S: Why we dance Janet Neufeld
BC: Why we Dance
1: Dance, an expression that cannot be defined in one unique word. It is a form of art, expressed by passionate body movements, why individuals dance is influenced by many reasons. Dance can range from social interactions or a performance. It can be used as a form of expression and emotions. Dance movements can range to present a story, create an impact on a community or just to relieve stress. Individuals may dance for traditional reasons and continue nurturing their culture. | Throughout years dance has evolved and developed into a product revolutionized into a new piece of beauty. In this book, you will discover why we dance and explore the origin, process, impact and why dance has inspired many people to devote their life to it.
2: Behind every dancer there is a motivation. | Motivation | Either its a tradition, desire, devotion or just for fitness, every dancer has a motivation that drives them to dance. | [motivation] the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behavior; | "Great dancers are not great because of their technique. They are great because of their passion." –Unknown | Many dancers are motivated to preform because they want to create an impact on the society they are living in. It could also be because they are dedicated to continue their tradition. Dancing is an ambition carried throughout by those who love it. | (TONGA DANCE) Legends and myths are carried by the graceful movements created by the beautiful Tonga dancers telling a story through movements. Tonga dancers are encouraged to present stories and tales through the many different graceful hand movements accompanied by drumming music. The Tonga dance has originated in the pacific islands as it shares some common similarity with the neighboring Polynesian pacific islands of Tahiti and Samoa. Tonga dancers are motivated to share their dance with others and this is one of the most significant ways of restoring their history and culture, by dance. With modern and more western influence in the world the Native Tonga people want to maintain their country with pride and dignity of their culture and heritage.
3: ( If you want to dance seriously. You must think about it day and night, dream about it,--desire it. -christa Justus (Motivation quotes that would be added to this page) "Great dancers are not great because of their technique. They are great because of their passion." –Unknown If you want to dance seriously. You must think about it day and night, dream about it,--desire it. -christa Justus (Motivation quotes that would be added to this page) "Great dancers are not great because of their technique. They are great because of their passion." –Unknown If you want to dance seriously. You must think about it day and night, dream about it,--desire it. -christa Justus (Motivation quotes that would be added to this page) "Great dancers are not great because of their technique. They are great because of their passion." –Unknown If you want to dance seriously. You must think about it day and night, dream about it,--desire it. -christa Justus | (APSARA DANCE) The Apsara dance (traditional Khmer dance, Cambodia) was ritually performed at temples. One of the most common temples is Angkor Wat which is located in South East Asia in Cambodia. The traditional dancers called “Apsaras” were well known as beautiful messengers and performers to the Buddhist religion and divinity. Although some of the Apsara dance has been influenced by neighboring countries the dance is still continues to be performed by young motivated Khmer natives who are inspired to share and store their history and culture to others. After Khmer Rouge, a catastrophe that occurred, Cambodia is slowly restoring their history and culture and more young natives are learning the story and background of their country. Mothers are encouraging their young to learn more about their ethnicity and this graceful dance. | (AEROBIC DANCE) Many people who want to improve their fitness and lose a couple pounds are joining aerobic dance classes. Genres may range from disco, jazz, and hip-hop. Aerobic dance is a very interesting form of exercise that enhances blood circulation. Many participants also mention that it is a great stress reliever. Fitness is the overall motivation for aerobic dancers.
4: (BEAUTY DANCE, NIGER, WEST AFRICA) Every year after the rainy season the Woodabe native men dress up and use makeup to emphasize their face and gather together to dance. This is to show their beauty to women that will soon decide which man is the most attractive. The Woodabe men are obviously motivated to dance so that they can find their perfect soul mate and a wife to start a family with. | (QUETZAL DANCE, MEXICO) Proud native Mexicans ritually present their victory of their pre-conquest through the Quetzal dance. The meaning Quetzal is derived from the most powerful god of the Aztec, Quetzalcoatl. At ceremonial festivals dancers perform traditional Aztec dances passed down from their ancestors. Their motive is to show their proud history that their ancestors have claimed. | If you want to dance seriously. You must think about it day and night, dream about it,--desire it. -christa Justus
5: Origin The origin of dance cannot be dated. As long as there were humans on this earth, dance has been around for ages and has become a way of one’s life. Earlier, it was more of a religious ceremony presentation than what it has become of now in modern times. As far as we know, dancing has lasted for what is seems to be an eternity. | (EGYPT) One of the earlier dances has been around 3300 BC. This has been proven by dancing figures painted in Egyptian tombs. Many dances were performed by hunters in rituals so that they’d be able to find their prey and hunt successfully. Many people were encouraged to dance in festivals held in the summer when the Nile River began to rise for the mighty Egyptian gods, Isis and Osiris. Professional dancers presented at substantial social events. Accompanied to these marvelous rituals were traditional musical instruments, percussions and harps. Egyptian dance steps were said to “look remarkably like steps in classical ballet.” Movements and motions were influenced by animal movements and daily activities peasants and farmers went through. A story could be told through the ancient Egyptian dance movements.
6: (FLAMENCO) Flamenco, the beautiful and feisty Spanish dance is very unclear when it comes to defining the origin. Some say that the dance has been brought to Andalusia from “Gypsies that had travelled from Pakistan and India via Egypt.” Others say that simply the dance had originated in the Southern provinces of Andalusia. The ones that do believe that the spicy flamenco dance had originated from India and such say that the dance has dated back to 800 and 900 A.D. They say that there was a certain group of people that was part of a Indian castes called the “untouchables.” In this group were a variety of artisans ranging from “animal traders and trainers, acrobats, dancers, musicians, palmists and metalworkers.” These individuals were considered as gypsies to others and once they migrated over to Spain the dance was thought to have begun. The gypsies were invited and hired to entertain audiences at religious festivals but mostly gatherings. Description of the flamenco dance once has been quoted - “Elements such as the deep-seated plies, outturned leg position, sharp angles of the body and arms, splayed fingers, rapid barrel turns and, most certainly, the percussive foot movements are all evident in flamenco dance.” | (DISCO) The Disco dance has been known as the most funkiest and groovy dances of all times. The dance is not actually an individual dance of its own but is linked to roots of other dances such as the Swing, Mambo, Cha Cha, Tango and more. The disco dance has no specific date or estimated time it had actually originated but some approximately say that the rise of Disco was in New York around the 1970’s.
7: Development and process Dance has developed throughout the years from when it had first became a craze. Due to influences and new ideas dance has never been an “old” thing and new moves and creations are being danced every day. Here we will explore how the costume or appearance of ballet dancers has changed throughout the years. The change of appearance was influenced due to make the dance more clear, noticeable and elegant. | BALLET- APPEARANCE WHEN DANCING [evolution of the clothing of ballet dancers] Ballet was simply originated for “simple socializing.” Most dancers were dressed casually, nothing eye catching, spectacular or breathe-taking. Men wore long coats and wigs and ladies wore tight bodices and long skirts. 1700: Greek inspiration was a huge deal in fashion at this stage. Light and simple robes were popularly worn. Women were to wear loose and flowing dresses. Moves were less strict and dancers were encouraged to move more and to become more complex. 1810: Throughout the time passed, dancers became more comfortable in moving and displaying emotions. Men were suddenly advised to wear short pants that stopped at the knee with a silk hose worn underneath. This was also so that the delicate movements were more obvious and easier to be seen. At this time the ballet shoes were invented as well and all dancers wore them when performing. 1850’s: Now women were to wear shorter skirts or may be considered “tutu’s” and were able to show their arms. They also were to wear tight corsets with ruffles around the neck area. As for the men, they had to wear ties and this was worn over a vest. 1900’s: With modern influence dancers became much more comfortable and wore simple leotards and tights to keep leg muscles warm. Ballet dresses can be found and seen in so many extravagant colors and designs. This has all continued to what we have now today. Another change there has been is now modern ballet or modern jazz, and modern ballroom. All of these dances still have their old techniques and styles but also with a mix of modern dance to it that gives it a fresh twist. Many dancers enjoy these types of genres because it is a mix of old and new.
8: Impact Some dancers may dance to show freedom, love, and their expression. Others may want to create an impact on the community their living in. Dancers may also want to show “themes and messages” to others and communicate to the audience why they are dancing and the story behind it. | ORISSI,- EASTERN INDIA This dance was performed by temple dances called Mahari. The traditional dance is a classical Indian dance that was the “subject of a cultural revival from 1930 to 1950.” This was when India has just received its independence from Great Britain. The Orissi dancers had claimed their pride and danced to show that now India was their own and freedom was declared. | MAORI people –NEW ZEALAND The HAKA dance The traditional warrior dance of the Haka has been culturally the dance presented before going into a war or battle and also in victory celebrations and festivals afterwards. This dance is usually a message and a ritual to the natives that it is the time for war or a battle and the Haka people dance aggressively with loud chants. | DANCING AGAINST WAR- KURT JOOSS Some dance groups dance against war, trying to show to the audience and viewers that war is not the right way to go. In 1932 there was a ballet called “The green table.” This dance was stated and quoted to try to “move people to take action against the evil political system of fascism, which was overtaking Europe in the 1930’s.” The choreographer and creator of the ballet performance, Kurt Jooss’s evident goal was to impact the audience in knowing that the political system of fascism that disturbingly increasing was terrible .
9: ORISSI, EASTERN INDIA This dance was performed by temple dances called Mahari. The traditional dance is a classical Indian dance that was the “subject of a cultural revival from 1930 to 1950.” This was when India has just received its independence from Great Britain. The Orissi dancers had claimed their pride and danced to show that now India was their own and freedom was declared. | "Tradiontional Orissi dance movements were stated to be focused on the posture of the dancer, the stances and leaps (bhaunri), the dance steps (charis), and also mainly the feet positions (pada veda) , hand gestures (hasta) and mood." | The Maori people have traditionally preformed and presented this dance to their community for awhile now and the impact they have had on their community is that their dance shows a message, a message of war. | On the right is a chart of symbols the MAORI HAKA dancers use when preforming.
10: Costume and Makeup Makeup and dance costumes create a theme and helps the viewers distinguish what is going on in the performance. Makeup enhances and dramatizes the dancer’s features. It can transform humans into animals, gods, devils, heroes or just act like a mask. Makeup can hide the dancers real identity and create a display of fairytales and unrealistic stories into reality. Whether using paints to charcoal, makeup can transform dancers into anything they want. Costumes on the other hand can immediately tell the audience what is going on, who is the good guy and who the bad guy is. Costumes can also enhance the beauty of the dancer, it can create an effect so that the movement become more clearer or so that it highlights a certain part of the body. | Makeup: | Chinese Opera In traditional Chinese opera makeup is said to define the actor’s face. It was a very essential part of the act and was known to enhance the beauty of the performers. Until the early 20th century only men were to perform the acts, so until then they also had to play female parts, and the only way in creating a look of a female they used makeup to hide their identity. Makeup for the performers were to paint their faces white and blending in some parts to be red and pink for princesses and female parts. Eyebrows were dark and heavy and defined as an essential element of beauty.
11: Aboriginal Dream time- Australia In aboriginal dance festivals and ceremonies the dancers would decorate their bodies with geometrical designs and feathers. The colorful dots and patterns are known to have a great religious link and is vital to the Aboriginal culture. It is known to connect back to their ancestors and the spirits to the dreamtime which is also signified as the time of creation. | Costumes: | Hip-hop Most hip-hop dancers enjoy wearing loose clothes to show their sudden movements. This of course does not range for all hip-hop dancers but many wear loose pants and loose shirts. When wearing loose clothing, when moving around it can make the move appear much larger and stronger than what it actually is. Some dancers prefer tight clothes so that their dance moves can be more obvious and appear more attractive to the audience. As for dance teams or troops may have their own team uniform so that the performance looks organized and everyone can distinguish the team.
12: Tahitian dancers- Tahiti Tahitian dancers from this beautiful Polynesian island wear bright and flowing skirts that start low on the hips. Most of the Tahitian dance movements are focused on the hips and the graceful hand movements. The skirts may range from using materials or dried leaves dyed in bright native colors. On top native girls would either wear a cloth or coconuts exposing their stomach to emphasize the strong hip movements. Women would then be decorated with flowers and some Tahitian dancers that dance to the stronger and faster drum beats wear large headdresses created with shells and colorful feathers. Dancers that dance to the slower pace music decorate their hair with flowers and shells, showing that the dance is much more peaceful and graceful than the other. | Georgian Ballet Dancers from the Republic of Georgia wear very long and heavy dresses and costumes. The ideal goal is that when the move across the floor it will look like the dancer is gliding instead, elegantly across the stage.
13: Classical Thai dance- Thailand In Thailand the classical and traditional Thai dance has many different lavishing costumes that make the dancers more interesting to watch. Dressed in silk of different colors, most traditionally in gold, the angel-like dancers gracefully dance using their hands and fingers bent in a position throughout the whole dance. Most classical Thai dances tell of heroic mythological beings and costumes play a very important part of this factor. Dancers could have large golden headpieces dressed in jewels to signify their character. An example of some characters may be of a mermaid- this character would have what may seem like mermaid details, a golden tail and beautiful silk to display to the audience that she is the mermaid in the story. Her dance movements will also differ to the other dancers on stage. Another example may be of the “Yaak.” This in Thai means, Giant. The giant will have a scary mask on, showing the audience that he is the powerful and majestic giant. His dance moves will also differ from the rest of the dancers. Thai dancers will also wear a lot of golden ornaments and jewelry to make the dance look royal and extravagant.
14: Insight from dancers... | First Interview: SARAH MCKITTERICK This is Sarah McKitterick who teaches jazz and ballet for elementary students at the International School of Phnom Penh. Sarah is from the United States. She has been dancing ballet since the starting age of 3 years old where her mother brought her to classes. She started off by going to classes with her neighbor and as she grew older she was influenced to learn different genres of dance ranging from jazz and hip-hop. The persuasion and motivation to dance came within Sarah as she used dance to express her emotions, whenever she was angry or sad she’d always love to dance to show let her expressions through movements. Sarah grew up dancing with her best friends and called the practices more of a “family” thing since all of the girls were close and shared the same passion. | Sarah trained in ballet for 15 years and modern jazz for 5 years at Londonderry Dance Academy in Londonderry, NH, USA. She completed the RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) examinations during high school. She had won the national award for Best Performance 2 years in a row and had participated in the American Academy of Ballet's Performance Awards for 5 years. As she grew older Sarah also become more interested in acting and drama so she studied at the British American Drama Academy in London, UK, where she received extensive training in Shakespeare, Movement and Voice for Actors, and High Comedy. As much as she loves performing and dancing for others she also wanted to share her passion to younger students and let them enjoy what she had enjoyed when she was younger. She worked in various summer camps for young children throughout New Hampshire (USA) for the past 5 years. Now, she works at the International School of Phnom Penh in Cambodia and shares her passion of dance to young eager students who love dance as well.
15: Second interview: CHRAONG TRANGDAM Chraong Trangdam is a traditional Apsara dancer for events and gatherings for the Royal family of Cambodia. She started out at a young age performing in circuses with her friends and neighbors. When growing up she wanted to pursue her dream in becoming a professional Apsara dancer. Motivated to learn more she took many classes of different styles and techniques of traditional dances. Slowly as she perfected the traditional dances she was welcomed into the official Apsara dance group of Cambodia. Now she travels with the dance group to other Asian countries ranging from Singapore, China to Vietnam to perform the classical dance that her ancestors once have presented. The newest dance that has inspired her is the “grasshopper dance.” This dance was created not long ago, perhaps 4 years back by a professor in the institution of fine arts in Cambodia. The dance moves are influences by observing a grasshopper. On the day interviewed Mrs. Chraong Trangdam was practicing with her fellow dancers to perform for the king and the local native Khmer people for the coming “Water Festival.” This is an important festival to Cambodians as it has been a passed down festival and tradition to the people for many years. Chraong Trangdam and the other performers marched down the road with beautiful silk Apsara dresses with lots of golden ornaments and danced down the street. Last, Mrs. Chraong Trangdam said “ I love to dance for my people and our leaders, dance has been a way of telling our traditional stories, our culture and what the people of Cambodia are all about, without dance my life would not be how it is today, I admire it.” | Second interview: ARIEL REYES Ariel Reyes is a nurse working in the International School of Phnom Penh. Ariel is originally from the Philippines he started dancing at a very young age of only 3 years old. His family was artistically talented and he began learning ballroom dance with his cousins. In the interview he discussed that “In the Philippines everyone wants to get a job out of the country, the only way out is if you either have a good education and can get a job elsewhere, or if you have ‘skills.’ Skills meaning you can dance or you can sing.” He also mentioned that most of the Filipinos that want a ticket out can don’t have the finical partake of it paying can use their talents to move abroad. | Insight from dancers... | Ariel did not come from a wealthy family but wanted to follow his dream in working with medical factors. During university he joined the dance varsity team which gave him a scholarship and he also had 2 part-time jobs. Ariel also worked in an outside dance team which preformed on the local t.v and in shows. He enjoys dancing and performing but never wanted to take it as a profession. He grew up learning ballroom but prefers hip-hop dancing. His three favorite role models are Mc-Hammer, Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley. Ariel teaches Hip-hop dance to younger students for after school activities in the International School of Phnom Penh. He states that he is only where he is now because dance has brought him and helped him to expand on his education. Lastly Ariel states “Dancing is something to me that is more than body movements, it’s a personality. It’s a time where you can express yourself. On the stage, you become free. Your express yourself through movements. Some people write, some people sing, but other do something called, dance.”
16: Third interview: CHRAONG TRANGDAM Chraong Trangdam is a traditional Apsara dancer for events and gatherings for the Royal family of Cambodia. She started out at a young age performing in circuses with her friends and neighbors. When growing up she wanted to pursue her dream in becoming a professional Apsara dancer. Motivated to learn more she took many classes of different styles and techniques of traditional dances. Slowly as she perfected the traditional dances she was welcomed into the official Apsara dance group of Cambodia. Now she travels with the dance group to other Asian countries ranging from Singapore, China to Vietnam to perform the classical dance that her ancestors once have presented. The newest dance that has inspired her is the “grasshopper dance.” This dance was created not long ago, perhaps 4 years back by a professor in the institution of fine arts in Cambodia. The dance moves are influences by observing a grasshopper. | Insight from dancers... | On the day interviewed Mrs. Chraong Trangdam was practicing with her fellow dancers to perform for the king and the local native Khmer people for the coming “Water Festival.” This is an important festival to Cambodians as it has been a passed down festival and tradition to the people for many years. Chraong Trangdam and the other performers marched down the road with beautiful silk Apsara dresses with lots of golden ornaments and danced down the street. Last, Mrs. Chraong Trangdam said “ I love to dance for my people and our leaders, dance has been a way of telling our traditional stories, our culture and what the people of Cambodia are all about, without dance my life would not be how it is today, I admire it.” | A traditional Khmer dancer
17: About myself My name is Janet Neufeld and I am from the United States of America and Thailand. I have grown up learning different genres of dance due to my parent’s career and the need to travel abroad. I’ve been raised in Germany, Hawaii, Tanzania, and now Cambodia. Throughout these countries I have always found and noticed that my passion is dancing. I started out young taking ballet classes and gymnastics. Although I do not know how to dance ballet I do think that by starting at an early age it has influenced me to continue in doing what I love now. When living in Germany I was always interested in hip-hop music and dance so I started a group with a couple of friends and we performed at celebrations, parties and festivals. In the town we lived in there were many Thai natives so I also learned the traditional Thai dance. This was a big difference than hip hop, it was more graceful and slower and I performed with older students at Thai restaurants and temples for celebrations. After moving from Germany to Hawaii I took many classes in learning the native Hawaiian dance Hula and also the neighboring island’s traditional dance of Tahitian dancing as well. Both were similar, but Hula was more gentle and soft, and Tahitian was more upbeat, fast and strong. I enjoyed both so much and joined shows and competitions. Growing up on the island and learning the culture and dance behind the people made me motivated to learn more and to become a better dancer. After Hawaii, we moved to Tanzania. This was one of my favorite countries and I joined many dance groups and performed for school talent shows, international day and also parties. After moving to Cambodia I have become more interested in modern dance, I haven’t took any hip-hop dance classes or courses but I am really encouraged to do so. In the area we are living in there aren’t many opportunities to take classes in but I still continue to dance with friends and join competitions. I’ve also taught some friends the native Tahitian dance which we have performed for international days. I’ve also performed on TV here in Cambodia for a pageant show where we were asked to dance for the introduction. I’ve always loved dance and cherish it so much. It’s something that I can do anywhere, when I’m sad, mad, frustrated, happy or excited; dance has always been the way for me to express myself. Many confuse dance as just another craze or activity, but to others dance is the way to communicate with others and express emotions. Although I will probably not take dance as a profession in the future I know that I will always feel the need to get up on my feet everyday and dance. Dance is more than a word to me, it’s my life.
18: Conclusion Hopefully throughout this book you have discovered how dance has affected others around the world and why dancers decide to take dance to a new level. As any other athlete or artist, if you want to become better you will have to practice. Artists have teachers who teach them, athletes have coaches that train them and dancers have trainers. The only way to become better is through motivation and practice. Dance is a collection of cultures, traditions, influences, love, life, expressions. Over the years it has expanded and become a part of many lives. Dance, is a way to communicate to others, to tell stories, to express thoughts, a way of freedom. And this, is why we dance.
19: BIBLIOGRAPHY | PICTURES: Te Maeva Nui." Sokala Villas. Sokala Villas. 11 Jan 2009