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The Dance of Love

Posted By: Nneka Opene | Filed under: General | Feb 14, 2017
So what exactly is the dance of love?
While some consider this Argentine tango and others say it is the romantic rumba, there are films about Brazilian zouk as well as a Hindi-language Indian feature film, each titled “The Dance of Love”. So it is quite apparent that the dance of love, much like love itself means different things to different people.


While love for so many can be sparked by a mere look, touch, a feeling, and for others a pre-established bond or connection, dance is all of these things and more. Since most partner dances revolve around a couple’s connection, it makes sense why so many dancers connect so deeply that they fall in love and write their own love story.
While love can be expressed in a number of ways, there’s a few dances that are often thought of  as dances of love. The rumba is one of those that comes to mind for many. The influence of the native rumba dance, originally brought by African slaves to the Caribbean, is all about connection. Basically a pantomimed mating ritual, the man aggressively pursues a woman while she essentially plays hard to get. The African influenced rumba later gave way to a slower, more refined variation called “son”, which eventually evolved into a modified variation now commonly danced today in the ballroom world. First introduced in the U.S. in the 1920′s, then Europe in the 1930′s, and presently danced worldwide, these variations are considered proper ballroom dances.
The Argentine tango has widely been known as the dance of passion, love and hate. This is expressed not only in the dramatic staccato dance steps, but in the music as well. Many traditional songs feature lyrics about tragic heartbreak, and tell stories of sorrow, betrayal and other brooding sentiments. Carlos Gardel‘s first tango song, Mi Noche Triste, from 1917, forever associated tango with tragic love, as described in the lyrics. Whether tragic and brooding or passionate and thrilling, tango, just like love itself, has its ups, downs, and its moments and of darkness and light; yet for those dedicated to the dance, the close body contact of the embrace, sensual feel and romanticized history all lend to it being seen as a dance of love and passion.
Taking it’s name from Caribbean zouk, Brazilian zouk emerged from the lambada dance craze popularized in northern Brazil in the 1980′s. In the lambada’s relatively short time in the spotlight it was once considered so sexy that it was given the label “the forbidden dance”, which also became the title of a 1980′s American film about the dance. The steamy dance style cooled off for some time only to re-emerge at the end of the 20th century with a more modern look and feel. The seductive, gyrating hip movements of the lambada were later replaced with dramatic, flowing contemporary movements. Drawing inspiration from modern, contemporary and even hip hop dance styles, the new face of the genre became more refined, technical and graceful. From the close body contact to the dramatic pauses taken with each step, to the romantic pop and R&B music often used by top pro’s, the intimacy of this dance is like no other. A closer than close connection is necessary just to execute many of the intricate steps which can’t be muscled through. This sexy, romantic dance makes participants feel like they’re falling in love over and over again each time they groove to it.
Ballet is another style in which a good love story is not too hard to find. Considering that attending the ballet is basically a full on theatrical experience, and many of the classic ballets have their roots in Shakespeare and other classical works, it should come as no surprise that many pieces are in fact love stories – albeit often tragic. Some of the most popular tragic ballet love stories are Swan Lake, Madame Butterfly, La Sylphide, Giselle and of course Romeo and Juliet. While many of these stories are filled with accounts of longing, betrayal, sadness and death, they are also strung together by the common theme of love.
Which dances would you most associate with love and romance?

About the author:

Having fearlessly explored every continent, Nneka is multi-lingual and passionate about travel, culture and life. A SDSU alumni, she has worked in KTVU Fox's newsroom, interviewed notable figures and hosted programs for various media outlets. She has also written features for The San Leandro Times and Also a seasoned performer and fitness professional, Nneka holds several fitness certifications, has shared the stage with entertainment icons, and has appeared on various TV Shows.

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