The History of Jazz Dance

I started Jazz dancing at the age of six and it soon became my favorite style of dance!  Jazz has roots dating back to the 1800s.  The first official American “jazz dancer” was Joe Frisco who danced around the year 1910.  Jazz moves were created by slaves who often danced and sang as a source of entertainment.  Slave traders allowed them to dance during their journey over to America, as an attempt to keep them physically fit.  Not only did it work, but it formed an impressive series of dance techniques and steps that made history.  The original steps came out of Africa while Jazz dance itself came about as a crossbreed of American culture.  Jazz music obviously inspired some of the first documented jazz dance choreography.  Europe lent elegance to the technique; Africa gave it its movement and rhythm; and America allowed it to have the exposure and growing popularity that has sustained it as a cherished dance style today.  After being passed down through plantation ancestors and early restaurants and night clubs, jazz dance began to be taught in studios.

By the early 1900s, people began doing such dances as the cakewalk, Charleston, jitterbug, swing and the Lindy Hop, all of which were forms of jazz dancing.  Jazz also began to appear more in Broadway shows and musical comedies.  Modern jazz was developed by choreography greats such as Bob Fosse, whose work is emulated in the ultimate of jazz dance shows, Chicago and Cabaret.  To properly execute jazz dance steps, many teachers still believe in teaching a firm classical ballet foundation so that bodies can develop with strength and agility.  Jazz dance is able to be traditionally peppy and bright, but can also take on a flowy and soulful feel.  There are no limits to its creativity, and this has continued to rank it as one of the most popular forms of dance available in studios today.  Over the last year, I decided to focus on classical ballet, but my dance school also teaches jazz.  I take one jazz class per week and I still love it more than ever!

References:
History of Jazz Dance
About Jazz Dance History

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This is me last year in costume for a jazz dance to the song, Knock on Wood.  It was a fast paced disco song, but the dance style was jazz.

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And this is me last year in costume (postal worker) for our jazz dance to Return to Sender by Elvis Presley.  This dance was slower, but still a jazz dance.

Great Week for Women in Sports

Since last Sunday, it’s been a great week for women in sports. There were a lot of firsts…….

U.S. WOMEN’S SOCCER TEAM CELEBRATE

Last Sunday, the U.S. women’s soccer team won the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.  FIFA stands for Fédération Internationale de Football Association. It was the first time since 1999 that the U.S. team won. I followed the tournament with my dad. Actually, he watched more than I did, but I watched the final and a few games in the early and knock-out rounds. The knock-out rounds began when there were 16 teams left.  Sweet 16 in basketball terms. At the beginning of some of the early tournament games, I noticed some announcers and players from other countries talked about the American’s weaknesses and simple game plans. By the final game, all that talk about weakness and simple game plans went away.  Our team only let two teams score, Australia and Japan. We had really great play from Carli Lloyd and Hope Solo. Both of them won awards. Carli was named MVP and got the Gold Ball. She also won the Silver Boot for her scoring. She is the first woman player to score three goals in a final. Hope got the Golden Gloves Award for being the top goalie in the tournament. There were so many other players that made our team so dominate.  Jill Ellis was the head coach and it was her first world cup as a matter of fact, she’s the first female head coach to lead a U.S. team to win it all!

SERENA SLAM

Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP Photo

Serena Williams won Wimbledon on July 11, 2015 and completed a “Serena Slam”. It means that she has won all four of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments in a row. The Grand Slam tournaments are the Austrialian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and U.S. Open. If she wins the U.S. open next month, she will have won all of the Grand Slam tennis tournamnsts in a calendar year. Only three other female tennis players have done that. If Serena wins the U.S. Open, she will tie Steffi Graf for the most single grand slam career titles (22) in the modern era. She is already the oldest woman at 33 to win a grand slam tournament.

EQUAL PAY TO PLAY

Tennis is Equal
Years ago Billie Jean King, Chris Everett, Martina Navratilova, and others pushed for equal tournament pay for women and men. Wimbledon was the last Grand Slam tournament to start paying women and men winning players equal. Serena earned 1.88 million pounds and the 2015 men’s winner will earn the same.

Soccer Has A Long Way To Go
FIFA, the world soccer governing body paid the 2015 Women’s World Cup participating teams a total of $15 million. The winning team got $2 million. FIFA paid the 2014 Men’s World Cup participating teams $576 million. The winning team got $35 million. The US Men’s team got $9 million and they didn’t even make the finals. That’s crazy!  We need some Billie Jean King’s, Chris Everett’s and Martina’s to push FIFA toward equal pay. There’s an investigation into FIFA for corruption. Maybe they need to investigate the low women’s pay too!

Congratulations to the Principal!!!

Today has been a great day in the world of dance. Misty Copeland has been named principal dancer for the American Ballet Theater.

I was able to meet Misty at my dance studio last year. She is so cool! I remember her telling us about all of the hard work and challenges of being a soloist. When she came to our studio, she was the third African-American soloist in the history of the American Ballet Theater. She also talked about her goal of being a principal dancer.  And now, she is the first African-American principal dancer in the 75 year history of the American Ballet Theater!  You can read about our meeting here. I also wrote about my dream to be like Misty one day here. Is it obvious I like her? Well I do. She’s one of my biggest inspirations. Ballet is the constant pursuit of perfection and Misty inspires me to strive to get better everyday….

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Here is one of the famous commercials she has done….

And yes, I still have her autographed books…Life in Motion Signautres

This Ain’t My Grandma’s Popcorn or Granola for that Matter

Today I’m going to continue blogging about the healthy snacks I recently bought…….

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Popcorn
According to the Encyclopedia Popcornica, people have been eating popcorn for more than 4,000 years. That’s a long time. Since then, people have eaten popcorn and used it for decorations. The Aztecs used popcorn as decoration for ceremonial headdresses, necklaces and ornaments on statues of their gods. In the United States families use popcorn to decorate Christmas trees.  Each year Americans consume 16 billion quarts of popped popcorn. So is it healthy? That depends on what kind you eat. There are so many varieties to choose from: air popped, kettle, stove top, bagged, boxed and of course microwave. I’m sure I might be missing a variety or two.

Skinny Pop Bagged Popcorn
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Skinny Pop is low fat, gluten free, non GMO, nothing artificial, and has less than 50 calories per cup.  There are four flavors: original, black pepper, naturally sweet, and white cheddar. I really like the white cheddar.

Skinny Girl Microwave Popcorn
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Skinny Girl Popcorn was created by Bethany Frankel (she’s on one of those real housewives shows) in a partnership with Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn company. There are two microwave flavors: Butter & Sea Salt and Lime & Sea Salt. It’s amazing that the microwave popcorn has less total fat (6 grams in 6 cups) than the bagged popcorn (18 grams of total fat in 7 cups). But the amount of sodium in the microwave popcorn is 400 mg compared to 180 mg in the bagged popcorn. I’ve only tasted the Butter & Sea Salt flavor.  I don’t like the Skinny Girl as much as the Skinny Pop.  

Veggie Snacks
I also bought Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Straws and Chips. Both varieties of Garden Veggies contain 30% less fat than most potato chips. I love, love, love the veggie straws. I’m not really a big potato chip person like my brother is. I gave him some veggie chips to try and he thought they were ok. I left the room, and when I got back I discovered he had eaten half the bag! Like I said, he’ll eat any kind of chip and like them.

Granola
Granola is generally composed of whole grains such as rolled oats and puffed rice, nuts, and honey. It was invented in the early 20th century. According to Statista, granola bar brand sales in the United States top more than 1 billion dollars. That’s alot of bars!

KIND Granola Bars
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KIND snacks website message is “There’s healthy. There’s tasty. Then there’s healthy and tasty. At KIND®, we believe you deserve both—we call it our brAND philosophy.” So I gave the vanilla blueberry bars a try. They were really, really good. On top of that, they are gluten free, non GMO, and only contain ingredients you can pronounce. I explored their site and found more than 20 varieties of bars. Kellogg’s and Quaker both have bars. Either are great for a grab and go snack. But I’ll be honest, I prefer the KIND bars. I’m going to try more flavors.

Cracker Jack’D Snack Mix
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The other day, my grandma asked what was I eating. I told her it was a new Cracker Jack’D snack mix. She asked “where’s the box, where’s the prize?” I was confused. Then she told me that back in her day, the only Cracker Jack’s they had were caramel covered popcorn with peanuts and it came in a box with a prize.  I told her they still sell that, but now they also have healthy snacks. I prefer the double chocolate flavored Cracker Jack’D. It has 7 grams of protein per serving, which helps with energy before a long dance class. Well, these are all my snacks so far. Since I’m always ready to try new ones, send me a comment about your favorite healthy snack. I’d like to try it.

Sew I Keep Sewing

Today I am sewing the ribbon on my pointe shoes. I didn’t realize how long it would take! My grandmother offered to sew the ribbons but I said I have to learn how to do it myself.   I did some more research about pointe shoes and learned a few more things….. Some dancers go through new pointe shoes almost every time they dance! Of course this happens when dancers are performing or dancing for hours.  Some dance companies spend thousands of dollars buying pointe shoes and the really big companies have staff that custom sew pointe shoes for their dancers. Pointe shoes are very delicate and made of silk and other materials. According to the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, the tip of a pointe shoe is a rigid box made of densely packed layers of fabric, cardboard and/or paper hardened by glue.  Just think, all my weight on just that? That’s why my teacher had me buy cushions and lambs wool to protect my toes!

As I said before pointe shoes have to fit as tightly as possible, while still being comfortable.  According to Pointeperfect.com, “pointe fitting is serious business” and I believe it! I urge you to go explore the site created by Lindsay. It has a lot of useful information.  I got the graphic below from her site.

Believe it or not, pointe shoe fit can have a true impact on the future of a pointe student. Are you in your best shoe?

As I stated earlier, I spent time sewing on the ribbon.

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It took longer than expected, but I did it! I also used a thimble. It made pushing the needle thru the shoe easier.
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I have to take them to class on Monday so my teacher can help with the final step, cutting the ribbon and lacing them up. But in the meantime, I slipped them on, like when you try on your new clothes before you wear them out …….

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