Foreign Folk Dance

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Tarantella
In Italian culture, the word “tarantella” evokes images of a frenzied spinning dance traditionally played at weddings. However, this popular native dance of Southern Italy has a history and myth spanning several centuries. The dance, originally an Italian folk dance of the lower- and middle-classes, has been labeled as a dance to cure sickness and as a dance of courtship. In the courtship version of the dance, the woman uses rapidity and liveliness to excite the love of her partner. In turn, the man tries to charm her with his agility, elegance and demonstrations of tenderness. The dance is one of unity and separation, which sees dancers flying into each other’s arms only to bound away again Steps of Tarantella

Facing front, cross your right foot in front of the left. Cross your left foot in front of the right. Step your right foot to the side, step your left foot to the side. Repeat this while the woman shakes the tambourine in a clockwise circle in front of her body. Place your hands on your hips, kick the right foot out to the front keeping it low to the ground, then step on the right foot putting weight on it, slightly in front of the left foot. Touch the ball of your left foot to the ground (without putting your full weight on it) then step in place with the right foot. This sequence is called the tarantella step. Repeat this sequence beginning with a left-foot low, front kick. Repeat again beginning right, then repeat once more beginning with the left. Perform this sequence three more times, traveling backward slightly. Face your partner. The woman hits the tambourine to her left shoulder, her left hip, then her right hip. The man holds the tambourine in his left hand and kneels on his right knee, tapping the tambourine for seven counts of music on his right hip. On count eight, tap it twice. The man continues to kneel for eight more counts of music. Meanwhile, the woman places her hands on her hips and dances eight tarantella steps in place. The man remains in the kneeling position for the next 16 counts of music, but with the tambourine now shaking above his head. The woman performs eight Tarantella steps forward in a counterclockwise circle around the kneeling man. Two couples stand opposite each other with right hands reaching center, holding hands, forming a star shape, with left hands holding the tambourines. The couples perform eight tarantella steps simultaneously, the group rotating in a circle clockwise. Clap the tambourine on the last step. Everyone turns to join left hands in the center. Perform the eight tarantella steps again, now turning in the opposite direction. Clap the tambourine on the last step.

Cha Cha
In the Islands of the West Indies, there are certain plants that produce seedpods known as cha-cha. These are used to make a small rattle also known as cha-cha. In Haiti the typical voodoo band consists of three drums, a bell, and a cha-cha. The cha-cha is used by the leader as a guide instrument or "metronome" to set the time in secular dancing as well as in religious music and singing. Thus the dance Cha Cha had its roots in the religious ritual dances of the West Indies. Cha Cha is derived from two other dances, it is a derivative of the Mambo (Mambo is the name of a voodoo priestess) through its Latin music and it is also a stepchild ofSwing (Lindy, as it is danced with a triple step and a break). Steps of Chacha

The Open Basic Movement is the progressive version of the Cha Cha Basic taken in open facing position. A forward break with the left foot (2,3) is followed by a back lock or chasse (4&1), and then a right foot back break (2,3) is followed by a forward lock or chasse (4&1). The figure is normally danced without turn.

The open facing position can employ a variety of holds, such as the standard LH-RH hold (as shown), the RH-RH "handshake" hold, or with no hold at all (apart facing position) Face the woman and place your right hand on her side just below...
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