Dance is a challenge on more than just the body: it is also a challenge on the mind and the spirit. In fact, no other form of art is as completely all encompassing. Dancers constantly want to push their boundaries and express themselves, such is the level of commitment and dedication dancing inspires in a person. Many find that a journey into more than one style of dance enables them to be truly expressive and the best performer they can be. Let us take a look at why learning multiple styles of dance may be the source of inspiration you are looking for.
Learn new rhythms and time signatures
Many different styles of dance work beyond the 4/4 rhythms you may be used to working with. Belly dancing for example works with some particularly challenging time signatures. The Greek and Cypriot style of belly dancing is called Tsifteteli and this requires the dancer to master the 9/8 time signatures. This is counted as 12-34-56-789. For even the most accomplished dancer this is a challenge, but with perseverance is can be hugely rewarding. The Tsifteteli style of dance is known for its highly energetic, often gymnastic style. A dancer will also have to learn the zills, which are a type of finger cymbal. This will require body separation as well as accomplishing a musical instrument: truly a fantastic challenge.
Salsa dance, although working on the 4/4 traditional models, has a turn of phrase that occurs on the eighth or sixteenth beat, giving a surprising change of pattern, forcing the dancer to adapt and relearn how to dance to rhythm. Waltz and ballroom work on the 3/ 4 signature that is counted 123-123, many dancers when learning this style have to silently mouth the timing until they learn to fell it naturally.
Understanding time and rhythm is essential for you on your road to becoming an accomplished and versatile dancer. If you are new to time signatures you should invest some time understanding them, as they will significantly improve your ability in any dance class.
Working your entire body and increasing your overall stamina
One of the physical benefits of dance is that it will help you burn calories, look and feel better. Individual dance styles can work your body at different levels and indeed focus on different parts of your body. If you want to focus on your overall flexibility, you should look into belly dancing. Unlike some other forms of dance, belly dancing works with the body instead of against it. The physical goal of belly dancing is to strengthen the flexibility and function of the spinal column. This will in turn improve your posture and help with the lower back problems. Problems many of use experience when we lead a life that mainly compromises of sitting down.
Incorporating salsa into your dance diet can not only improve coordination and strengthen muscle groups; it can also burn a large amount of calories. An hour-long salsa class can burn in excess of 420 calories and will also teach you how to dance confidently with a partner. Aerobic dancing is the ultimate in workouts. Aerobic is an umbrella term and can cover styles as diverse as hip-hop, krump and the new craze, zumba. These dances focus more on intensity than elegance, but if you are looking for a core workout that will provide you with dramatic results, aerobic dance may be just what you are looking for.
The opportunity to experiment with different styles of shoe
Every style of dance will require a different outfit as well as a different pair of shoes. Dancing Latin in high heels requires a completely different approach that dancing ballet in Pointe shoes. Whatever style you choose, you will find that the dance shoe plays a major role in your performance. Weight is distributed very differently between ballroom and ballet and learning more than one style of dance in more than one pair of shoe will increase your overall balance and improve your agility in your chosen form of dance. Another advantage of dancing in different styles of shoe is that they will work out different parts of your leg.
Learn to incorporate and innovate
Mastering new time signatures and rhythms is going to really open up your dance and give you a whole new perspective on movement. You can take this fresh perspective and incorporate it into your existing style. You will find that knowing a collection of styles will make you a better dancer and also, if you desire, a better teacher.
All the greats were innovators: pushing boundaries and creating something new that paid homage to the classic style yet was thrilling and fresh. It is our duty as dancers to try and take dance to its next level. More and more it is becoming evident that an amalgamation of styles appears to be the future.