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Archive-name: dance/faq/part2
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Maintainer: Victor Eijkhout <>
Last-modified: September, 1996

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge

    Questions about dancing in general, but not about any specific dance.
    In this section and the next, authors of the various pieces are
    identified by initials; look them up in the Acknowledgments section
    (7.1) .  

I'll soon be in XYZ.  How do I find where to go dancing? (4.1)

    Try looking in the Dancers' Archive (2.8) .  

     Or just post here, and see what suggestions you get.  

Where do I find dance music? (4.2)

    In the Dancers' Archive, subdirectory `music':  

     Additionally, there are lists of swing songs in  

Where can I buy dance supplies? (4.3)

    Check out the following files in the Dancers' Archive:  
    ;  information about cheap dance shoes:
    ; mail order companies:  

     Henry Neeman's hotlist has a section about supplies too:  

     Geared more towards ballet is Tom Parsons Dance Wear FAQ

     Another very good source is going to competitions. There are often
    stands of shoe / boots / apparel / hat / jewelry manufacturers. This is
    an easy way to see and try on lots of stuff. For more information about
    competitions, see  

How can I learn more about dance? Books? Videos? (4.4)


     Look in the Dancers' Archive in the `books' and `videos'
    . You can find reviews of instructions videos for swing, country, and
    shag on  


     See for ballroom related material  
    ,  and for Craig Hutchinson's Swing Dancer:  

     Information about country dances in 19th century England and about
    formal balls can be found in  
What Jane Austen ate and Charles Dickens knew
by: Daniel Pool
Simon and Schuster, New York 1993
    More about 19th century dance can be found in  
From the ballroom to hell
grace and folly in nineteenth-century dance
by: Elizabeth Aldrich
Northwestern University Press
Evanston, Illinois 1991

I want to put a dance floor in my house! Any tips? (4.5)

    Go to the Dancers' Archive, and look in subdirectory `topics':

     Also, there was an excellent three-page article on finishing floors in
    the March 1994 issue of "The Dance Corral," which is a monthly magazine
    for country western dancers. The article, entitled "Floor Lore," was
    written by Dan Downing. He cites several resources for further
    information, including an article in "Dance Magazine," Feb. 1989,
    63:72, and the addresses and phone numbers of three wood floor
    associations. If you want to order a back issue of The Dance Corral
    (you'd want vol. 5, num. 3), their phone number is (616) 473-3261.  

Dance notation and software (4.6)


     Here are some links to notation information and software, courtesy of
    Christian Griesbeck  

     Shawn E. Koppenhoefer is colecting links on dancenatation:  

     The Ohio State University Department of Dance has on its LabanWriter
    page some links on dancenatation:  
    (OSU Department of Dance)  

     I am writing a introduction to Labanotation (as part of my computer
    choreography/Choreology Project):  
    (english in construction)  
    (german finshed)  

**Craig Hutchinson's notation**
    in Swing Dancer. It is pretty much geared to swing dancing, so there is
    no concept of line-of-dance. It involves a good 300 terms for
    movements, holds, foot positions.  

    is very good for showing steps, directions, duration of steps, how to
    use the foot, shifting weight, etc. Read the following file in the
    Dancers' Archive:

     Labanotation now has two "dialects" which arose starting during the
    Second World War.  They are Labanotation as used in the Western
    Hemisphere and Great Britain, and Kinetography-Laban, as used in the
    rest of Europe.  ICKL, the International Council on Kinetography Laban,
    has regular meetings to deal with new developments and also to attempt
    to re-merge the two forms.  (No success so far, but a great spectator
    sport!)  This is all OTTOMH and probably none too accurate...  

	The Language of Dance Centre
	17 Holland Park
	London W11 3TD

	Dance Notation Bureau
	31-33 W. 21st St., 3rd floor
	New York, NY 10010


	Toni' Intravaia, Treasurer, USA
	201 Hewitt
	Carbondale, IL 62901

	Ann Kipling Brown, Chairman
	705 Galbraith House
	Mitchener Park
	Edmonton, Alberta
	Canada T6H 4M5

**Benesh Movement Notation**
	The Institute of Choreology
	4 Margravine Gardens
	Barons Court
	London W6 8RH

**Eshkol-Wachmann System**
	The Movement Notation Society
	75 Arlozorov Street
	Holon, Israel

     For more information, and some interesting reading, try to find:  

     	Guest, Ann Hutchinson (1984).  _Dance Notation: The Process of
    	Recording Movement on Paper_.  Dance Books: London. 	ISBN 0 903102 75

     This gives historical background, plus an overview of notation
    systems, and discusses what works (and what doesn't) with the various
    systems covered.  


    is not really a notation; it is a program for designing choregraphy  

     From: Message-Id: <199608230407.OAA26350@linus.socs.uts.EDU.AU> Re:
    labanotation Content-Type: text Apparently-To: <>

**Laban software**

     I have got an X-Window laban editor working quite nicely and its
    available as freeware from  
    and an example of its use is in  
    [Don Herbison-Evans don@socs.uts.EDU.AU ]  

**Studio software**

     Mark J. Zetler writes:  

     My wife (& I) have a dance studio in San Diego. I've been using
    COMPUDANCE by a company in Texas called Theatrical Administration
    Consultants (210) 497-4327 for about 7 years. It seems to do the job,
    and the author seems to be responsive to the people who use the
    program. There are some quirky things that that are annoying but all in
    all the program works. I think the price is around $300 (????).  

     I have only run into 3 other programs. The first one was about $100
    and didn't do anything. I don't think the company exists any more.  

     The High Priced Spread is called DANCE MANAGER. Last I heard (I could
    be wrong) the price was about $1,200. The demo of the program implied
    this program could do everything. I just could not justify the cost.  

     The last program I've run into is called IN MOTION: THE STUDIO MANAGER
    from Full Spectrum in Anaheim Hills, CA. (714) 921-8743. ($200ish) The
    program looked promising but seemed to run everything from the
    accounting end not the student. I'll try to explain, at our studio most
    question/problems are easier to resolve by first looking up the
    student, seeing what classes they are registered in, look at the
    billing, then look at the payments. With the IN MOTION:you have to go
    to different places to find all that info. In COMPUDANCE you can do all
    that from one starting place (presentation ain't as pretty as the other
    programs but I still got the info and that is what counts).  

     Compudance will have a Windows version in summer '96.  

     There is also an advertisement in Dance Magazine for DanceWorks; runs
    under Windows; $395; phone (800) 286-3471 for free demo.  

     For a contrasting view, (Tango TAG) writes:  

     I use WordPerfect Suit, it is great. but you could use any Suite
    program all you have to do is set it up for your business. To many
    people spend to much money, on custom programs. Buy a suite program and
    you got it all.  

How can I keep up with what's happening? (4.7)

    Subscribe to a dance publication. You can find several lists of
    publications in  

     More specifically for ballroom dancing:  

When and where does Championship Ballroom Dancing air? (4.8)

    Short answer: on PBS, probably a Wednesday in May. Check your local

     "Championship Ballroom Dancing" is the only regularly scheduled
    national broadcast of ballroom dancing in the U.S. It's an annual
    televising of the Ohio Star Ball, a ballroom competition held each
    November in Columbus, Ohio. Think of it as the unofficial North
    American championship. The show consists of the professional int'l
    style standard and Latin finals (see below for an explanation of
    international style versus American), and typically also includes
    cabaret events, and sometimes competitor interviews and/or American
    style demos. Lately, it's been hosted by dancer/actress Juliet Prowse
    and seven time U.S. int'l Latin champ Ron Montez.  

     The show is broadcast on the Public Broadcast Service (PBS) during the
    May "sweeps" period and apparently enjoys excellent ratings. Contrary
    to a persistent rumor, "CBD" is not generally broadcast during "pledge"
    periods. This information comes directly from Aida Moreno, producer of
    "CBD," who posted it in February of 1994 and confirmed it privately to
    Eileen Bauer a year later.  

     However, because PBS stations have a lot more freedom to set their
    schedules than do their commercial counterparts, some markets may show
    "CBD" during pledge periods. It's not common, but it probably happens.
    In any case, although many markets show it on the default broadcast
    date -- typically the first or second Wednesday of the month -- not all
    do. So you'll want to contact your local PBS station to find out the
    date and time of broadcast in your viewing area.  

     For overseas folks: PBS is a broadcast television network in the U.S.,
    supported by public funds (read: taxes) and contributions from viewers.
    "Sweeps" months -- November, February and May -- are months when tv
    advertisers look very closely at tv "ratings" (viewership
    measurements), so all the networks, broadcast and cable -- including
    PBS, oddly enough -- put on their best stuff; the number of shows with
    sex and violence skyrockets (8-). "Pledge periods" are when PBS
    stations interrupt programs to beg their viewers for donations; PBS
    gets something like a third of its funding this way. [Henry Neeman ]  

     Juliet Prowse, who for years presented Championship Ballroom Dancing,
    died on September 15, 1996.  

     Juliet Prowse was only 59. Was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two
    years ago and the chemotherapy ruined her kidneys.  She died at home in
    California.  I filed a newsspot for NPR for tonight's five o'clock
    newscast so some of you may have heard that.  She was trained as a
    ballerina, but became a big movie star with her debut in Can Can
    opposite Frank Sinatra. Hermes Pan discovered her in South Africa,
    where she was a dancer in the Johannesburg  ballet.  She had the most
    gorgeous legs I've ever seen and her smile was unforgettable.   She was
    romantically linked with Sinatra and later with Elvis Presley, with
    whom she starred in GI Blues.  She never stopped working, continuing to
    adjust to the times, becoming a commentator for Ballroom competitions. 
    Juliet Prowse  was gracious and kind and very much loved in show
    business.  She leaves a son, her mother and a longtime companion. [ ]  

Is dancing good for my health? (4.9)

    First the DISCLAIMER: don't take the following for gospel. If you have
    medical questions, go talk to a physician.  


     While dancing, you use your knees and ankles a lot more than in daily
    life. Overuse can be a real problem. Take it easy, do stretches, ice
    your joints if they give you problems.  

**Losing weight**

     Reports on this are contradictory. It is definitely true that dancing
    is an athletic activity. On the other hand, it is very much stop and
    go, so you may not reach the level of constant exertion needed for
    weight loss.  


     Apart from simple overuse injuries, there are the injuries that one
    dance partner sustains because of the other.  

     Ladies, consider the potential harm that rings, long nails, and other
    seemingly innocent accesories can inflict.  

     Gentlemen, jerky movements can hurt your follower.  

     Then there is the subject of aerials, lifts and drops. The concensus
    seems to be pretty much that you shouldn't do those socially. If you
    have plenty of space on the floor and there is no risk to other
    dancers, then you only do them if you and your partner have rehearsed
    them, or if you have agreed in advance to do such potentially dangerous
    moves. Never spring such moves on unsuspecting partners. Do you really
    want to risk dropping a woman and find out only after the fact that she
    was pregnant or recovering from surgery?  

     Here is some more about such injuries:  

     Sometime during my teaching semester at the University of Utah,
    information is presented to the dance students in my class addressing
    lifts and drops, and more importantly in social settings:  

     Having accomplished over 100 hours of research on skull fractures,
    especially avoidable ones, the bottom line is this:  It only takes 33
    ft pounds of energy to fracture a skull, or approximately 398 inch
    pounds of energy (1).  Skull fractures, many times go untreated and
    also many times result in a fatality several days later.  Sometimes,
    however the death is instant.   You determine how much energy to expect
    from a fall:  

     Take your own height in inches.  Multiply your height by the distance
    in inches it would take to fall to the ground. If you are lifted off of
    the ground, multiply the height of this lift by your weight when you
    impact the non-yielding floor and you will find you have more than
    ample energy to fracture your skull.  As a medium sized individual,
    that figure for me is 13,000 inch pounds just falling to the ground and
    striking my head - let alone being lifted off of the ground by someone
    who is probably NOT formally trained in this precise art, but who also
    is probably not aware that ACROBATICS of this nature are usually taught
    by performing arts professionals with spotters and mats. (The same as
    with any other gymnastic type move).  

     The powerfully sad part to this situation is that deaths by dancing
    ARE not only unacceptable but preventable. My exact words to my
    students are : Dancing is a sport, an art form, energetic and enjoyable
    - it is not supposed to be risky, nor dangerous.  Lifts and drops
    should be left to the professionals in cabaret settings, competitions
    etc., where the risk to the participants are known to them, and there
    is NO risk to other dancers on the same floor.  The Appels, the Savoys
    are marvelous to watch because they have perfected this wonderful art
    form of lifts and drops.  They are the professionals !  

     When club owners refuse to enforce a no lifts/drops policy, we need to
    express our dissatisfaction with this and leave.  More nightclub owners
    need to own up to their responsibility in not allowing lifts and drops
    on their social dance  floors.  Unfortunately, those that do not comply
    will find more and  more litigatious survivors out there that will
    force them to do just that or be looking for a real job when the
    lawsuit hits. . In all gymnastic events I've seen, the gymnasts are
    surrounded by mats to protect them from non-yielding surfaces and skull
    fractures. 	**** There is logic here.****  

     Leave the lifts and drops for cabaret, performances, etc and
    instructors should adamately discourage their students from trying to
    accomplish that which can be so deadly.  My condolences to the families
    of those victims of such senseless ego building.  

(1) OSHA study  March 1978.  Dept of Industrial
and Operations Engineering.  College of Engineering
The University of Michigan,  Ann Arbor. "An erconomic
basis for recommendations pertaining to specific
sections of OSHA standard, 29 CFR Part 1910
Subpart D - - Walking and working surfaces.

American Journal of Surgery, November 1949
E.S. Gurdjian, M.D., John E. Webster M.D. and
Herbert R. Lissner M.S.   Detroit Michigan

Herbert R. Lissner, M.S. and F. Gaynor Evans, PhD.

Pediatrics  Vol 64 No.6  December 1979
pg 961-963

The Journal of Trauma  Vol 29  No 9   1989
John R. Hall, M.D., Hernan M. Reyes, M.D.,
Maria Horvat, B.S., Janet L. Meller, M.D.
and Robert Stein, M.D.

     After researching the fragile nature of our skelatal features, I've
    become more safety minded and wish more of our students would 
    understand the necessity of using good sense in dancing. [Pam Genovesi,
    Utah Dance Challenge	 ]  

What can be done about perspiration? (4.10)

    First of all, sweat is to some extent inevitable, but you really must
    start by coming to a dance clean. Shower, and brush your teeth while
    you're at it.  

     Secondly, you can influence how much your perspiration becomes
    noticable. Silk shirts are especially unpleasant to the touch when they
    are soaked. Some people wear two shirts (eg, the lower a V-neck
    T-shirt) so that the perspiration will limit itself to the one shirt
    your partner will not be in contact with. Sometimes bringing an extra
    shirt, and changing into it at some time during the evening, is a good
    idea too. (VE)  

     Thirdly, use a deodorant and antiperspirant. It's easy to do, it
    works, and it is quite harmless. Since some people might be worried
    about that last point, here is a short excerpt from "The Secret House"
    by David Bodanis, 1986, Simon & Schuster, NY; ISBN No.0-671-60032-X:  

     "Antiperspirants do not work by jamming little particles into the
    openings of sweat holes in the armpits. That might work if sweat shot
    out miniature geysers, but on the micro-level of the skin,
    geysers, hoses and all the other usual ways we think of water emerging
    from a pore do not exist. There's no way the incipient sweat water
    could build up a high enough pressure in its subsurface tubes to
    flow... Rather, sweat emerges because it's tugged out. It has a
    negative electric charge... and as the surface of the sweat pores has a
    positive charge when excited the result is that the sweat ooze is
    pulled out. It's like yanking a sausage from a tight tunnel. Enter the
    aluminium. Aluminum flecks are negatively charged. That means the extra
    furry cloud of electrons they carry around with them counterbalances
    the normal positive charge on the skin surface. There's no pull... on
    the sausage any more. The Al is even likely to have some left over to
    poke down the sweat pore tunnel and electrically repel the negatively
    charged water waiting deeper inside. The sweat caught inside dissolves
    back into the body crumbling through cracks in the sweat tubes like
    water from a leaky hose."  

     Note that the aluminum salts (unlike common alum, which is an
    astringent) do not close off pores, and nothing messes with your body
    chemistry either.  

     [ ]  

      More on the topic of smell. Body odor, dirty clothes, overwhelming
    perfume, bad breath are all the wonderful smells we may encounter on
    the dance floor. You may not notice how you smell to another person,
    therefore, it is polite to stop and think about it before you leave
    home for an evening of dancing.  

     So, how do we smell odors? Odors, or chemical molecules, interact with
    receptors on nerve cells located in the olfactory epithelium in your
    nose. These receptors then cause a nerve to be activated - thus sending
    a message to your brain. When you are constantly exposed to the odor,
    this pathway desensitizes and you are no longer aware of the smell. For
    example, the water may seem scalding hot when you first step into the
    shower, but by the end of your shower, it doesn't seem so hot. That's
    due to desensitization. For the biologically-oriented in the group - an
    odor is perceived when the molecule binds to a G-protein coupled
    receptor, thus activating adanylate cyclase and causing an increase in
    cAMP. The cAMP causes the activation of Na+ channels, thus depolarizing
    the neuron - causing it to fire - sending the message on a pathway to
    the brain.  

     From person to person, there may be as much as a 1000 fold difference
    in their ability to perceive a particular odor and still be considered
    "normal." So, just becuase you don't smell the intense garlic on your
    breath, your dance partner might. This is either because they are more
    sensitive to the smell, or because they have not become desensitized
    like you have. Also, some people lack the ability to smell a particular
    odor all together. This is not uncommon. Additionally, as we age our
    sense of smell diminishes. Therefore, not everyone smells the same
    things you do.  

     In conclusion, stop to think about how you smell on the dance floor.
    Take that shower, wear deodrant and fresh clothes. Brush those teeth
    and don't take a perfume bath. Be polite to your dance buddies!  

     [Kathie Sindt ]  

     A few more thoughts:  
    anti-perspirants also work in other areas than under the arms.  
    --  Contemplate on alternative uses for the hot air dryers in the rest
    --  Improving your technique and smoothness will permit you to dance
    without sweating as much.  
--  Sweat will do awful things to your clothes. If you don't do laundry
every day, rinse your shirt in plain water after you've danced.  

    This file is part of the FAQ list about Rec.Arts.Dance, copyright 1995
    Victor Eijkhout . 
  Individual portions may be copyright of their contributors. You may
  make copies for private use in any form, but reproduction in any means,
  including book or CDROM, is not allowed without permission from the
  copyright holder. 
405 Hilgard Ave ................................. `[W]e don't usually like to
Department of Mathematics, UCLA ............. talk about market share because
Los Angeles CA 90024 .................... we're not going to share anything.'
phone: +1 310 825 2173 / 9036 .................. [Jim Cantalupo, president of                          McDonald's Int.]

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