Dance to be fit, dance for fun. Dance at home, dance to celebrate, dance to express yourself, or to entertain.

Traditional dances exist in every cultural group around the world. Primitive societies danced with animalistic spiritual fervor. Cultural history passed from generation to generation, expressed and remembered in dance. Israelite King David danced before the Lord, with all his might to worship be thankful, and also for the sheer, joy of it.

Societal taboos are laid aside during times of celebration, as a people, town, city or nation dance and party. Staunchly Catholic South America puts on the biggest, raunchiest, fancifully costumed and exotically choreographed performances around the feast celebrating the end of Lent -“ from abstinence to Fat Tuesday -“ what a party.

The effort qualities of a dance performance leave us open-mouthed or in awe: high energy performance moving through many levels and directional planes contrast with the gentle, softness of dances from Asia. Modern dance draws inspiration from every possible source: culture, festivity, costume, choreography, performance space, traditional dances in contemporary settings. Tap Dogs’ raw industrial performance is no less spectacular than contemporary ballet, or dance crazes that regularly sweep the globe.

The high entertainment value of dance exposes the general population to cultures many didn’t know exist. Rapping and popping from the alleys of Harlem, where angles fear to tread, are backdrops to major music videos, components of dance competition and taught in dance schools the world over.

Gay boys have led the community in making dance socially acceptable in clubs and pubs. It was always ok to dance if you were a girl; but real men drink beer and mutter Neanderthal nothings by the bar. As a sub-group of the community, it is time for us to again lead the way; our dance, the expression or who we are and how we celebrate can put the joy of who we are on our faces and back on the streets.

It is time for men to dance with men, and women with women. Our community has to bend the rules a little, as leading and following, and roles within social dance are adapted in the way only we know how.

You can learn or refine ballroom skills with DanceDance or JJsDance, or Step out with Same Sex Salsa.

info: Slide out of your comfort zone, and kick up your heels:www.teamsydney.org.au/sports.htm

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