When should the male dancer begin to lead his partner into her six-count or eight-count footwork once the swing music begins? The answer is that he should begin leading her on any of the song's downbeats; that is, on the "1" count, the "3" count, the "5" count or the "7" count. These "base beats" are the backbone or pulse of a song! You don't need to be a trained musician to understand a song's tempo (or timing), just listen to music and pick out the rhythm section (drums, bass, guitar or piano). To take the pulse of the song and determine its number of beats per minute (bpm), count these downbeats for fifteen seconds and then multiply by four. Very slow swing songs have around 70 bpm and very fast ones have upwards of 200 bpm. The swing songs that I personally enjoy dancing to the most, average about 125 bpm which coincidently approximates my optimum cardio-training heart rate when I exercise. Notice that these downbeats differ from the upbeats that occur on the "2" count, the "4" count, the "6" count or the "8" count.
The St. Louis Imperial Swing Dance Club periodically sponsors a teachers' seminar where they teach and certify new dance instructors for area clubs. Their mantra is: "Tell them what you're going to do; do it! Tell them what you just did; teach it! " The challenge is to teach instructor candidates how to describe a given "move" to students in a brief, understandable manner. Let's talk about the turn, for example, one of the fundamental building blocks of a dance pattern. Newly "minted" instructors have no problem demonstrating the basic turns but they perennially struggle to find the most concise way to describe to their class "what they just did" so that their students will be able to both name, and perform the different turns that will be using when they swing dance. Is a turn defined by its directionality (clockwise or counterclockwise); by its physical mechanics (underarm or overhead*1); or by its interactive relationship with the other dancer (inside or outside)? Some dancers consider turns as ambiguous because they may be accurately described in all three ways;
There are a total of eight swing dance clubs located in and around the St. Louis area (including M.U.S.I.C. in Collinsville, Illinois) that are members of the Midwest Swing Dance Federation, and all of these clubs are descended from the St. Louis Imperial Dance Club that was founded in 1973. The largest of these sister clubs, the West County Swing Dance Club, has the distinction of being one of the largest swing clubs in the United States with an active membership that totals more than a thousand dancers. Imperial Swing got its name from the Club Imperial located at Goodfellow Boulevard and West Florissant Avenue. The building, originally called Imperial Hall, was built in 1928 as a dance hall, bowling alley and restaurant/bar complex. In the 1930s and 1940s, it was the dance spot of Northwest St. Louis, just as Arcadia (later called Tune Town), the Admiral Showboat in Midtown, and the Casa Loma on the Southside, were the most popular dance halls in their respective areas. In 1952, George Edick Enterprises purchased Imperial Hall and George Edick renamed it the Club Imperial.
When you are performing in front of a casting director or an auditor, always take note of your character surroundings. Ask yourself a few important questions about the surroundings of the piece that you have selected. What time of the day is it? Where am I? Am I outdoors, inside, in a house? How big is the house? Am I in the kitchen, are there people sleeping? These will help your actor's memory create an image of your surroundings on stage. If you are doing funny monologues or serious monologues you will have a better understanding of how to play that particular piece. The reasons behind this are as follows. For one example no matter where you are required to perform your monologue you will be able to recall your particular "where". So if you are on stage without the necessary components to paint the picture of your scene, you will still be able to see it in your head. If the actor sees it, the audience sees it. This will insure that you deliver a performance that obeys the rules of the scene.
Imagine this scenario. You are a casting director sitting in your casting director's chair. Today you are casting the leading role of a major Broadway play and you need to see 150 agent submitted actors. You are tired, irritated, and your assistant did not bring you your $5 cup of java from Starbucks this morning. It is not a good situation. Fast forward to the first actor that comes in to give you their "epic performance". They slate their name and tell you their monologue and then they begin to perform. Then they keep performing. Now you are asleep. The actor is sure they have given you the best rendition of the piece to have ever been seen, but you hardly noticed. Why? Because long drawn out performances are not as effective as short monologues. In a normal casting situation, the actor would never even get to perform the entirety of the piece! They would be thanked and told to "keep in touch". The simple fact of the matter is that a casting director wants to see a short, interesting, and highly entertaining piece immediately.
I remember a friend's story about doing a Classical Stretch workout at home, with her 4 year old daughter. They were doing warm ups with gentle arm movements. Her dad came along and joined in for a second. "No Papa" she corrected sternly. "It's like water is falling off the ends of your fingers! " Being a soccer and karate jock, he moved on quickly... .. When I look at the many classical ballet studio websites, I love to browse the photo galleries or the videos they put up. All the aspiring professional ballet schools and more recreational or amateur dance studios show high energy, colorful performances and tons of enthusiasm. It is easy to see from their navigational bars that many have parent committees, and volunteer groups for every kind of support. Those ballet schools which do not contribute dancers to the pool of professional arenas definitely contribute volumes of inspiration and involvement in their communities. Such is the importance of dance and all the arts in our culture.
In the world of acting there are hacks and there are stars. Some people take the time to study and become great and famous... while others try and be popular and end up looking like jokes. You know exactly who I'm talking about. Could you ever compare Meryl Streep to Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan? No! You can't! Because one has studied and dedicated her life to an art, while the others just want the attention and fame. I'll tell you something else. Most famous actors would be acting regardless if they made money or not. If John Malkovich wasn't as successful as he is now in Hollywood, he would be acting in his local community theatre or doing minor roles in student films. Why? Because he loves acting. You have to have a passion for the art, and the art will carry you to where you need to be. There is not a famous painter out there that picked up a set of brushes and became a masterful Van Gogh or Rembrandt without painstakingly practicing for many years. Why should there be an actor that did the same thing?
The newly opened National Center for the Performance Arts, formerly named the Chinese National Grand Theatre, is the largest performing art center in the world. It is shaped like a massive, silvery dome in the heart of China's capital that offers Chinese and international art performances of the highest standards. It hosts opera, ballet, musicals, dance, dramas and traditional Chinese performances. Situated west of Tiananmen Square in Beijing, the National Center for Performance Art occupies an area of over 149, 500 square meters. There are three gigantic halls located inside: a 2, 416-seat opera house, a 2, 017-seat concert hall and a 1, 040-seat theater. Its goal is to become the center of Chinese performance art culture. The National Center for the Performing Arts took nearly five years to build at a cost of over 2.69million RMB. Designed by the famous French architect Paul Andreu, this imposing building is a fine example of modern architecture. It has been thought of as resembling an eggshell, a baozi (Chinese steamed bread), or even a giant bubble.
If you are a singer, you may have heard about things that can cause your vocal quality to deteriorate. Voice fatigue is a major problem for many professional singers. You might find your voice feeling dry or tired often. You may get sore throats on a regular basis. Vocal fatigue can be caused by several things, so it is important, if you plan to sing often, that you are very careful to take care of your voice properly. If you suffer from heartburn or acid reflux, you are at even more risk for reduced vocal quality. As a singer, you may be aware that your larynx is, after all, vital, and gastro-laryngeal and gastro-esophageal acid reflux can damage your esophagus, larynx and vocal chords over time. Not to mention the other health problems that constant reflux can create. Chronic acid reflux disease can cause you to have halitosis (incurable bad breath), a bitter taste in your mouth, a sore throat or a dry mouth. You might also feel like you have a lump in your throat, excessive amounts of phlegm and feeling like you need to clear your throat on a constant basis.
The one thing that we all do daily is breathe. It's a necessary part of our existence and we all do it the same way. Or do we? Those of us in the performance arts have learned that proper breathing is essential to giving a great performance. Read on to learn how proper breathing technique can improve your performance. When it comes down to it, breathing control directly affects vocal control. To have full range of all the nuances your voice, you must have full use of your lungs. Like a painter uses different brushes and strokes for effect in creating his art, you need to develop that same type of control with your breathing. In order for you to create your masterpiece of vocal sound, you need to develop your breathing technique. One of the ways you can improve your performance breathing is to learn to do it properly. This involves actively using your diaphragm muscles in your abdomen. Some people call this "middle breathing" as your stomach will move in and out as opposed to using your chest or shoulders (considered chest breathing or shallow breathing).