chorus Line and many others boasted fantastic show dancing. Some of the most famous theatre and performance choreographers of all time include Bob Fosse, Jerome Robbins, and Gary Chapman.
All types of dancing have various benefits, including musicality, improving hand eye coordination and balance, securing a better posture and enhancing dexterity and flexibility. Aside from these overall benefits, there are certain benefits that are linked to specific dance styles.
For instance, ballet gives you the ultimate benefit in terms of strength and poise, as you have to be graceful yet strong. It works your core muscles and aids you in whatever other styles of dancing you want to try, giving you the basic skills that you need for all types of dancing.
Tap is very much focused on the feet, and teaches you to have light feet, to be quick and gives you a great cardio workout. Hip hop in the same vein offers a great cardio workout, but benefits you in the complete opposite way to ballet and contemporary, as it requires you to let go of your centre, use your hips, arch your back, and utilize both combinations of short, sharp movements and fast, more elaborate movements.
Hip hop works the smallest muscle groups that you didn’t even know you had!
Performance and theatre dancing benefits you greatly if you want to audition for musicals and enjoy dancing on stage. This style of dancing combines various dance steps and movements, but teaches you vital presentation skills, how to be nimble and move comfortably on stage, and benefits your acting pursuits tremendously.
General Benefits of Dancing
Looking at the general benefits that dancing offers, you will find that this is the perfect sport for most children and adults alike.
Firstly, health wise, dancing is one of the best forms of exercise you can do, as it works your entire body, gives you strength and also burns plenty of calories.
Dancing aids in flexibility and suppleness which is important to keep the body functioning at its peak and prevents injury, helps with warding off diseases and premature aging of the muscles and joint stiffness.
All forms of dancing helps with fine and gross motors skills which is very important for children. It can help their development from a young age which will help them for the rest of their lives in anything else that they wish to pursue.
It improves posture and develops core muscle strength which is something that is also essential for children’s growth, as well as for adults. Correct posture and core strength prevents injuries and is very beneficial for your overall skeletal and muscular health.
Crossing the midline is vital for the correct development of children and lack of strength in children leads to Occupational Therapy being suggested for them. Dancing prevents the need for OT and gives children the confidence and ability to develop in various areas, both physically and emotionally.
With these and many other benefits, you can see why learning to dance is so exciting and important for children and adults alike. It gives you an outlet and a place to enjoy yourself, whilst getting exercise at the same time. With dance classes in Harlow, Essex, you will be able to learn any style or styles you like, and enjoy the vast benefits of dancing.
Contact us at Dance Scene Harlow
So contact us by phone, text or email and come and join us, we cover Hertfordshire Essex borders, so if you are in Sawbridgeworth, Matching, Little Hallingbury, Moreton, Nazeing, North Weald Bassett, Sheering, Hatfield Broad Oak, Matching Green, Church Langley, Roydon, Hoddesdon, Stanstead Abbotts, Bishops Stortford, or Thornwood give us a call. We want you to join us in creating a real dance fusion right here in Harlow!