Do you know which dance style is named after a legendary pilot? Did you know that there once upon a time there were dance marathons lasting several days? Or how many dancers it takes to break a world record? Find out the answers to this and more in this edition of fun dance facts!
Dance ’til you drop
During the Depression, dance marathons were a popular way to forget problems while competing for cash prizes. Participants danced for days while only resting 15 minutes for every hour of dancing. From August 29th, 1930, to April 1st, 1931, Americans Mike Ritof and Edith Boudreaux danced for 5,154 hours and 48 minutes, that’s 214 days. They won $2,000 and hold the world record. Due to potential health risks, Depression-era dance marathons were eventually banned.
Just one tutu can cost up to $2,000…in part because of all the material and decorations, and because it takes about 75 hours to make just one tutu!
The waltz was a shocking dance in its day because the man and the woman danced facing each other almost in an embrace (traditionally the waltz was danced at arms length). It only became acceptable in English society when Queen Victoria gained a passion for it.
Research shows that an hour of vigorous dancing can burn 500 to 700 calories. A three hour ballet performance is equivalent to an 18- mile run or two soccer games that run for 90 minutes each. A night of social dancing is equivalent to a four mile walk and can be a lot more fun than exercising on a machine.
The oldest ballroom dance is the Viennese Waltz – and yes it really did develop in Vienna. To this day you can go to Austria and dance in the Viennese ball season. But take classes first – they have standards and you will be asked to leave the floor if your dancing is not good enough.
You don’t have to able to walk to dance – wheelchair dancing is popular particularly in Europe where ballroom and Latin American dancing competitions have divisions for wheel chair bound dancers and able bodied partners, wheel chair and wheel chair dancers and many others variations.
How many tap dancers does it take to break a world record? On May 24th, 1998, the greatest ever number of tap dancers gathered for a single routine at the Stuttgart City Square in Germany. Choreographed by Ray Lynch, the 6,952 dancers tapped away for 2 minutes and 15 seconds. The event was organized to commemorate the birthday of American tap-dance legend Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. In second place, as many as 6,000 tap dancers gather in New York City each year for Tap-o-Mania. They hoof their way down Broadway as part of Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade.
What happens at a Pow Wow?
A Pow Wow is a gathering of aboriginal nations for a celebration of singing, drumming and dancing. Various dances are performed at a Pow Wow and each has its own significance, specific dress and regalia. The most popular dances for women are the Jingle Dress, Fancy Shawl, Traditional and Hoop Dances. The most popular dances for men are the Traditional, Grass and Ribbon or Fancy Dances. The dancing arena is circular and is called an arbor. Pow Wows can also be opportunities for dance competitions. At a competition, Pow Wow dancers are divided into categories based on age, gender and dance style.
The largest thriller dance is achieved by 13,597 participants in an event organised by the Instituto de la Juventud del Gobierno del Distrito Federal at the Monumento a la Revolucion, Mexico City, Mexico, on 29 Aug 2009. Log books were used for the counting.
The lindy hop branched off from the Charleston, and was named after American pilot Charles Lindbergh, who made his famous Atlantic crossing in 1927, around the same time that this swing dance became popular.
In 2008, it was reported that Asian honeybees and European honeybees can understand each other through waggling dance movements, though they need to learn each others dialects.
In 1923, the city of Kalamazoo, Michigan, passed a law forbidding dancers to stare into each others eyes.