Latin Dance

BEYONCÉ BLESSED HAIRDOS: DIVA INSPIRED HAIRSTYLES FOR DANCE CLASS

You gotta own that dance floor with both your moves and your stylin’ looks! Whether you need to shake your hair loose in dance class, or twirl around with a tight and taut updo, we’ve got some fun and fierce looks for you! Jazz up your next dance class with these awesome hairstyles inspired by some of our favourite divas!


Bunhead Beyoncé

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We all know that the Queen B is both a master at singing and dancing, and though ballet may not be her forte, she’s got the perfect braided bun that’ll keep those baby hairs out of your way when executing those triple pirouettes!

Jazzy JLo

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Jenny from the block is no stranger to the stage, and she raises the bar of ‘showwomanship’ with her showstopping dance moves. Stay one step ahead of the competition, with this sleek and chic fishtail ponybraid.

Hip with Hailee

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Bring a bounce to your hip hop dance steps with this curly half-up half-down ponytail. Hailee Steinfeld always gives it her all, from being an Oscar nominated actress to an MTV Europe Music Awards nominated singer, she flaunts her look with impeccable class and style.


Zesty like Zendaya

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Full of life and energy, film star Zendaya is known for her astonishing looks and skilful dance moves. Pull off this Gatsby-esque hairdo at your next tango and ballroom dance rendezvous. Make sure you have plenty of hair gel, a fine tooth hair comb, and bobby pins to execute this suave updo. 

Be spontaneous and change up your look in dance class! From a new vibrant leotard to some new krumping pumps, it doesn’t always have to be a big change, there’s always of room for creativity, style and fun in dance!

Photo Credits:  Max Vadukul, Getty Images/Gregg DeGuire, Chris Appleton, Getty Images/C Flanigan, Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images North America

Loving Your Body: The Key to Enjoying Dance

Times are changing, and we as a dance society are slowly but surely moving away from the idea that the body is simply just a frame, and instead we are beginning to see the body as a whole. From the inside of our body which fuels, moves and supports us, to the outside of our body which allows us to express ourselves, while discovering and exploring all that life has to offer!

Loving the body, and treating it with kindness is the key to fully experiencing the joys of dance, as well as discovering the full capacity of your dance abilities. Knowing how to take care of your body is all about truly listening to yourself and your needs, from physical training to rest and nutrition!


Physical Training

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Remember that we all have uniquely different bodies, even if we can be somewhat “categorised”, our bodies are still entirely different from one another. Which is why it is important to give yourself the time to try out different dance styles and supplemental forms of physical training that allow you to reap the most benefits. Common forms of supplemental training that dancers turn to include Pilates, Yoga, Cross-Fit, Running, and Swimming. But have you ever thought about taking up Muay Thai Boxing, Stand-Up Paddle Boarding, Ice Skating, Rock Climbing, or maybe even joining a Trampoline Dodgeball team? By training the body through different types of physical activity, we are setting up the body to be more versatile in dance. We expose the body to unfamiliar movement patterns, rewire our muscle memory, and even target muscle groups that have never been touched! So instead of hitting the gym next time, think about trying a new form of physical training, and who knows you might surprise yourself!

Rest

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With all that talk on the importance of physical training, we sometimes forget that we need to let our bodies rest. Once again, the definition of rest can vary from person to person. Some of us need to let our bodies completely rest by avoiding all forms of physical activity. While others, may define ‘rest’ as being gently mobile throughout the day, doing light stretching or mobility sequences. It is important to know when to rest the body, to avoid overuse injuries. Dancers tend to need that extra rest reminder, as their determination to train and ‘push through’ is one that sometimes causes serious injuries overtime. Resting the body is the first step, but resting the mind also allows dancers to refresh and rejuvenate their ability to pick up choreography or combat those performance nerves.

Nutrition

It goes without saying that our daily diets are never one in the same. We all have different food preferences, tastes, and dietary restrictions. Of course, there are plenty of books, experts, television shows and articles that provide recommendations for a healthy diet. But as dancers, it is important to listen to your body. How does your body respond or react to different types of foods? How often do you need to fuel your body so that you can grand jeté all day? Ideally as dancers, we want to aim for foods that energize us, provide our body with nutrients so that we can use both our brains and our bodies, and of course food that tastes good! Don’t forget to bring your water bottle to class, because staying hydrated allows you to spin, leap and glide for hours on end. One reason why we dance is because it is part of the many joys of life, which is the same reason we love food too! For all the dance foodies out there, be sure to check our Dancers’ Cookbook page!

Give yourself the biggest hug and learn how to find the right balance of training, resting and fuelling your body. Everybody deserves a little TLC! So be patient and take the time to respect the beauty of your uniqueness and individuality. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to treat myself to some dark chocolate, a couple of minutes of shavasana, and maybe even try out tree trekking!

Photo Credits: Dancewear Centre, and Bruce Mars from Pexels

 

Back to School & Back to the Barre

A List of Dance Schools in Hong Kong

It’s time to go back to school and back to the barre! Most dance studios begin their new school year in September, so now’s the time to get moving and grooving. Wondering where to learn dance in Hong Kong? Not to worry, as Hong Kong Dance Moms has got you covered. To help you find the right fit, we’ve listed nearly 200 dance schools in Hong Kong!

With so many dance schools in Hong Kong, it can be difficult to narrow down your options. Hong Kong Dance Moms has created a directory of all the dance schools in this great big city, which you can visit by clicking here. We’ve categorised the studios under twelve different dance styles, so that you can easily navigate and discover the diversity of Hong Kong’s dance community! 

Want to know a little bit more about each dance style? Read on and find the groove that suits you!

All-Round

The majority of dance studios in Hong Kong offer multiple dance styles and classes to provide students with a one-stop service that allows for more options and versatility in their body training. Primarily offering foundational dance styles such as ballet, jazz and contemporary, these studios may also branch out into hip-hop, urban dance, yoga, pilates, and supplemental strength and flexibility training. Studios like this are important in creating well-rounded dance artists. Plus, it is more convenient for students as they get to learn multiple dance styles under one roof. 


Ballet

Known as one of the foundational forms of dance technique, ballet is great for developing flexibility, strength, agility, and artistry. Ballet is often epitomized as graceful and elegant, but if you ever speak with someone who has learned this highly intense dance form, they will tell you that it is so much more. It trains your body to be dynamic and versatile, adapting your movements from soft and controlled, to sharp, powerful and expansive. On top of all that, ballet requires dancers to be expressive, tapping into their deepest emotions to create presence and communication through their face and body. Ballet can be taught under 3 different training systems; Vaganova (Russian ballet method), Royal Academy of Dance (UK-based), and Cecchetti (Italian-based). There is a lot of cross-over between these three methods, but there are also some variations amongst the movement vocabulary and the execution of dance steps. Ballet does include pointe work, but this is not for the faint of heart, as it is only taught to intermediate dancers who have developed the appropriate strength, stability and agility. Though ballet is known for being a tough, strict and serious dance form, it also has a fun side to it! The challenge is part of the fun, executing new movements and testing the limits of your body and artistry. Plus, you get to play different characters and roles when learning repertoire. Aside from the technical aspect of ballet, the determination, passion and perseverance required to master this art form is also what provides a great starting point in your dance training. 


Jazz

Showcasing sharp, slick and stylish movements, Jazz is all about technique, flair, finesse and sass. Though it shares some similar foundational dance vocabulary with ballet, Jazz dance is a more showy and commercial style of dance that is performed to upbeat music such as pop, rock, or jazz. Great for boosting your confidence and elevating your dance tricks, jazz dance brings you out of your box. Don’t get me wrong, Jazz dance still requires a lot of hard work, skill and discipline, but it also allows you to dance to your favourite tunes while feeling the glitz and glam of the spotlight.


Hip Hop & Urban Dance

With its roots in America, Hip Hop and Urban Dance branches out to so many different dance forms such as breaking, popping & locking, waacking, jazz funk, boogaloo, and the list goes on. Sure it may look “cool”, but it goes beyond superficial aesthetics, and into a deeper understanding of dance, culture and identity. Hip Hop is about finding your groove, your style, your voice and putting a mark on it. While you still learn foundational movements, Hip Hop embraces the distinctiveness of your mannerisms and natural movement qualities. Rather than trying to look like everyone else, hip hop challenges you to create your own style and image. Not to mention, it is great for training your strength, memory, agility, attitude and body isolations. 


Chinese Dance

In the heart of Hong Kong, lies a rich bounty of heritage, art and culture. While preserving important art forms and traditions, Chinese Dance also keeps up with the times and incorporates modern day elements and aesthetics. With a wide range of Chinese Dance styles that originate from different regions in China, there are so many different styles within this form that test a dancer’s versatility and adaptability. Known for its strict training regimen and disciplinary studio environment, Chinese Dance is also a very vibrant and dynamic dance form, as it has many dances with props such as hand fans, handkerchiefs, swords, lanterns, and much more!


Tap

Tap dance is the meeting point of rhythm, musicality, and movement. Learn complex rhythms and footwork that test the coordination of your mind and body. Heavily used in Musical Theatre, Tap dance is all about feeling the beat and being one with the rhythm. 


Rhythmic Gymnastics & Acrobatics

The first word that comes to mind is flexibility. However, strength, dynamics and agility are just as important in rhythmic gymnastics and acrobatics. Dance training itself cannot always develop the strength and flexibility that is required of an elite dancer. Therefore, many dancers also learn gymnastics and acrobatics in their early training to create a stronger foundation for their dance technique.


Latin & Ballroom Dance

Unlike most dance styles, Latin & Ballroom Dance introduces students to partnering work from day one. Dancing with a partner requires deep listening and an understanding of trust and support. Both parties in a couple must carry the weight and work impeccably as a team. Latin and Ballroom Dance feature both classical and upbeat dance styles. The fierceness of a Latin dancer is incomparable, and the poise of a ballroom dancer is utterly breathtaking. 


Learning Centres & Creative Dance

Catered towards preschool children and early childhood learning & development, learning centres offer students the basic foundations of academics, creativity and the arts. Various learning centres will offer creative dance classes for preschool children to introduce them to movement, music and imagination. The dance styles taught at learning centres emphasize learning development and growth rather than focusing on strong dance technique.


Flamenco

Fierce and fiery is this highly musical and intense dance form originating from Spain. Build strength in your rhythm, and power in your body with flamenco dance as you stomp and clap to create your own intricate and complex rhythms. 


Bollywood & Belly Dance

Ain’t no party like a bollywood party! Take a trip to India with the energetic and lively movements and music of Bollywood. You can’t help but smile when dancing Bollywood, it provides fun movement for the soul. Move towards the Middle East and discover the suppleness and fluidity of Belly dancing. A true test of isolation and controlling the body, Belly dance will have you moving seamlessly.


Irish Dance

Riverdance your way to stardom with Irish Dance! Work on your body alignment and posture, and discover some fancy footwork as your dabble into the world of jigs, reels and hornpipes.

Ready to discover the rhythm of the night (...or day if you’re a morning person)? Check out our Hong Kong Dance Schools Listing!

Photo Credit: Ivandrei Pretorius from Pexels

The Big Leagues of Latin & Ballroom Dance

An Inside Look into the 2019 Asia International Dance Championships

Maybe you’ve seen hit television series like ‘Dancing with the Stars’ or ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, but none of these compare with the experience of a live international Latin and Ballroom dance championship. We’re here to give you an inside look into all things Cha Cha Cha!

Hong Kong Dance Moms attended the 2019 Asia International Dance Championships right here in Hong Kong and interviewed Mark Robertson, the Managing Director of the hosting organisation, DansinnHeavenly.

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With several hundred amateur, youth, and professional dance competitors from all around the world, and over 500 audience members, this event was like the Olympics of Latin and Ballroom dance. There were dance competitors from Russia, China, Hong Kong, USA, Canada, Ukraine, Macau, Lithuania, Taiwan, South Korea, Sweden, United Kingdom, Iceland, Poland, Australia, Denmark, Thailand, Slovenia, South Africa, Germany, Japan, England, Italy, and the Philippines. As well as iconic Ballroom and Latin dance adjudicators from Great Britain, China, Russia, Norway, South Korea, Denmark, USA, Italy, Hong Kong, Macau and Japan.

What is the Asia International Dance Championships (AIDC), and how did it all begin?

M.R: The AIDC started in 2015, and in Hong Kong we [DansinnHeavenly] have been running a dance studio for many years, and have employed some of the top dancers and trainers in the world. We wanted to bring a high international, top class event to Hong Kong, because the Hong Kong crowds are real dance aficionados. The diehards travel all over to follow some of these top competing couples, so they are a very intelligent and educated audience. Therefore, we wanted to bring them to Hong Kong rather than them always having to travel overseas, and that’s how AIDC was born. Since then, we’ve grown year by year.

What are some significant features of Ballroom and Latin dance?

M.R: Latin and Ballroom are two different dance styles. In Ballroom, the couple tends to remain together, with flowing gowns, dresses, elegant movement and more classical music. Whereas Latin uses exotic beats from Latin America, Brazil, and Spain. Within Latin, there are more exotic costumes, vibrant sounds, movements, and not so much of a fixed hold, but there is open choreography as well. So these are very different styles, yet both very elegant in their execution as well.

What are the different competition categories within the Asia International Dance Championships? 

M.R: The different categories are the “Under 21”, which is our youngest category for contestants between the ages of 16-20. Then there are the Latin and Ballroom categories which are followed by the ProAm, which basically means a professional-amateur partnership. This is basically a student-teacher dance partnership, which is a very popular and expanding category. We’ve divided up ProAm into single dances, multi-dances (like a three dance challenge), and then a scholarship (a championship, which is a five dance challenge) to allow people flexibility, a varied selection and mix. Lastly, we have the Amateur and Professional categories.


How do Ballroom and Latin Dance competitions work?

M.R: Essentially what happens in the competition is a series of knockout rounds. For instance, with the Amateur Latin category they will dance and compete in four rounds. Let’s say in the first round they start with 48 couples, so then in the second round there will only be 24 couples left in competition. In the semi-finals the remaining couples will be half of the second round, and then half again into the final. That’s the essential structure of the competition.

What are the judges looking for?

M.R: Amongst the Ballroom and Latin categories, each discipline has their own required criteria. In my area of specialty, which is Latin, judges are looking for presence, timing, musicality, posture, partnering, elegance, and of course there are other fundamental and technical requirements. These then become deeper and more profound when you get to the top and the margins are much less, so it becomes a lot more defined. We’re so blessed to have an internationally acclaimed panel of adjudicators from all over the world who we bring over to adjudicate, which also adds to the value and prestige of the event. The couples want to participate, because they know that they’re also being judged by these experts.

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What is the training regimen like for a professional Ballroom and Latin dancer?

M.R: It’s literally a fulltime job, these dancers are absolute artists, experts in their profession, and they’re athletes as well. They are practicing and training every single day, including visits to the gym, nutritionists, private lessons with their coaches/trainers/expert teachers, and are travelling all over the world. They are also demonstrating, competing, teaching, and conducting workshops. When they start to get to the higher echelons of their status and ranking, it is a full time job.

What types of career opportunities are there for Ballroom and Latin dancers?

M.R: A dancer can become a teacher, a coach, an adjudicator, a dance studio owner, a lecturer, or a performer. They can essentially cover all of them, and will gradually start to work out which ones are their preferred ones, and their greater skill sets. And they will gradually become a master, at one or several of these professions.

From your own experience, what advice do you have for young aspiring Ballroom and Latin dancers?

M.R: I started dancing when I was 7, and for me I feel that I’ve been completely blessed to have an amazing childhood by dancing. I truly loved it, truly enjoyed it, and was never pushed into it by my parents. I’ve made friends for life, also some who are here today, we’ve grown together in the business. It is such a great social community. It is healthy, and you definitely avoid boredom as a kid. As a dancer, you have no time to do anything else but dance. It’s such a beautiful art form that combines artistry and sport. It is fantastic, and we truly love our business and are blessed to be making this our profession and our passion.

For anyone interested in learning more about the Asia International Dance Championships, visit their website here.

Dance is known for its element of live performance, so when you get a chance to see it live, you should jump at the opportunity! Whether it’s a performance, workshop, class, or in this case a championship, dance will literally move you.