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Doctor in Psychology Shatters The Male Dancer Stigma

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A while ago, we interviewed Dr. Peter Lovatt. He is a Dance Psychologist and set up the Dance Psychology Lab at the University of Hertfordshire and is currently a lecturer on Performance (Dance) Psychology at the Royal Ballet School. 

Why should you be interested in what he has to say? Because he is making us understand more about the taboo subjects of this industry such as self-esteem and the stigma that society sheds upon male dancers. 

This article is based on my podcast interview with Dr. Peter Lovatt. If you want to listen to the whole interview you can follow this link

Sexuality & Dancing

Ballroom (standard) dancing is known for being elegant and glamorous, whilst Latin dancing is a pure representation of sensuality and flirtatious attitude. This, in addition to the technique used in these types of dances, especially the hip action in Latin, made some people consider that if you are a dancer you must have a certain sexual orientation.

«People have this weird, ridiculous notion that the way we move our bodies is linked to our sexuality.»
Dr. Peter Lovatt
Dance Psychologist

Today, as the LGBTQ community is fighting for their rights, people are being more educated in this sense. Consequently, the bullying of male dancers has decreased compared with let’s say the 70s. 

Dr. Peter Lovatt shared with us that he received a lot of insults, especially in the 70s for being a dancer. People made assumptions that because he was engaged in dance, therefore he must’ve had a certain sexuality and people use that as a way of insulting him.

The sad thing is that, even if the situation is improving, this sort of bullying still exists: both if you are part of the LGBTQ community or/and if you are a dancer.

“The Manly Men”

Besides the sexual orientation preconception that people tend to have towards dancers, there is also the unfounded idea that dancers are not manly enough, compared with other men that do rugby or football. 

Dr. Peter Lovatt shared with us a quite sad encounter (in my opinion) with a rugby coach in Manchester. He was trying to help the players, by using dancing as a tool, to become more agile, flexible, faster runners, and have more spatial awareness. The comment that Dr. Peter Lovatt received from the coach was that he expected dancers to be “lesser men”.

This idea comes from the fact that people tend to believe dancing does not require much physical preparation or that dancers’ bodies do not need to be strong. Or all of us know that this is completely untrue.

Dancers go through many physical preparations: workouts, stretching, building certain types of muscle, stamina practice and the list goes on.

Dr. Peter Lovatt remembers when he worked on Strictly Come Dancing, dancers and the sportsmen who were part of the show would compare their six-packs and do little competitions to see who can do more push-ups or sit-ups. 

People need to be aware of the fact that besides being an art form, dancing is also a sport. If you want to use your body to do certain movements, you have to also prepare physically. 

High Testosterone = Good Male Dancer

Especially in Western cultures, high testosterone is linked to hyper-masculinity. We have this image ingrained that sportsmen have a high level of testosterone, hence they’re powerful. And not only sportsmen, but also those men who are considered “alpha males” like Wall Street bankers. 

But Dr. Peter Lovatt presents us with some studies showing that high testosterone men are amazing dancers, very good at grooving freestyle. So it seems that being a good dancer is also related to having high testosterone. 

So this preconception on dancers not being masculine (not having enough testosterone) is completely false. On the contrary!

Socio-Cultural Misconceptions

Now, we can point out one very obvious socio-cultural aspect that can influence people into thinking that dancing is only for girls.

Dance shops!

Have you noticed when walking past a dance shop you only see little pink tutus and leotards meant for little girls and teenagers? You never see something for boys! This obviously reinforces this unhealthy idea that dancing is not meant for boys as well. 

«Dancing is fun, man. Goodness me! We are literally born to dance. Both men and women are born to dance. When you watch little tiny children moving their body naturally, to rhythmic stimulus, boys and girls do it equally. It’s not a female-gendered activity. It’s something we’re all born to do.»
Dr. Peter Lovatt
Dance Psychologist

If you are a male dancer (a boy, a teen, or even a grown-up) don’t let the mean remarks and stigma get to you, whether you are or aren’t part of the LGBTQ community. 

You keep on sharing your artistry through dancing!

The post Doctor in Psychology Shatters The Male Dancer Stigma appeared first on Dancesport Life.

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5 Lessons 2020 Taught Us

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As horrible as this year must have been, we should be thankful for it has taught us plenty of lessons. The year 2020 forced us to reevaluate our plans and dreams. 

2020 showed us who our real friends are and who is willing to give up on us when we need them the most. This year a lot of partnerships have ended, and others have formed. Some have quit dancing, while others have started new & exciting projects.

I summed up what I think are the most important things that 2020 showed to us. 

1. We Love Competitions

As a competitive dancer, preparing and going to competitions is your main activity and this year showed us that we might take them for granted.

This year I saw how much all dancers, from beginners to dance legends, suffered that they couldn’t attend competitions such as the Blackpool Dance Festival, German Open, and many other competitions that hold a special spot in each dancer’s heart.

This year we missed all the fuss and excitement that surrounds a big event. We missed people that we see maybe just once a year at that certain comp and we certainly missed being on and off the dance floor.

2. How Addicted To Dancing We Really Are

Ok, at first, it was quite nice. Everyone thought, “Oh, I can finally have a well-deserved break now”. 

But we soon realized that we could not live without dancing. We all started dancing around the house, we reorganized our living rooms in mini dance studios, and we used our walls as partners. 

Some of us who gave up dancing a while ago know how difficult it is to stop. But for those who were in full ascension, I imagine this forced pause felt even worse. 

Nevertheless, dancers are not easily broken down. Many of you practiced in your homes and used this time to learn new things about dancing. Some of you listened to interviews or perfected specific dancing skills such as elasticity. 

3. Online Education Is Important

Because we are on this topic, we realized how crucial online teaching resources really are during this pandemic.

Many dancers couldn’t see their teachers, and this is how online classes came into play. Either if you prefer pre-recorded courses as we offer on Dancesportlife Academy, or live classes, you cannot deny that this is what kept dancers growing during 2020. 

4. How Attached To Our Dance Family We Really Are

The connection between partners is something very difficult to put into words. It is that type of fondness that is hard to explain. In 2020 we didn’t only miss dancing. We also missed what goes hand in hand with dancesport – our partners. The connection between the two partners is one of the most beautiful aspects of dancesport.

Besides our partners, we missed our teachers. There is nothing like a good lesson with our favorite teacher. We missed that type of lesson in which you get those “Aha!” moments when everything clicks. 

5. To Be More United

All in all, I think the most important lesson this year taught us that we need to be more united. 

Many dancers came together to create beautiful online projects this year. We’ve watched fascinating discussions between dancers that otherwise might have never seen together. 

I think we should always remember that the most important thing is never to lose our humanity & kindness. 

The post 5 Lessons 2020 Taught Us appeared first on Dancesport Life.

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11 Online Courses For Soft Skills In Ballroom & Latin

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Technique is crucial if you want to be a good dancer. But what do you need to do in order to achieve that higher level? Well, that’s when soft skills subjects like partnering, communication, musicality and style choice come into play.

I put together a list of 11 courses you can find at Dancesportlife Academy that will help you be a more sophisticated dancer. 

A tip from me: because Santa Claus thinks we’ve been good this year & respected all the rules, we have all our courses on SALE.

1. Partnering Skills in Rumba by Espen Salberg

In his lecture at Dance Amore Roma 2019, Espen Salberg is discussing the sensitivity of lead & follow. Dialog and communication between the two bodies are essential in order to create togetherness.

Espen showcases in his lecture, assisted by Oxana Lebedew and Laura Zmajkovicova, two ways in which you can improve your leading actions:

  1. By knowing the order in which you need to communicate with your partner.
  1. By knowing the amount of energy/physicality you need to put into your leading actions.

Length: 35 minutes

Here is the link to the course

2. Finding Your Dancing Self by Oxana Lebedw

Learning how to express yourself through dancing is one of the most beautiful and challenging aspects of dancesport. It’s something that allows a dancer to touch other’s hearts and souls. That is done by discovering and expressing your own uniqueness.

In this course, you will explore the freedom to show yourself as a performer. You will find out how to relate your own self to your dancing self by learning to be aware and open all your senses.

Length: 45 minutes

Here is the link to the course

3. Mastering Of A Partnership by Oxana Lebedew

In a course that feels like a discussion with a wise psychologist, Oxana shares her pieces of advice on how to develop your partnership into something out of the ordinary.

She touches on subjects like how to communicate with your partner and how to connect. She offers examples on how to divide the duties in a partnership and how to choose a style for you, as a couple.

Length: 25 minutes

Here is the link to the course

4. Samba by Slavik Kryklyvyy

In his lecture from the Gladiators Dance Congress 2019, Slavik is touching many important aspects that create and give samba the characteristic of a “body dance”.

He is pointing out that nowadays, many dancers and teachers forgot what are the core principles of this dance or what are its origins. Thus, the character of samba has been lost.

Length: 31 minutes

Here is the link to the course

5. Movement In Rumba by Slavik Kryklyvyy

In this lecture, Slavik is focusing on body movements in rumba, while tackling subjects like freedom and fluidity.

Being the talent that he is, his lecture is truly inspiring if you want to develop your thinking in a more artistic way.

Length: 30 minutes

Here is the link to the course

6. Creating Your Own Dance Story by Klemen Prasnikar & Sasha Averkieva

Klemen Prasnikar & Sasha Averkieva, WDC World Latin Champions, take you into a self-expression journey by playing with one of the most fundamental principles of dancing: connection.

In the first chapter, they tackle the physical connection. Then they show you how to stay connected even if you are not touching your partner. Lastly, they show you how to play with these types of connections to create your own dance style, your own dance story.

Length: 1 hour 25 minutes

Here is the link to the course

7. Freedom Through Breathing by Paul Moldovan & Cristina Tatar

Paul Moldovan & Cristina Tatar are one of those dance couples that are simply meant for each other. They are currently semi-finalists in all the major events in WDSF Amateur Latin and former World Champions in WDSF Youth and Under 21.

The course is structured in three parts. In the first chapter, Paul & Cristina will show how deficient breathing can influence your mental state and affect your performance. In the second part, they explain how faulty breathing patterns can affect your body, especially your stamina. Lastly, Paul & Cristina shed light on how you can use breathing to play with your steps during your routine by creating a different dynamic.

The course is very unique and could be illuminating for many dancers out there, Latin or Ballroom!

Length: 34 minutes 

Here is the link to the course

8. Qualities Of A Long-Lasting Partnership by Paul Moldovan & Cristina Tatar 

Long-lasting partnerships are something we all strive for. They offer us a sense of security and reliability, which helps us truly focus 100% on the dancing.

But how to maintain a good partnership throughout the years?

Through their 18 years of experience together as a dance couple, Paul & Cristina realized what worked for them. Now, they are willing to share some of their key ingredients of such a beautiful relationship.

This course will leave you with the impression that you just discussed with your most responsible and thoughtful friends.

Tip: This course can be found as a BONUS if you decide to buy Paul & Cristina’s course – “Freedom Through Breathing”

Length: 11 minutes

Here is the link to the course

9. How To Make A Ballroom Dancing Hairstyle For Men by Madis Abel

This course is a step-by-step program designed for Ballroom and 10-dancers to give you all the tools needed to have a champion’s hairstyle.

You will find 20 lectures divided into 5 sections: Preparing your hair, Basic principles, Blow drying, Hair spraying, and Common mistakes. This isn’t fluffy theory stuff either. You’ll get real, ready-to-use tools that you can begin to implement immediately. 

Length: 2 hours

Here is the link to the course

10. The Details Make The Difference In Latin by Frederic Mosa

Frederic Mosa is one of the most sought after teachers and adjudicators in the WDSF Latin world, coaching top Latin couples.

In his lecture from Master Evolution Training Camp 2020, Frederic is showing you with the help of Andrea Silvestri & Marina Varadi the importance of details in our art.

Three of those details are: creating a signature move, musicality, and the connection between partners.

Length: 39 minutes

Here is the link to the course

11. How To Make The Interpretation Interesting, Using The Musical Structure by Pietro Braga

When you say musicality in Standard dances you automatically think of Pietro Braga – one of the best teachers to go to if you want to excel in this area.

In his lecture from Master Evolution Training Camp, Pietro teaches you how to interpret movement by understanding the musical structure.

Length: 28 minutes

Here is the link to the course

The post 11 Online Courses For Soft Skills In Ballroom & Latin appeared first on Dancesport Life.

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11 Best Online Courses On Ballroom & Latin Technique

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We’ve put together some of Dancesportlife Academy’s best courses and premium camp lectures for Ballroom & Latin technique. 

We also have massive Black Friday & Cyber Monday promotions at the moment, so if you decide to buy some of the courses, now is the time! 

1. Fundamentals Of Ballroom by Mirko & Edita Gozzoli

One of our best-selling courses is, by far, the greatest choice if you want to learn the core principles of Ballroom technique such as posture, hold, centres, footwork & body action. Furthermore, you get the chance to discover four novel choreographies and how to apply the theory to them.

Mirko & Edita Gozzoli barely need any introduction. They are one of the most renowned names in ballroom dancing. They have been both World Champions and European Champions.

Length: 4 hours 20 minutes

Link to the course

2. Fundamentals Of Quickstep by Hazel Newberry

Hazel Newberry MBE is one of the United Kingdom’s leading ballroom ladies and dance teachers. She was three times undefeated World Professional Ballroom champion. 

In her lecture at the Gladiators Dance Congress, she focused her attention on lead & follow by looking at body positioning and core principles such as contra body movement.

Length: 29 minutes

Link to the lecture

3. Paso Doble – Structure And Its 5 Elements by Alan Fletcher

When you say “Alan Fletcher” you automatically say “true legend of the Latin American dancing world”. One of the most sought after teachers, preparing couples to win the highest titles, reveals the five key aspects of Paso Doble.  

Learn from Alan some secrets on music, posture, shaping, framing, and resistance. Also, you will get a cameo from one of the most loved lady dancers. I’ll let you guess who that is!

Length: 26 minutes

Link to the lecture

4. Partnering Skills In Tango By Steve Powell

A true gentleman of the ballroom dancing world, Steve Powell is a multiple-time European Professional Ballroom finalist and a World Professional Ballroom Semi-finalist.

In his lecture from Gladiators Dance Congress, we can learn about partnering applied strictly in Tango, as it is quite different than the other Ballroom dances. Steve is looking mainly at how the body and foot positioning helps in mastering the partnering skills. 

Length: 31 minutes

Link to the lecture

5. Paso Shaping by Graham Oswick

Charming and charismatic, with a great competitive career behind him, Graham Oswick uses his knowledge to teach Ballroom and Latin American competitors valuable principles.

He showcases this charm and love for core principles of Latin-American dancing in his lecture from Gladiators Dance Congress. Graham explains how to create that distinct Paso shaping through mastering feet pressure and leg action.

Length: 29 minutes

Link to the lecture

6. Fundamentals Of Movement In Latin by Andrea Silvestri & Martina Varadi

Andrea Silvestri & Martina Varadi are one of the top WDSF Amateur Latin couples. They are finalists in all the major events such as Grand Slams and WDSF World & European Championships. 

For their Dancesportlife Academy course, they’ve put together five chapters of theory and choreography designed to help you learn the basic principles of bodyweight, movement, and connection. In the choreography part of the course, Andrea & Martina will show you four basic routines and four more advanced routines by applying all the principles discussed in the theoretical section.

Length: 2 hours 40 minutes

Link to the course

7. Use Of Different Timing In Cha-Cha-Cha By Goran Nordin

Goran is a former UK Closed Amateur Latin Champion, British National Professional Latin Champion, and a finalist in major competitions from the WDC world. 

He is known for his inclination towards choreography, timing, and musicality. And that is exactly what he discusses in his lecture from the Gladiators Dance Congress. Goran, with amazing enthusiasm, showcases how we can play with different timing in Cha-Cha-Cha.

Length: 28 minutes

Link to the lecture

8. Specific Positions That Give Character To Your Dance by Mirko Gozzoli

Mirko Gozzoli has a special place on this list as he appears not one time but three times! 

In this lecture from Gladiators Dance Congress, Mirko shows you how to dance a Tango that respects its character by creating different positions. 

Length: 32 minutes

Link to the lecture

9. Viennese Waltz And Its Technical Actions By Mirko Gozzoli

The third lecture held by Mirko is the one from Master Evolution Training Camp. 

As should expect from each of Mirko’s lecture, you will receive great details and discover hidden aspects of a dance. In this lecture, he teaches you the correct foot alignment & placement in Viennese Waltz and the amount of turn in the body position.

Length: 50 minutes

Link to the lecture

10. Bodyweight By Simona Fancello

Simona Fancello is a great ballroom instructor. Her career was filled with great results together with Fabio Selmi. She has been a finalist in all the major competitions, such as World & European Championships.

In this lecture, she focuses on the importance of bodyweight and how to use it in the fundamental basic steps of quickstep.

Length: 27 minutes

Link to the lecture

11. Slow Waltz And The 3 Important Actions: Swing, Sway, Shape By Irina Solomatina

Irina Solomatina is one of the most sought after teachers. Together with Alexander Melnikov, she was 12 times Russian Champions.

In her lecture from Master Evolution Training Camp, Irina explains thoroughly how the swing, sway, and shape in Slow Waltz are crucial for good leading in Slow Waltz

Length: 39 minutes

Link to the lecture

 

Next, we’ll make a list of courses and camp lectures that focus on softer skills such as musicality, artistry, or communication.

The post 11 Best Online Courses On Ballroom & Latin Technique appeared first on Dancesport Life.

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