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African Music

African traditional music is no longer described by the words "din", "racket", cacophony". It is important that this music be accepted and appreciated on its' own terms. The aim of the music has never been first and foremost to be aesthetically pleasing. African music aims to express the totality of our lives as human beings - the happiness, the sadness, the anger, the disappointments, the yearning for spiritual union with a Higher Power. Dance is nearly always associated with music making. Music pervades day to day life in Africa. Children fashion drums from empty cans, make frame drums from discarded materials such as a window frame which is then covered with a piece of animal hide or plastic.

Wheelchair Dance

The origins of this form of dance can be traced to Sweden and the year 1968. An early pioneer was Els-Britt Larsson who was employed by the Swedish Handicap Federation. She was herself a wheelchair user. This category of dance enjoyed great popularity in Sweden. In 1975 the first ever competition was held there. Thirty couples took part. Spectators were both fascinated and inspired by what they saw. Nowadays competitions are held worldwide.

The first international wheelchair dance sport competition took place in Sweden in 1977. The following year the first World Championships were held in Japan.

Ballroom Dancing

There are various standardized categories. The two main styles are known as American and International. American style is performed mainly in the US and is not as standardized as International style. Each style has two categories. In American style, the categories are known as SMOOTH and RYTHM and in International style they are called STANDARD and LATIN.

American Style comprises:- Smooth = Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz, Rhythm = Cha Cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing, Bolero, Mambo.

International Style comprises - Standard = Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep Latin = Cha Cha, Rumba, Samba, Paso Doble, Jive.

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Tap Dance

What is tap dance? Merriam-Webster's definition is "A step dance tapped out audibly by means of shoes with hard soles or soles and heels to which taps have been added". There is no doubt that American tap dance originated with the slaves forcibly imported from Africa. Slave owners had a great fear of slave revolts. They knew that the language of the drums had allowed Africans to communicate over long distances in code. For this reason slave masters forbade their slaves to use drums or other native instruments in African religious ceremonies.The slaves, however, were ingenious and retained their traditional rhythms by transferring them to their feet. Very complex rhythmic patterns evolved and a subtle, complex and vibrant form of dance arose.