West Coast Swing and Hustle in CT

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Now on a different stage, applause of a different kind (Real Estate Weekly)

March 27, 2013

In reflection, Novoa says while the stage and the applause may be different, some of the techniques she had to employ as a dancer so long ago, have remained the same. To work in the real estate business like dancing on the stage, requires a supreme amount of concentration in order to succeed, she said.

Erik says: Perhaps I'm biased about this article because it's about my mom, but I truely believe that dance gives a strong sense of consentration. Maybe the deep and complex synaptic connections that are made as a dancer can help us in our business environments.

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Couple handcuffed, jailed for dancing on subway platform (NY Post)

 couple arrested for dancing on NYC subway platformIt was nearly midnight when Stern and Hess, a film-industry prop master, headed home last July from Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night’s Swing. As they waited for the train, a musician started playing steel drums on the nearly empty platform and Stern and Hess began to feel the beat.

The cops asked for ID, but when Stern could only produce a credit card, the officers ordered the couple to go with them — even though the credit card had the dentist’s picture and signature.

When Hess began trying to film the encounter, things got ugly, Stern said.

“We brought out the camera, and that’s when they called backup,” she said. “That’s when eight ninja cops came from out of nowhere.”

Hess was allegedly tackled to the platform floor, and cuffs were slapped on both of them. The initial charge, according to Stern, was disorderly conduct for “impeding the flow of traffic.”

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How Theater for Young People Could Save the World (Huffington Post)

Around the world artists are creating a new stripe of Theatre for Young People that combines the elegance of dance, the innovation of devised theater, the freshness of new plays, the magnetism of puppetry and the inciting energy of new musicals.

...theater is like a gym for empathy. It's where we can go to build up the muscles of compassion, to practice listening and understanding and engaging with people that are not just like ourselves. We practice sitting down, paying attention and learning from other people's actions. We practice caring.

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An Irish Tradition With an Only-in-America Star (NY Times)

March 17, 2012

Meet Drew Lovejoy, a 17-year-old from rural Ohio. His background could not be more American. His father is black and Baptist from Georgia and his mother is white and Jewish from Iowa. But his fame is international after winning the all-Ireland dancing championship in Dublin for a third straight year.

in 2010, when he became the first person of color to win the world championship for Irish dancing — the highest honor in that small and close-knit world — and a group of male dancers in their 70s, all of them Irish, offered their congratulations.

"You have two lives — the Irish dance world and the real world where you live every day,” Ms. Goldberg said. In the world of dance, “you found a place where you’re comfortable and people don’t look at you in a certain way.”

Erik says: Dance has an amazing way of transcending racial stereotypes, economics and nationalities. This story is exemplary of the power of music and dance to bond people of different backgrounds and make people more sympathetic to each other.

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Dancers on the poverty line (Crains)

The average professional dancer in New York City earns only $28,000 a year, according to a study to be released Monday by Dance NYC. The amount is just above the nation's poverty line. Of that income, just 55% comes from dance jobs, on average.

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Could Beyoncé Get in Trouble for Stealing Dance Moves? (Slate)

Is it really possible to steal a dance? Evidence surfaced on Monday that Beyoncé may have cribbed dance moves from a Belgian choreographer, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, for her new music video “Countdown.” Certain scenes in the video do appear almost identical to a 1997 film version of de Keersmaeker’s 1983 work “Rosas danst Rosas,” both in terms of movement and design.

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SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE Winner Melanie Moore Explores Reasons for Her Success

A great article about the extra work it takes to become successful: She attributes it to discipline and work ethic, unsurprisingly. She said she and Marko, her partner for the first half of the season, were the only couple to rent studio space outside of the regular rehearsal space they were given by the show’s producers. She and Marko would go to the studio and rehearse for a few hours after hours at the regular rehearsal space were over.

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A Generation’s Vanity, Heard Through Lyrics (NYTimes)

[It's interesting for dancers know the lyrical trend of contemporary music] Now, after a computer analysis of three decades of hit songs, Dr. DeWall and other psychologists report finding what they were looking for: a statistically significant trend toward narcissism and hostility in popular music. As they hypothesized, the words “I” and “me” appear more frequently along with anger-related words, while there’s been a corresponding decline in “we” and “us” and the expression of positive emotions.

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Modern Masters (Dance Spirit)

Today the contemporary dance family tree has all kinds of offshoots, but its base includes four modern dance branches: the techniques created by Martha Graham, José Limón, Lester Horton and Merce Cunningham. Even if you don’t consider yourself a modern dancer, getting to know these foundational styles will make you a stronger, more versatile performer, and once you’ve been exposed to them you’ll find it easier to absorb the styles of contemporary choreographers. Here’s what you need to know about these fundamental modern techniques.

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Can't dance? Brain chemical throws off your groove (msnbc)

[Just in case you need an excuse not to improve your dancing] But my steps aren’t smooth. Those beats and my body never truly connect -- despite what the cocktails tell me. On the dance floor, I'm the male Elaine from "Seinfeld," all kicks, thumbs and no rhythm. Turns out, it’s all in my head, not my hips or feet. A study, released today by researchers at the University of Oxford in England, claims a tiny messenger in the brain is partly to blame for those among us who struggle to grasp the latest dance moves.

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Putting the Fun Back into Excercise with a Little Footwork (WSJ)

Kathleen Hagan has one requirement for her workouts: They must be fun. When Ms. Hagan wanted to add a “fun factor” to her winter routine (because “indoor rowing is boring,” she says), she discovered dance. The class is a mix of beginners from 40 to 80 years old. Ms. Hagan says she started out dancing to slow songs but has now mastered full routines. “It’s very good for memory, because you have to remember all of the dance steps in a sequence. It’s also great balance training,” she says.

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A Ballet Dancer who Taps (Pointe Magazine)

Tap dance is an ideal companion to classical ballet training,” says McRae, who grew up studying tap and jazz in his hometown of Sydney, Australia. “Tap is intensely musical, and it teaches coordination and control of footwork.

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Married To Normal Folk (Pointe Magazine)

Relationships with “civilians,” however, seem more complicated: Figuring out scheduling is stressful, eating habits can differ and one partner probably can’t tell a tendu from a tour jeté. Yet many dancers have found that dating a non-dancer keeps them grounded in the real world.

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I Do! Real-Life Dancer Love Stories (DanceSpirit)

You know the story: A beautiful young woman meets a charming young man. They eye each other shyly from across the stage. He asks her to dance. She says yes. Three acts of pas de deuxing later, they are getting hitched and the audience is applauding wildly through 10 curtain calls. (Extra points if he’s a prince, of course.) Onstage, love is a many-splendored thing. But offstage, for some dancers, life is equally as romantic. In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are a few of our favorite real-life love stories.

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The Lowdown on Arts Downloading (WSJ)

"Thrifty" and "easy" are not usually how the performing arts are described. But thanks to the wonders of modern technology, world-class ballet can be downloaded from iTunes for just $14.99. And with the proliferation of HD broadcasts, the latest European operas are showing up at your local movie theater—for about $25.

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Ballet Is Dying? State Of The Arts (Huffington Post)

Ballet is dying? Really? With the release of Jennifer Homan's new book Apollo's Angels, it seems this question is a popular topic of discussion. While I agree that, yes, there was a ballet heyday in the 1970's, I think the art form is far from dead. One only has to look at ballet's recent publicity and media focus to see that.

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Jenifer Ringer Reacts to Critic on The Today Show (Today Show)

In one of the most hurtful reviews I have ever read, Alastair Macaulay of the New York Times said of a dancer in the Nutcracker, “she’d eaten one sugar plum too many”. It has created a firestorm in the dance world, on blogs, Facebook and Twitter. Here, the dancer, Jenifer Ringer, responds to the critic's review.

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Tracing the Spark of Creative Problem-Solving (NYTimes)

The very idea of doing a crossword or a Sudoku puzzle typically shifts the brain into an open, playful state that is itself a pleasing escape, captivating to people. To me this was all about the open-mindedness required to have an amazing dance - becoming one with the music and with your partner requires a very open-minded focus. It's almost a contradiction in terms.

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First Lady’s Dance Moves Woo Indian Crowds (NYTimes)

Not all of the politicians’ wives have danced, though. In India, where everyone from teenage boys to septuagenarian aunts dance at weddings, a reticence to join the dance floor is seen as a troubling sign of a possible character flaw — one that Mrs. Obama certainly does not exhibit.

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Washington Ballet will perform without orchestra this season

The Washington Ballet (as in DC) will dance before an empty orchestra pit this season, citing financial constraints in its decision to use recorded music for its upcoming production of "Romeo and Juliet" at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater and, most likely, for "The Nutcracker" at the Warner Theatre.

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Dancers Are Genetically Different (Science 2.0)

An examination of 85 dancers and advanced dancing students in Israel found variants of two genes that provide the code for the serotonin transporter and arginine vasopressin receptor 1a. Both genes are involved in the transmission of information between nerve cells.

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Ballet’s Costumes Take Center Stage (NYTimes)

An important part of history intertwining dance and fashion: “It was all very scattered,” said Jane Pritchard, a curator of “Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes, 1909-1929,” which opens on Saturday at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The museum has reassembled about 60 outfits, many of them purchased decades ago at Sotheby’s auctions. The curators had to decide which ones would be strong enough to exhibit, and conservators have repaired rips and sweat damage, straightened bent flaps and reinforced shoulders for draping on mannequins.

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US ballet companies to perform in Cuba

The American Ballet Theatre and the New York City Ballet will perform in Cuba for the first time in half a century in November in homage to former prima ballerina Alicia Alonso on her 90th birthday.

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Scientists identify dance moves that attract women (CNN)

The scientists filmed 19 men dancing, then mapped their moves onto featureless avatars using technology similar to the computer animation used in making animated movies. Then they had 35 heterosexual women rate the attractiveness of the dancing, without the distraction of whether the dancer himself was good-looking.

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Use It or Lose It - Dancing Makes You Smarter

Dancing Makes You SmarterFor centuries, dance manuals and other writings have lauded the health benefits of dancing, usually as physical exercise.  More recently we've seen research on further health benefits of dancing, such as stress reduction and increased serotonin level, with its sense of well-being.

Then most recently we've heard of another benefit:  Frequent dancing apparently makes us smarter.  A major study added to the growing evidence that stimulating one's mind can ward off Alzheimer's disease and other dementia, much as physical exercise can keep the body fit.  Dancing also increases cognitive acuity at all ages.

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Performing Arts and the Brain (Dunbar Lab)

Our early work suggest that performing arts students show more extensive activation in areas of the brain associated with the abstract qualities of a situation, We are now using an extensive battery of screening tests, DNA genotyping, and fMRI to uncover the effects of a performing arts education on the brain.

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The Physicist Who Figured Out Ballet (discovermagazine.com)

September 11, 2008

balletKen Laws is a professor emeritus of physics at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He also has a very serious case of balletomania. When his daughter and son decided to take ballet classes as children, so did he. After his children stopped taking ballet, Laws continued for another three decades.

Early on, frustrated with instructions from his teachers that he considered impressionistic, Laws started applying his knowledge of physics to jetés, fouettés, and other balletic motion. Conservation of angular momentum is perhaps the most important physical principle in ballet, but there’s more to ballet than rotation.

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