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Do You Wanna Bachata?

by Natasha Maltseva on 04/11/17

LaVida Dance Studio is proud to add Bachata to our list of dance styles. A social dance that originated in the Dominican Republic and is now danced globally, Bachata is a fun and exciting dance for dancers of all levels. We don’t require a partner or any previous experience for these courses.

History of Bachata

Closely related to Salsa, Bachata originated in the Dominican Republic in the 1900’s and is now danced all around the world. The dance style gained popularity in America and beyond in the late 1900’s and is now danced in many countries. There are several modern iterations of the dance including:

  • Traditional Bachata: The most common iteration of Bachata, showcases the traditional is the four step rhythm. At LaVida Dance Studios, our Bachata courses teach the traditional style.

  • Moderna: A dance style whose base is traditional Bachata, but also includes Tango, Salsa, Zouk, and Ballroom. This dance is relatively new to the dance scene, with its popularity gaining traction in 2005.

  • Bachata Tango: This dance style, also known as “Bachatango” is a fusion of Bachata and Tango. This dance is more common in the continental U.S., but less commonly danced in the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean.

  • Ballroom Bachata: Another Western iteration of Bachata, Ballroom Bachata combines classic ballroom dance with Bachata flare to create a fun and upbeat hybrid dance style.

What does Bachata look like? How is it different from Salsa?

Bachata is a romantic and rhythmic Latin Dance style. A close cousin of Salsa, Bachata showcases a slower rhythm and accentuated hip movements.  It's a three step dance with a tap and hip movements on the fourth beat. Hip movement is an essential part of the dance, adding style and flare for female dancers. This dance can be performed in open, semi-closed, or closed orientation. It is a simpler dance than traditional salsa because it requires less complex sequences and fast turns. Traditional steps are slower and typically in a close position, however the dance style has evolved to include more variant dance positions and a wider variety of music.

Bachata Music

Bachata dance also comes with its own signature music style. This style of music is rooted in Bolero music, a slow tempo genre of Latin music. With roots in both Spain and Cuba, this music gained popularity in the late 19th century.  The Bachata music style gained popularity in the 1960’s in the Dominican Republic. Though Bachata retains a similar rhythm to Bolero music, but the two can clearly be distinguished.

Why Choose Bachata?

Bachata is danced all over the world. It's a fun and exciting dance experience for all skill levels. It's a great choice for beginners because it's a slow rhythm that's easier to get the hang of. Its also a highly enjoyable social dance and a great way to bring groups and couples together. Sexy, Latin dance moves for the ladies, easy to learn footwork for men, and a lot of fun for all levels of experience are just a few reasons to choose Bachata.

Whether you’re a first timer or you’ve been looking for somewhere to cultivate your love for Bachata on the Eastside, LaVida Dance Studio is the place to go. To learn more about our programs or to sign up for a class, visit our website today!

Five Dance Styles From Around the World You Can Learn At LaVida

by Natasha Maltseva on 03/09/17

At LaVida Dance Studio, we experience song and dance from a few continents every day. From Argentine Tango to Zouk, our team teaches a number of different dance classes with roots in a number of different languages and cultures. Whether you’re a ballroom dancing expert or you want to learn to Cha Cha for the first time, check out these global dance styles we teach at LaVida Dance Studio.

Tango, Argentina Style

We’ll start our global dance tour in South America in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital city. This dance style has been developing over the last hundred years. Argentine Tango is a close-knit partner dance where the dancers will cultivate connection between each other and the music. One of the main differences between Argentine Tango and ballroom tango is the orientation of the two partners bodies, typically in a closer embrace. At LaVida we hold public weekly Tuesday practice dance socials and monthly 4th Friday Milongas or formal tango socials, and offer classes for all levels.

From our Cuban Neighbors: Salsa and Cha Cha

Salsa dancing developed in Cuba in the 1920’s and 1930’s. This dance grew out of the more traditional Cuban Son dance style. Many people associate the start of salsa and its growth in popularity with Cuban musician Ignacio Piñeiro. When he added a trumpet to the traditional sounds of Cuban music, it marked the beginning of salsa, mambo, and Latin jazz. At LaVida Studios, we offer multiple levels in salsa dancing, so whether you’re a beginner or have lots of experience, we’ll have a class for you. We also offer Salsa Party Dance Socials on the first Friday of every month and participate in other social salsa events.

The Cha Cha, also called the Cha Cha Cha, gained popularity in the 1950’s. Musician Enrique Jorrín is known for developing the genre of music and dance that grew in popularity throughout the Cuba, the U.S. and beyond throughout the 20th century and continues to be popular today. Because of Cha Cha’s rhythm, it's great not only to dance to traditional style music, but also to contemporary pop music. Our Cha Cha classes are tailored to multiple levels, and no partner and no experience is necessary.  

Dating back to 18th Century Europe: The Waltz

The Waltz dates back to Europe in the 1800’s, cultivated and studied principally in Austria, Germany, France, and England. At the time, some found the dance risque, because of the close proximity to your partner and frequent spinning and turning. At LaVida Studios, we teach International Standard Waltz, which means the partners remain in a close embrace throughout the entirety of the number. Our classes are typically offered in a four week series and focus on social partner dancing that’s fun, a good workout, and practical to learn before weddings, parties or cruises.

Rooted in Brazil and the French Caribbean: Zouk

Zouk has evolved both in the French Caribbean and in Brazil. The music style brings together sound and rhythm from the Caribbean, North America and Africa to create a fun and energizing dance you’ll keep coming back to. Much of the music features French Antillean Creole language, which showcases the dance’s close ties to that community. This style’s slow rhythm is great for all ages and a lot of fun. We also offer multiple levels of Zouk classes and Zouk dance socials the first and third Wednesday of every month.

Dance is a great way to learn about music, rhythm, and movement from other parts of the world. Whether you’re an experienced dancer or considering trying it for the first time, our classes are a great workout and a lot of fun. To learn more about LaVida Dance Studio or to sign up for your first class, visit our website today!

Get Your Son Some Dancing Shoes: 5 Reasons Boys Should Dance Too

by Natasha Maltseva on 02/15/17

When it comes to dance classes, many parents only think of them for their daughters. Dance, however, isn’t only for little girls in pink tutus; it's a great activity that builds strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, and confidence for kids and adults of all ages. Even if your son isn’t usually the first one on the dance floor, learning dance at a young age can build a foundation for life, and be a lot of fun. If you and your son are still skeptical, consider these reasons to start dancing.

Improve flexibility and body coordination

Its no secret that kids have tons of energy, and finding ways to channel it productively can be a project. While some sports such as football and basketball do a great job of getting your kid to run around for a few hours, the specific movements dance requires helps children improve their

coordination. Through various forms of dance, our students learn to control their bodies, become more flexible, and improve overall coordination. Children with strong coordination are less likely to be injured in other sports and daily life and also help develop fine motor skills. Dancing is a fun way to build these foundations for a happy and healthy life.

Build creativity and enhance self expression

Dancing will give your son the chance to explore their creativity and learn a new way to express himself. Dancing is good for your brain. It helps you build strong muscle memory and expand your knowledge of movement, and it's also a great way to be creative. Through various forms of music, different dance styles, and more, children have the chance to express themselves and stretch their creativity through learning new moves. Parents are often reminded the importance of math and numbers, but flexing the creative side of your child’s brain is also important for development.

Lowered risk of serious injury

It's important for kids to run around and play, but contact sports also pose the danger of serious injury. Football, for example, can alter brain function in children as young as eight years old, even when played with protective gear. Dance is a fun alternative that will allow your children to play, build strength and coordination without the risk of injury that contact sports poses.

Learn about music and rhythm

Unlike most other sports, dance offers the added educational benefit of delving into different types of music. When your child learns about dance, they’ll also explore music and sounds from around the world including Latin American music, Hip Hop music and more. Through dance, they’ll learn about rhythm, tempo, and other skills that can be applied to playing music, singing, and musical instruments.

Build skills for life

When your son learns dance, he’ll learn a lot of other life skills along with the tango. Dancing is a social activity, where children can build community and improve communications skills with both other students and their teachers. With or without a partner, dance is a collaborative activity where everyone has to work together to build a greater whole. Dance also helps children learn a sense of self discipline and understand the drive to want to improve one's own habits to become better at what they do. Dancing also teaches problem solving; the show must go one, so when dancers miss their cues or make a mistake, they’ll learn to keep moving forward. From working together to quick decision making, in the dance studio, children develop skills they’ll use throughout their lives.

For boys of all ages, dancing is a great way to build strength, have fun, and learn a new set of skills that can benefit them in many aspects of life. Whether your son has always wanted to dance or might be a little skeptical, dance is worth a try for boys of all ages. La Vida Dance Studio is currently offering one of our favorites, our “Top Hat and Tails” Boys dance class where boys ages four to six learn jazz, Hip Hop, and creative movement in an all boys dance class. To take a free trial class or sign up now, visit our website today!

Dance Into the New Year: 6 Reason to Start Dancing in 2017

by Natasha Maltseva on 12/22/16

Whether you're a new empty nester who hasn’t had free time in 18 years, or someone with a 60-hour work week whose resolution is to take a little time for yourself next year, dancing is a great way to stay healthy and active. For beginners and seasoned veterans alike, dancing is great cardio activity that can be way more fun than jogging or running. From salsa, to ballroom, to tango, consider the benefits of making dancing your New Year’s Resolution this year.

1. Bring your heart rate up and your blood pressure down

Dance to lower your stress levels

Even the busiest of people need a break, so why not clear your head with an hour of music and movement? Dancing releases endorphins, which stimulates your brain to feel happy and in turn brings down your stress levels.Taking an hour to turn up the music and get on your feet will be a lot of fun-and it will make you feel more relaxed for the rest of the day.  

2. Bust a move for better balance

Improve your balance and body control

You’ve probably told the kids what your mom used to tell you: Practice makes perfect. That rule applies to improving your balance as well. Dance of all types requires balance to do various movements and hold poses. The more muscle groups you use, the more refined they become, making you not only more steady on your feet when dancing but also in your everyday life.

3. Same workout, less impact

Get a good workout without the damage of high-impact exercise

If you want to get your heart rate up without running miles on hard ground, dance can be a great low-impact alternative. Ballroom dance, Zumba, and other dance styles are great ways to get a good workout that won’t put a ton of strain on your body. You’ll reap the same benefits of high impact activity without the wear and tear on your muscles and bones.

4. Be engaged and enjoy your workout

Get your heart rate up-and have fun doing it

Five minutes is a short amount of time-but if you’re on a treadmill it can feel like forever. Enjoying exercise is a fast ticket to a healthier lifestyle, and while some people love to run many others do not. Dancing is an enjoyable, active and engaging alternative where you can burn a ton of calories and not wish the minutes would go by faster. Aerobic dancing can burn more than 440 calories per hour (jogging for an hour will only burn about 400!)

5. Stretch and spin to feel better

Improve your flexibility and increase your range of motion

You don’t have to be able to do the splits to be a dancer-but dancing is a great way to become more flexible and gain a more full range of motion throughout your body. Being flexible can decrease your risk of injury and make your muscles work more effectively. Being more flexible can also improve blood flow throughout your body. Dancing can also improve your posture and keep the muscles in your back strong and healthy.

6. Build strength without the weights

Improve your muscular strength and endurance

Body builders use heavy weights and machines to build muscle and increase body mass. You know who else has strong muscles? Ballerinas. Dancing builds muscle groups throughout your body including lower body, core, arms and shoulders. Through using your own weight and many repetitions, dancing can build lean muscle throughout your body and help you feel healthier and stronger.

For salsa dancers and Zumba-ers alike, dance has many great benefits for your health. Whether you’re a seasoned dancer or looking to try something totally new this year, dance is a great way to keep that resolution of being healthier and more active. To learn more about dance options or to sign up for your first dance class at La Vida Studio, visit our website today!

Tips for Keeping Your Kids Active During Winter Months

by Natasha Maltseva on 12/06/16

Winter is coming, and kids – like adults – can fall into the trap of simply hunkering down inside and never getting any physical activity. Not only is this not a healthy way to live, but you may want your kids to get out and do something just to burn off that excess energy. Below are a few ways that you can encourage an active lifestyle all winter long.

1. Get them involved in school sports.

Your child doesn't have to go out to be the captain of the football team. Just being involved in any sport and practicing during the week gives him or her a way to exercise and spend time with peers after school.

2. Take a dance class.

Maybe your child has no interest in competitive sports; there are still plenty of ways to get physical activity in a group setting. At
LaVida Studio, for instance, kids can enroll in dance programs. They get to hang out with other kids, learn new skills, stay in good physical shape, and enjoy themselves all at the same time. Meanwhile, they learn contemporary dance styles like hiphop and pop culture, which require and burn a lot of energy. Kids love these classes since they can dance to their favorite songs. 

3. Head outside, just not for long.

It's bitter cold, so you don't expect your kids to spend hours outside, but that doesn't mean the winter weather can't be fun. Focus on short-term activities and playing pre-planned outdoor games. Some people
set up competitions, like races across the yard, and the winner gets hot chocolate. These prizes can certainly inspire children to participate.

4. Take dance breaks.

Even five minutes of activity can make a big difference. When things slow down and children aren't moving enough, jump in and lead them in dance breaks. These are exciting for kids, especially when you blast their favorite songs, and they can burn off energy in just minutes. A few dance breaks a day makes a huge difference.

5. Embrace creative indoor games.

It's easy to pop in a movie or watch TV, but remember that there's plenty you can do inside that is active and engaging. Some people set up tents and do “indoor camping,” which the kids love because it seems so outrageous and new to them. Others play fast-paced indoor games like tag. If you have yard games, like bean bag toss, you can set them up inside – just make sure to get anything breakable out of the way first.

Once you get started, you'll find it's not actually that hard to get kids involved in activities that they'll love all the way until next summer.

Outdoor Eastside SALSA Marina
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​Early Bird Registration ends May 15th
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