Sunday, July 31, 2011

"Manners Monday" - Put on Your Dancing Shoes!

Dance is back and it’s hotter than ever! For as long as I can remember, I have always loved dancing. From back in the day watching the funky dancers get down on Soul Train to studying John Travolta’s disco moves in Saturday Night Fever and Michael Jackson’s effortless moonwalk in the Billie Jean video. As a child, I lived for dance parties and dance contests. I took dance lessons all throughout elementary school (jazz, tap and ballet) and in high school was part of a modern dance company. My love for dance continued in college and I added hip hop dance to my repertoire. One of my dance instructor’s was actually, Bob Harper, from The Biggest Loser! Nowadays, dance is everywhere and accessible to everyone whether they’re enjoying learning ballroom dance vicariously while watching a Dancing with the Stars episode or participating in an impromptu flash mob dance at the mall.

Needless to say, I am a big supporter of all types of dance and when the 2nd annual National Dance Day occurred, I broke out my boogie shoes! Founded by So You Think You Can Dance executive producer, Nigel Lythgoe, National Dance Day (Saturday, July 30th) was created to “encourage Americans to incorporate dance into their lives as a way to have fun, get your heart rate up, and combat obesity.”

First Lady, Michelle Obama, spearheaded a similar campaign over a year ago to tackle children’s physical and emotional health with an initiative called “Let’s Move!” Similarly, the First Lady was motivated to curtail our nation’s problem with obesity and lure children away from passive activities like computer games and television into more active interests like sports and dance. The trend has grown and others have joined in the crusade as well.

Wisharoo Park, a multimedia children’s edutainment company along with leading dancewear brand Capezio, launched a nationwide campaign/viral dance-a-thon of their own called, “The Duckle Dance.” The idea is to help the younger set (ages 3-6) stay healthy and showcase a few of their best dancing moves at the same time. Kids are encouraged to watch “The Duckle Dance” video ( and then submit their own version for a chance to win Capezio dance scholarships.

We’re also jumping on board with our own program, “The Let’s Dance!” Cotillion, which returns for a third season, and promotes ballroom dance and the positive impact it has on good health and socialization (

The truth of the matter is, dance is not just for fun and entertainment, it is a sport that involves athletic ability, coordination, timing and teamwork. It has tremendous personal value and is one of the best tools to break down physical inhibitions and instill confidence. Dance is also a fantastic way to improve one’s poise, posture and overall composure. The techniques learned in a traditional dance class provide the dancer with a sense of grace and self-control so that they may present themselves in a confident manner. If you happen to find yourself engaged in partner dancing, there is a code of conduct that is observed in the world of dance to honor the dance itself and the dance participants.

First Things First – Dress in appropriate clothing suitable for dancing. Be mindful to wear "dancer friendly" attire. Avoid anything beaded, snagging fabrics and long train dresses.

Pay Attention to Personal Hygiene - Personal oral and bodily hygiene is of utmost importance. Brush your teeth or freshen your mouth with a piece of gum to prevent bad breath. Make sure to use deodorant or apply a light perfume to prevent any body odor.

At a Dance - Either the man or woman may ask for a dance. When asking for a dance, try not to be overly aggressive. Try not to turn down anyone who has asked for a dance. It is alright to state that you would like to "sit this one out" or that you are not familiar with a particular dance. It is extremely rude to turn down one person and then accept another invitation during the same dance number.

Introductions - Introduce yourself to your dance partner right away. With couples of two different genders, the gentleman always leads the lady. At the end of a dance, thank your partner.

A Positive Attitude Guarantees an Invitation to Dance - Shaking your head, rolling your eyes, looking bored, unenthusiastic or ignoring your partner all fall into the category of bad attitude. When dancing, it is the job of the participant to look like they are having the time of their life. This will ensure that your dance card is always full.

Got a favorite dance move? Have a special pair of dance shoes you've been hiding? Seen any good dance performances lately? Share with us. We'd love to hear from you!

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