FAQ (part 2/3)

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Victor Eijkhout

Oct 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/5/96

Archive-name: dance/faq/part2
Version: 2.0
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Maintainer: Victor Eijkhout <>
Last-modified: September, 1996


Questions about dancing in general, but not about any specific dance.
In this section and the next, authors of the various pieces are
identified by initials; look them up in the Acknowledgments section
(7.1) .

I'll soon be in XYZ. How do I find where to go dancing? (4.1)

Try looking in the Dancers' Archive (2.8) .

Or just post here, and see what suggestions you get.

Where do I find dance music? (4.2)

In the Dancers' Archive, subdirectory `music':

Additionally, there are lists of swing songs in

Where can I buy dance supplies? (4.3)

Check out the following files in the Dancers' Archive:
; information about cheap dance shoes:
; mail order companies:

Henry Neeman's hotlist has a section about supplies too:

Geared more towards ballet is Tom Parsons Dance Wear FAQ

Another very good source is going to competitions. There are often
stands of shoe / boots / apparel / hat / jewelry manufacturers. This is
an easy way to see and try on lots of stuff. For more information about
competitions, see

How can I learn more about dance? Books? Videos? (4.4)


Look in the Dancers' Archive in the `books' and `videos'
. You can find reviews of instructions videos for swing, country, and
shag on


See for ballroom related material
, and for Craig Hutchinson's Swing Dancer:

Information about country dances in 19th century England and about
formal balls can be found in
What Jane Austen ate and Charles Dickens knew
by: Daniel Pool
Simon and Schuster, New York 1993
More about 19th century dance can be found in
From the ballroom to hell
grace and folly in nineteenth-century dance
by: Elizabeth Aldrich
Northwestern University Press
Evanston, Illinois 1991

I want to put a dance floor in my house! Any tips? (4.5)

Go to the Dancers' Archive, and look in subdirectory `topics':

Also, there was an excellent three-page article on finishing floors in
the March 1994 issue of "The Dance Corral," which is a monthly magazine
for country western dancers. The article, entitled "Floor Lore," was
written by Dan Downing. He cites several resources for further
information, including an article in "Dance Magazine," Feb. 1989,
63:72, and the addresses and phone numbers of three wood floor
associations. If you want to order a back issue of The Dance Corral
(you'd want vol. 5, num. 3), their phone number is (616) 473-3261.

Dance notation and software (4.6)


Here are some links to notation information and software, courtesy of
Christian Griesbeck

Shawn E. Koppenhoefer is colecting links on dancenatation:

The Ohio State University Department of Dance has on its LabanWriter
page some links on dancenatation:
(OSU Department of Dance)

I am writing a introduction to Labanotation (as part of my computer
choreography/Choreology Project):
(english in construction)
(german finshed)

**Craig Hutchinson's notation**
in Swing Dancer. It is pretty much geared to swing dancing, so there is
no concept of line-of-dance. It involves a good 300 terms for
movements, holds, foot positions.

is very good for showing steps, directions, duration of steps, how to
use the foot, shifting weight, etc. Read the following file in the
Dancers' Archive:

Labanotation now has two "dialects" which arose starting during the
Second World War. They are Labanotation as used in the Western
Hemisphere and Great Britain, and Kinetography-Laban, as used in the
rest of Europe. ICKL, the International Council on Kinetography Laban,
has regular meetings to deal with new developments and also to attempt
to re-merge the two forms. (No success so far, but a great spectator
sport!) This is all OTTOMH and probably none too accurate...

The Language of Dance Centre
17 Holland Park
London W11 3TD

Dance Notation Bureau
31-33 W. 21st St., 3rd floor
New York, NY 10010


Toni' Intravaia, Treasurer, USA
201 Hewitt
Carbondale, IL 62901

Ann Kipling Brown, Chairman
705 Galbraith House
Mitchener Park
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T6H 4M5

**Benesh Movement Notation**
The Institute of Choreology
4 Margravine Gardens
Barons Court
London W6 8RH

**Eshkol-Wachmann System**
The Movement Notation Society
75 Arlozorov Street
Holon, Israel

For more information, and some interesting reading, try to find:

Guest, Ann Hutchinson (1984). _Dance Notation: The Process of
Recording Movement on Paper_. Dance Books: London. ISBN 0 903102 75

This gives historical background, plus an overview of notation
systems, and discusses what works (and what doesn't) with the various
systems covered.


is not really a notation; it is a program for designing choregraphy

From: Message-Id: <1996082304...@linus.socs.uts.EDU.AU> Re:
labanotation Content-Type: text Apparently-To: <>

**Laban software**

I have got an X-Window laban editor working quite nicely and its
available as freeware from
and an example of its use is in
[Don Herbison-Evans d...@socs.uts.EDU.AU ]

**Studio software**

Mark J. Zetler writes:

My wife (& I) have a dance studio in San Diego. I've been using
COMPUDANCE by a company in Texas called Theatrical Administration
Consultants (210) 497-4327 for about 7 years. It seems to do the job,
and the author seems to be responsive to the people who use the
program. There are some quirky things that that are annoying but all in
all the program works. I think the price is around $300 (????).

I have only run into 3 other programs. The first one was about $100
and didn't do anything. I don't think the company exists any more.

The High Priced Spread is called DANCE MANAGER. Last I heard (I could
be wrong) the price was about $1,200. The demo of the program implied
this program could do everything. I just could not justify the cost.

The last program I've run into is called IN MOTION: THE STUDIO MANAGER
from Full Spectrum in Anaheim Hills, CA. (714) 921-8743. ($200ish) The
program looked promising but seemed to run everything from the
accounting end not the student. I'll try to explain, at our studio most
question/problems are easier to resolve by first looking up the
student, seeing what classes they are registered in, look at the
billing, then look at the payments. With the IN MOTION:you have to go
to different places to find all that info. In COMPUDANCE you can do all
that from one starting place (presentation ain't as pretty as the other
programs but I still got the info and that is what counts).

Compudance will have a Windows version in summer '96.

There is also an advertisement in Dance Magazine for DanceWorks; runs
under Windows; $395; phone (800) 286-3471 for free demo.

For a contrasting view, (Tango TAG) writes:

I use WordPerfect Suit, it is great. but you could use any Suite
program all you have to do is set it up for your business. To many
people spend to much money, on custom programs. Buy a suite program and
you got it all.

How can I keep up with what's happening? (4.7)

Subscribe to a dance publication. You can find several lists of
publications in

More specifically for ballroom dancing:

When and where does Championship Ballroom Dancing air? (4.8)

Short answer: on PBS, probably a Wednesday in May. Check your local

"Championship Ballroom Dancing" is the only regularly scheduled
national broadcast of ballroom dancing in the U.S. It's an annual
televising of the Ohio Star Ball, a ballroom competition held each
November in Columbus, Ohio. Think of it as the unofficial North
American championship. The show consists of the professional int'l
style standard and Latin finals (see below for an explanation of
international style versus American), and typically also includes
cabaret events, and sometimes competitor interviews and/or American
style demos. Lately, it's been hosted by dancer/actress Juliet Prowse
and seven time U.S. int'l Latin champ Ron Montez.

The show is broadcast on the Public Broadcast Service (PBS) during the
May "sweeps" period and apparently enjoys excellent ratings. Contrary
to a persistent rumor, "CBD" is not generally broadcast during "pledge"
periods. This information comes directly from Aida Moreno, producer of
"CBD," who posted it in February of 1994 and confirmed it privately to
Eileen Bauer a year later.

However, because PBS stations have a lot more freedom to set their
schedules than do their commercial counterparts, some markets may show
"CBD" during pledge periods. It's not common, but it probably happens.
In any case, although many markets show it on the default broadcast
date -- typically the first or second Wednesday of the month -- not all
do. So you'll want to contact your local PBS station to find out the
date and time of broadcast in your viewing area.

For overseas folks: PBS is a broadcast television network in the U.S.,
supported by public funds (read: taxes) and contributions from viewers.
"Sweeps" months -- November, February and May -- are months when tv
advertisers look very closely at tv "ratings" (viewership
measurements), so all the networks, broadcast and cable -- including
PBS, oddly enough -- put on their best stuff; the number of shows with
sex and violence skyrockets (8-). "Pledge periods" are when PBS
stations interrupt programs to beg their viewers for donations; PBS
gets something like a third of its funding this way. [Henry Neeman ]

Juliet Prowse, who for years presented Championship Ballroom Dancing,
died on September 15, 1996.

Juliet Prowse was only 59. Was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two
years ago and the chemotherapy ruined her kidneys. She died at home in
California. I filed a newsspot for NPR for tonight's five o'clock
newscast so some of you may have heard that. She was trained as a
ballerina, but became a big movie star with her debut in Can Can
opposite Frank Sinatra. Hermes Pan discovered her in South Africa,
where she was a dancer in the Johannesburg ballet. She had the most
gorgeous legs I've ever seen and her smile was unforgettable. She was
romantically linked with Sinatra and later with Elvis Presley, with
whom she starred in GI Blues. She never stopped working, continuing to
adjust to the times, becoming a commentator for Ballroom competitions.
Juliet Prowse was gracious and kind and very much loved in show
business. She leaves a son, her mother and a longtime companion. [ ]

Is dancing good for my health? (4.9)

First the DISCLAIMER: don't take the following for gospel. If you have
medical questions, go talk to a physician.


While dancing, you use your knees and ankles a lot more than in daily
life. Overuse can be a real problem. Take it easy, do stretches, ice
your joints if they give you problems.

**Losing weight**

Reports on this are contradictory. It is definitely true that dancing
is an athletic activity. On the other hand, it is very much stop and
go, so you may not reach the level of constant exertion needed for
weight loss.


Apart from simple overuse injuries, there are the injuries that one
dance partner sustains because of the other.

Ladies, consider the potential harm that rings, long nails, and other
seemingly innocent accesories can inflict.

Gentlemen, jerky movements can hurt your follower.

Then there is the subject of aerials, lifts and drops. The concensus
seems to be pretty much that you shouldn't do those socially. If you
have plenty of space on the floor and there is no risk to other
dancers, then you only do them if you and your partner have rehearsed
them, or if you have agreed in advance to do such potentially dangerous
moves. Never spring such moves on unsuspecting partners. Do you really
want to risk dropping a woman and find out only after the fact that she
was pregnant or recovering from surgery?

Here is some more about such injuries:

Sometime during my teaching semester at the University of Utah,
information is presented to the dance students in my class addressing
lifts and drops, and more importantly in social settings:

Having accomplished over 100 hours of research on skull fractures,
especially avoidable ones, the bottom line is this: It only takes 33
ft pounds of energy to fracture a skull, or approximately 398 inch
pounds of energy (1). Skull fractures, many times go untreated and
also many times result in a fatality several days later. Sometimes,
however the death is instant. You determine how much energy to expect
from a fall:

Take your own height in inches. Multiply your height by the distance
in inches it would take to fall to the ground. If you are lifted off of
the ground, multiply the height of this lift by your weight when you
impact the non-yielding floor and you will find you have more than
ample energy to fracture your skull. As a medium sized individual,
that figure for me is 13,000 inch pounds just falling to the ground and
striking my head - let alone being lifted off of the ground by someone
who is probably NOT formally trained in this precise art, but who also
is probably not aware that ACROBATICS of this nature are usually taught
by performing arts professionals with spotters and mats. (The same as
with any other gymnastic type move).

The powerfully sad part to this situation is that deaths by dancing
ARE not only unacceptable but preventable. My exact words to my
students are : Dancing is a sport, an art form, energetic and enjoyable
- it is not supposed to be risky, nor dangerous. Lifts and drops
should be left to the professionals in cabaret settings, competitions
etc., where the risk to the participants are known to them, and there
is NO risk to other dancers on the same floor. The Appels, the Savoys
are marvelous to watch because they have perfected this wonderful art
form of lifts and drops. They are the professionals !

When club owners refuse to enforce a no lifts/drops policy, we need to
express our dissatisfaction with this and leave. More nightclub owners
need to own up to their responsibility in not allowing lifts and drops
on their social dance floors. Unfortunately, those that do not comply
will find more and more litigatious survivors out there that will
force them to do just that or be looking for a real job when the
lawsuit hits. . In all gymnastic events I've seen, the gymnasts are
surrounded by mats to protect them from non-yielding surfaces and skull
fractures. **** There is logic here.****

Leave the lifts and drops for cabaret, performances, etc and
instructors should adamately discourage their students from trying to
accomplish that which can be so deadly. My condolences to the families
of those victims of such senseless ego building.

(1) OSHA study March 1978. Dept of Industrial
and Operations Engineering. College of Engineering
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. "An erconomic
basis for recommendations pertaining to specific
sections of OSHA standard, 29 CFR Part 1910
Subpart D - - Walking and working surfaces.

American Journal of Surgery, November 1949
E.S. Gurdjian, M.D., John E. Webster M.D. and
Herbert R. Lissner M.S. Detroit Michigan

Herbert R. Lissner, M.S. and F. Gaynor Evans, PhD.

Pediatrics Vol 64 No.6 December 1979
pg 961-963

The Journal of Trauma Vol 29 No 9 1989
John R. Hall, M.D., Hernan M. Reyes, M.D.,
Maria Horvat, B.S., Janet L. Meller, M.D.
and Robert Stein, M.D.

After researching the fragile nature of our skelatal features, I've
become more safety minded and wish more of our students would
understand the necessity of using good sense in dancing. [Pam Genovesi,
Utah Dance Challenge ]

What can be done about perspiration? (4.10)

First of all, sweat is to some extent inevitable, but you really must
start by coming to a dance clean. Shower, and brush your teeth while
you're at it.

Secondly, you can influence how much your perspiration becomes
noticable. Silk shirts are especially unpleasant to the touch when they
are soaked. Some people wear two shirts (eg, the lower a V-neck
T-shirt) so that the perspiration will limit itself to the one shirt
your partner will not be in contact with. Sometimes bringing an extra
shirt, and changing into it at some time during the evening, is a good
idea too. (VE)

Thirdly, use a deodorant and antiperspirant. It's easy to do, it
works, and it is quite harmless. Since some people might be worried
about that last point, here is a short excerpt from "The Secret House"
by David Bodanis, 1986, Simon & Schuster, NY; ISBN No.0-671-60032-X:

"Antiperspirants do not work by jamming little particles into the
openings of sweat holes in the armpits. That might work if sweat shot
out miniature geysers, but on the micro-level of the skin,
geysers, hoses and all the other usual ways we think of water emerging
from a pore do not exist. There's no way the incipient sweat water
could build up a high enough pressure in its subsurface tubes to
flow... Rather, sweat emerges because it's tugged out. It has a
negative electric charge... and as the surface of the sweat pores has a
positive charge when excited the result is that the sweat ooze is
pulled out. It's like yanking a sausage from a tight tunnel. Enter the
aluminium. Aluminum flecks are negatively charged. That means the extra
furry cloud of electrons they carry around with them counterbalances
the normal positive charge on the skin surface. There's no pull... on
the sausage any more. The Al is even likely to have some left over to
poke down the sweat pore tunnel and electrically repel the negatively
charged water waiting deeper inside. The sweat caught inside dissolves
back into the body crumbling through cracks in the sweat tubes like
water from a leaky hose."

Note that the aluminum salts (unlike common alum, which is an
astringent) do not close off pores, and nothing messes with your body
chemistry either.

[ ]

More on the topic of smell. Body odor, dirty clothes, overwhelming
perfume, bad breath are all the wonderful smells we may encounter on
the dance floor. You may not notice how you smell to another person,
therefore, it is polite to stop and think about it before you leave
home for an evening of dancing.

So, how do we smell odors? Odors, or chemical molecules, interact with
receptors on nerve cells located in the olfactory epithelium in your
nose. These receptors then cause a nerve to be activated - thus sending
a message to your brain. When you are constantly exposed to the odor,
this pathway desensitizes and you are no longer aware of the smell. For
example, the water may seem scalding hot when you first step into the
shower, but by the end of your shower, it doesn't seem so hot. That's
due to desensitization. For the biologically-oriented in the group - an
odor is perceived when the molecule binds to a G-protein coupled
receptor, thus activating adanylate cyclase and causing an increase in
cAMP. The cAMP causes the activation of Na+ channels, thus depolarizing
the neuron - causing it to fire - sending the message on a pathway to
the brain.

From person to person, there may be as much as a 1000 fold difference
in their ability to perceive a particular odor and still be considered
"normal." So, just becuase you don't smell the intense garlic on your
breath, your dance partner might. This is either because they are more
sensitive to the smell, or because they have not become desensitized
like you have. Also, some people lack the ability to smell a particular
odor all together. This is not uncommon. Additionally, as we age our
sense of smell diminishes. Therefore, not everyone smells the same
things you do.

In conclusion, stop to think about how you smell on the dance floor.
Take that shower, wear deodrant and fresh clothes. Brush those teeth
and don't take a perfume bath. Be polite to your dance buddies!

[Kathie Sindt ]

A few more thoughts:
anti-perspirants also work in other areas than under the arms.
-- Contemplate on alternative uses for the hot air dryers in the rest
-- Improving your technique and smoothness will permit you to dance
without sweating as much.
-- Sweat will do awful things to your clothes. If you don't do laundry
every day, rinse your shirt in plain water after you've danced.

This file is part of the FAQ list about Rec.Arts.Dance, copyright 1995
Victor Eijkhout .
Individual portions may be copyright of their contributors. You may
make copies for private use in any form, but reproduction in any means,
including book or CDROM, is not allowed without permission from the
copyright holder.
405 Hilgard Ave ................................. `[W]e don't usually like to
Department of Mathematics, UCLA ............. talk about market share because
Los Angeles CA 90024 .................... we're not going to share anything.'
phone: +1 310 825 2173 / 9036 .................. [Jim Cantalupo, president of McDonald's Int.]

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