Dance as a performance art has evolved over time to encompass a dozen or more styles, with their own sub-styles or variations. Dance has catapulted many people to fame, but your motivations for taking it up doesn’t have to be as lofty. Dance can be taken up for fitness, for therapy, or for just plain fun. Young or old, one doesn’t have to be of a specific age to take it up. Whether you like it or not, regular dancing will slow aging (even give you an inner glow), improve your aerobic conditioning, and strengthen your bones and muscles. It will also help you emotionally as a dance group will enable you to make new friends.
Here are a few popular dance styles that aspiring dancers can enjoy.
- Ballet – comprising three basic styles (classical, neoclassical, and contemporary), ballet originated in Europe (specifically Italy) in the 15th century. From classical ballet that tells stories (Nutcracker is a famous example), ballet in its contemporary form is practiced for movement and physical expression. The neoclassical form of ballet is the transition between classic and contemporary ballet.
- Jazz – this dance style relies on expressive moves and originality. Rooted in the dance moves practiced by slaves (with European influence), it has since evolved into the style found in jazz clubs.
- Tap – also an evolution of dance style practice by slaves, tap dancing requires special shoes that produce a distinctive tapping sound. The moves practice in tap dancing emulate drum beats and rhythmic patterns. Popular tap dancers include Gregory Hines and Bill Robinson.
- Hip-Hop – descended from jazz dance, hip-hop emerged in the 70s together with rap. Puerto Rican and African-American communities in New York popularized this dance style, which features athletic movements. It has evolved into sub-styles known as krumping, clowning, juking, and jerking.
- Modern – is the antithesis of ballet, in that it encourages inner expression and eschews the stiff rules of classical ballet. Proponents of this dance style include Martha Graham and Isadora Duncan. The choreographies of this dance style promote wild artistic expressions and avant garde musical accompaniment. In recent years, modern dance has even included lighting and visual projections during performances.
Many Ottawa dance studios offer instruction in several dance styles, with levels for all ages and skill sets. A quick search should show you the popular ones like Capital City Dance in your area.