There is nothing more fun in dance to learn a new style of dance and watch it develop as you learn. Lyrical dance is a relatively new and vibrant form of dance that arose out of expressive forms of dance such as ballet and combined it with the excitement and fluidity of jazz. Its technique and choreography focuses on expression of the emotional content of lyrics in the form of dance.
Origin of Latin Lyrical Dance
One of the earliest developers of the form was Suzi Taylor at Steps of Broadway in New York City who is considered an early developer of the lyrical style 20 years ago. She developed the style in terms of largely Jazz which naturally lent itself into the realm of Latin music genres as Latin music grows worldwide in popularity. The rich emotional content of Latin music has inspired recent developments in dance with the approaches of such as Tracie Stanfield and Mia Michaels have come to develop the style in ways that are sparking the imagination of a new generation of dancers.
Latin Lyrical Dancing Today
The Latin lyrical style has come into recent prominence with performers who have brought to light the feelings of suave, bravado and delicateness to the dance floor in the way a painting by Picasso or Goya might. Latin lyrical style can be seen in places such as the Dances of the World show 2011 and the Australian Ball (take a look at these great performances on YouTube!). In these dances the watcher gets the treat of seeing Latin music and dance brought into a crescendo of feeling and affect. The lyrical dance shows every well-developed movement with strength of meaning. The unique rhythms of Latin music as well add to the power of the dancer gestures from the stage.
Lyrical Dance, Latin Techniques
There are several common dance techniques that have been incorporated into Latin lyrical style including pirouettes, cabriolets, grand jete, chaine turns and dramatic pauses. All of these are useful in matching dance movements with the expressiveness of the music by melding body language and emotional zest into beautiful art.
Throughout all of the Latin lyrical style body language is the key and Steps of Gold instructors have the expertise to help you develop into a more feeling and emotive dancer in the expression of Latin music. Los Angeles is a center for Latin music worldwide and what better place to learn and build on the expression of this entertaining style.
Latin Lyrical Dance Wear
Latin lyrical dances have been part of our culture for hundreds of years. The most common Latin lyrical dances are the Samba, the Salsa, the Cha-Cha, the Mambo, the Rumba and the Tango. All of these dances have some things in common, the most obvious being their characteristic syncopated rhythms, their sensual, flirty body moves and their colorful costumes.
Ladies Lyrical Dance Wear
The most noticeable feature of ladies’ Latin dancewear is color. Many of the ladies’ costumes have at least four different bright colors presented by layers of ruffles of alternating colors. Ruffled skirts with a side slit are a popular item especially when paired with ruffled sleeve blouses or cropped tops. The ruffles are strategically placed around the hips and derriere to enhance the sensual dance moves. Ribbon trimmed ruffles will often be seen in the more traditional Latin dance costumes.
Flirty, sexy dresses in a single bright color, such as red, sapphire blue, emerald green or hot pink are also worn for Latin dances. The fabrics used for these dresses are usually lightweight knits that can handle all the movements of the dance. Short shorts with matching skirts, halter tops, mini-length, calf, ankle, or full length dresses or skirts can all be part of the female Latin costume.
Additionally, one shouldered or crisscross backs, dresses with uneven hemlines (zigzag or tapered–short on one side, long on the other) are seen in today’s modern ladies’ Latin dancewear. Accessories include high-heeled shoes with a strap (presumably to keep them from flying off), long gloves which leave the hands or fingers exposed, ruffled arm garters and hats that match the outfits. Some of the more traditional dancers wear hats with fruits of the country from which the dance originated.
Men’s Lyrical Dance Wear
Men’s Latin dance wear is designed to be sensual and complement his partner’s costume. The basic outfit for men performing Latin dances is tight fitting, high waist black pants and a black long sleeved shirt which is often left open to expose some of the chest. The Latin men’s black shirt may use hook and eye closures or zipper closures; they may even have some black lace on the sleeves. The men may also wear a bright colored shirt that matches a color in his partner’s outfit. The colored shirts are usually made of shiny satin fabric.
Matching accessories include bright colored cummerbunds, ties, handkerchiefs placed in the pocket of the shirt, and hats with bright colored bands. Sequins or rhinestones on the shirt are sometimes used for more formal or competitive Latin dancing. Tuxedo style pants are also sold as Latin dancewear for men. One bright color from the ladies costume is used for the men’s accessories. Shiny black shoes are the finishing touch.
Interested in taking Latin lyrical dance lessons? Try “Steps of Gold Dance.” Our instructors will have you showing off your Latin dance moves in no time!
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