Category Archives: Dance

I’d Rather Be Dancing Breton Folk Dances

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Brittany is the large peninsula of the northwesternmost corner of France. The Bretons have their own dialects which are used in addition to the official French language. They also have beautiful folk dances.

Hanter Dro is a very simple dance, suitable for warm-up:

Avant deux de Touches:

Bal de Jugon is a couple dance in two patterns:

Gilgoden is a circle mixer in two patterns:

Jabadao is a vigorous dance. The signs on the backs of the dancers in this video suggest to me that this might be a competition:

Kost Ar C’hoad:

Valse Écossaise, a waltz:

An Dro Retourné is a circle dance with two patterns. The first pattern has a pinkie handhold.

Bannielou Lambaol is a simple, two part dance that is often taught in elementary school in the US:

I love the music to Le Laridé a 8 temps:

Creative Juice #251

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Creative Juice #251

A lot of beauty in today’s articles, curated especially for you.

  • Do you like Irish step dancing?
  • If you read my post about the Sirens, you know I love to sleep.
  • Georgia O’Keeffe on the art of seeing. And lots of links, if you enjoy going down rabbit holes.
  • I may have included these father of the bride photos in a previous edition of Creative Juice. You know what? They’re so beautiful, you should see them again.
  • Beautiful fruit photography.
  • Read your children some books about kindness and talk about how to make a difference in the lives of the people around you.
  • I’d never heard of Sonny Curtis, even though I’m familiar with two of his most famous songs; but I love his daughter’s essay about him.
  • Would you believe there are 800 pairs of herons living in Amsterdam? Maybe because of the canals. . .
  • Ingenious and useful creations from toilet paper rolls.
  • A mom’s June sketchbook pages.
  • I love this Instagrammer’s ICAD cards.
  • How a quilter pieced a 60-piece block perfectly!

I’d Rather Be Dancing United States Folk Dances

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Some US folk dances are all-American; some steal borrow liberally from other countries. These are some of the US-originated dances we do with the Phoenix International Folk Dancers.

12th Street Rag is inspired by the Roaring Twenties. We do it with couples promenading around a large circle or oval.

Chi Balla was set to an Italian song by the American choreographer, Ira Weisburd. It is a mixer, meaning that each time the dancers finish the 8-measure pattern, they progress to a new partner:

It’s been a while since I’ve danced Cotton-Eyed Joe, and I’m not sure if this is the version we do:

Cumbia Semana is a dance with a Latin flavor choreographed by Ira Weisburd:

I know this dance by the name Mozart Hassapiko. Ira Weisburd and Eli Ronen choreographed it using dance steps from the Greek tradition.

This dance is called Hot Pretzels, maybe because of the way the couples’ arms look as they exchange positions:

Yolanda is danced to a Venezuelan song. Ira Weisburd teaches this dance, but it’s not clear to me whether he is the choreographer or not; one website attributes the choreography to Bea Montrose:

Virginia Reel is an old American barn dance:

Some remember Salty Dog Rag as being introduced in the 1950s by Ricky Holden; others say it goes back to the ragtime era circa 1911:

This video claims to be the official choreography for the Macarena, which is danced to a Spanish song but originated in the United States. I only knew the original set of movements, but I like these variations because they make the dance more interesting and fun:

Creative Juice #245

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Creative Juice #245

Today all my curated articles are from one of my favorite blogs, MyOBT (aka My One Beautiful Thing). Blogger Donna has a daily mission to share one beautiful thing. And she succeeds every day.

Enjoy these? Maybe you should follow MyOBT.

I’d Rather be Dancing Turkish Folk Dances

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The Turks love to dance, and they have beautiful music to dance to. Here are some Turkish folk dances that we do with the Phoenix International Folk Dancers.

I used to teach Ali Paşa to my fifth graders:

Kirmizi Biber (means hot pepper):

Kendime (kids hear “Candy Man”):

Ordu:

Turkish hora, a variation on the Israeli hora:

Turkish Kiss actually originated in Israel:

There are other Turkish dances that we do at PIFD, but I couldn’t find good quality videos of them; but here are some other Turkish dances that I’ve never done.

Tuvak:

I feel like our group has done a dance by the name of Şemmamê, but I don’t remember these steps. Apparently there are multiple variations. This is a Kurdish dance:

Arabim Fellahi (My Arabic Farmer) features stomping and a little shoulder shimmy:

Bariş Halay has some interesting jump bounces and knee circles:

I’d Rather be Dancing Russian Folk Dances

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Who doesn’t love the mournful tones of Russian folk music? And who can sit still while the music is playing? Here are ten Russian dances that are among the Phoenix International Folk Dancers repertoire.

Devichya Khorovodnaya:

Katje:

Sasha is often taught to children. You have to know a few words of Russian. Sasha is a nickname for Alexander or Alexandra. Ras, dva, tri is one, two, three. Da svidaniya is goodbye.

Lugovon’ka:

Korobushka:

Troika is a dance that requires a lot of energy. The word means three and refers to a team of three horses pulling a sleigh:

Zimushka:

Dorozhka is based on Cossack dance steps and is very challenging:

Ya da kalinushku lomala:

Bielolitza Kruglolitza can tie you up in knots:

I’d Rather Be Dancing Irish Folk Dances, Part II

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I’d Rather Be Dancing Irish Folk Dances, Part II

Two months ago, I posted an article on Irish Folk Dances. After it went live, I thought, oh, man, I could have saved this for St. Patrick’s Day. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. I invite you to click on the link, because that article has all my favorite Irish folk dances on it.

On the bright side, because St. Paddy’s Day is best celebrated by going to a ceili (Irish social dance), I scoured the internet to find some more Irish dances, all new to me. And they are just delightful.

High Caul Cap. This is danced in squares, each square formed by four couples. For the last repetition in this video, two squares join together and dance in a circle. As a social dance it looks like this:

As a step dance, the feet are lifted higher, like this:

Siamse Bierte.

Seige of Ennis:

Harvest Time Jig:

Antrim Reel:

Irish Lilt:

Rakes of Mallow is often taught to elementary school students. (I am jealous of this well-instrumented music room.)

Creative Juice #232

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Creative Juice #232

Beautiful things to look at. Creative solutions. Interesting journeys. And a possible assignment for you.

  • Free quilt block of the month patterns.
  • Awesome journal pages.
  • These abandoned buildings break my heart.
  • Artwork doesn’t have to be large to be impactful.
  • Searching for happiness in a book.
  • How one college is addressing systemic inequality in its curriculum.
  • Maybe more than you ever wanted to know about folk dancing’s fascinating history as a social movement. Keep scrolling down–there are a bunch of cool dance videos.
  • An artist’s watercolor journey.
  • Beautiful photography on this Instagram account.
  • It’s interesting to watch this sketch artist’s process.
  • When I was in college, I had a roommate who decorated envelopes. When I transferred to a different school, I was the recipient of letters from her in those beautiful envelopes. Who can you think of who would be blessed by a handwritten letter in a hand-decorated envelope? Maybe you could do that this weekend. . .
  • A photographer discusses a favorite photo.

Video of the Week #295: James Brown does his signature splits

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African-American Dancers

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There have been many great African-American dancers; I am just scratching the surface here, just mentioning the ones who most captured my attention.

Throughout my childhood, Sammy Davis, Jr. was frequently on television. As a member of the Rat Pack, he was a frequent guest on variety shows, specials, and late night talk shows.

Alvin Ailey was one of the most famous choreographers of modern dance. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and its school express the African-American experience through dance. Here is vintage footage of one of his pieces.

Gregory and Maurice Hines grew up performing tap dance routines together in night clubs. Then they danced together in Broadway musicals, and eventually in movies such as The Cotton Club and Eubie. A generation of children remember them from appearances on Sesame Street. When Gregory passed away in 2003, Maurice continued to perform. Here he talks about their partnership:

Nobody danced like Michael Jackson (though everybody tried). I could have done without the crotch-grabbing, but I admire his precision of movement. And the magic of the moonwalk. And can anyone forget “Thriller”?

Misty Copeland has the distinction of being the first African-American principal dancer in the American Ballet Theater. The video that follows is a clip from a documentary about her life.