What is The Riverdance ?

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"Riverdance" showcases Irish dance and music.
celtic sign image by Roques Jean Chris from Fotolia.com
"Riverdance" first opened at the Point Theater in Dublin, Ireland in February, 1995. The show is rich in Irish history and has become a saga of its own in the dance and music world.

    Irish History

  1. "Riverdance" tells Irish history. The dance tells the story of Ireland from the rise of Celtic culture, progressing through the immigration to America, to the present day, in which Irish-Americans return home to visit their native land. 
  2. The Music

  3. Bill Whelan composed the music for "Riverdance" and won the 1997 Grammy award for "Best Musical Show Album." The spectacular fiddle performances are the work of Eileen Ivers, who is hailed by "The New York Times" as "the Jimi Hendrix of the violin."
  4. The Dance

  5. "Riverdance" showcases Irish step dancing. Step dancing traces it roots back to pre-Christian Ireland where it was taught by traveling dance masters.
  6. The Stars

  7. Michael Flatley and Jean Butler were the original solo stars of "Riverdance." Michael Flatley went on to produce and star in "Lord of the Dance," "Feet of Flames" and "Celtic Tiger." Jean Butler produced and starred in "Dancing on Dangerous Ground."
  8. Performance History

  9. "Riverdance" first began as a seven-minute performance. The full-length show opened in Dublin to sell-out performances and premiered in the United States at Radio City Music Hall on March 14, 1996. The show celebrated its 5,000th performance in March, 2002. In 2010, the show is performing its Farewell Tour.
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What is Stepping Dance ?

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History : Stepping is a form of dance distinct to both participants and audience. Stepping uses the entire body, including feet, legs, arms, hands and voice, to produce sounds and various beat routines. Stepping is generally done in a very serious formation with two or more people in the troop, and dancers generally complete complex complementary rhythms in their routines. Stepping has a long and rich history, and is very popular among cultures that trace their lineage back to Africa throughout the the world.

    Early Roots

    Khaleelah Jones, September 2008: Welly Gumboot Dance in South Africa
    Khaleelah Jones, September 2008: Welly Gumboot Dance in South Africa
  1. Stepping began by drawing on a combination of military drill exercises, African foot dances that used the entire body as an element of expression and articulation, and popular dance moves and routines from the early 1960s.
  2. Significant Sources of Inspiration

  3. Particular sources of inspiration can be found in the Welly "Gumboot" Dance, a popular dance for South Africans, who perform routines heavy in whole body articulation in Wellington Boots, called "gumboots" in South Africa. R&B dance sensations the Temptations have also been cited as a source for stepping, as their routines in the 1970s were heavily whole-body ordeals, making rhythms with all parts of their bodies on stage.
  4. Moving into Modern Times

  5. In the late '80s and '90s, African American fraternities and sororities starting using stepping as a way to build brother or sisterhood. Stepping is very intensely about listening, teamwork and skill building, and became popular among Greek organizations that stressed these traits in its members (Johnson 2007). Stepping became very popular as these Greek organizations began competing with one another in local and national competitions open to spectators who were amazed by the order and rhythm of step.
  6. Popularizing Step in the Late '90s

  7. Since the beginning of step competitions, step has become more popular. Now, step can be seen not only live but on movies, TV shows and in other popular media. Many movies have been made centered around step, such as "Drumline" (2002) and "Stomp the Yard" (2007), and the television show "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" featured an episode with a step team.
  8. Moving Into the 21st Century

  9. Major television station BET has begun airing step competitions. Step has also become an accepted form of dance, as dancers on "America's Next Dance Crew" and "So You Think You Can Dance" compete using step routines.
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The lion dance is an important tradition in Asia, especially in China. Lion dancing experts with the National Freestyle Championship Series say the Chinese people regard the lion as a symbol of bravery and peace, and the loud banging music and firecrackers are meant to scare away evil. The lion dance is believed to bring good luck and happiness. The lion dance is performed during festive occasions such as the Chinese New Year, weddings and grand openings of businesses.

    History

  1. According to the National Freestyle Championship Series, lions were introduced into China when Persia began trading with China nearly 2,000 years ago. At that time, the ambassador from Persia sent lions and other animals to the emperor of China as a gift. After the introduction, there are several different stories about the origin of the lion dance.
  2. The Goddess

  3. The New World Encyclopedia says the lion dance originated in China sometime during the Tang Dynasty, between 618 to 907. According to the encyclopedia, in this version, there was a lion in heaven that was curious, playful and often caused mischief. According to this story, the Jade Emperor was annoyed, had the lion's head chopped off and threw the remains down to Earth. Fortunately, the goddess of mercy saw what happened. According to the story, she went to Earth and tied the lion's head back onto his body with an enchanted red ribbon---which she said would protect the lion and frighten away evil spirits.
  4. The Emperor's Dream

  5. Another popular story about the history of the lion dance is that it originated from an emperor's dream. The Ling Nam Siu Lum Kung Fu Academy on Long Island says around 700 A.D., the emperor had a dream in which he was saved by a mysterious creature. He was told that the creature resembled a Western lion. After that, the lion became a symbol of good luck and prosperity.
  6. The Monk

  7. The Lieu Quan Lion Dance Team in Washington tells another story about the history of the lion dance. In this one, every day at noon, a lion would come down from the mountains to terrorize the people of a small village. The people of the village called a high-ranked monk to help them. He told them to get pots, pans and kettles to make noise and scare the lion the next time he came down. It worked. Then, as the lion ran away from the noise, the monk followed it back up the mountain to train it. A week later, the monk said he tamed the mountain with his magical fan and that the lion would only come down during the new year, to scare away evil spirits and bring joy, happiness and prosperity.
  8. The Protector

  9. In addition, there are many variations of a story that has the lion as a protector. The New World Encyclopedia says some of the stories tell of cases where the lion saved people from danger. Others tell of people dressing up like a lion to scare away a ferocious creature, or of a lion defeating an enemy king.
  10. Fun Fact

  11. According to the encyclopedia and other sources, people watching traditional Chinese dances sometimes confuse lion and dragon dances. Lion dances are done with two dancers. Dragon dances are performed by three or more people.
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Ballet Birthday Party-Any age
This party plan can be tailored to fit any age.
Party Prep:
Pick up balloons filled with helium, and tie with long ribbon. Let the balloons fly up to the ceiling of the party room, and let the ribbons hang down. Purchase your choice of ballerina theme party decorations such as a ballet slipper piñata. Get small pink gift bags for party favors. Fill the bags with lip-gloss, plastic rings, and pink candy. Create tu tus for the guests. You can find tulle or other martial to make a simple tu tu at any fabric store. Cut a strip of fabric, and glue or sew a ribbon on the top to fasten the tu tu around the waist. On invitations, ask guests to wear a leotard, tights, ballet slippers, or similar comfortable shoes.
At the party:
As the guests arrive, give the children a pink tu tu to go over their leotard. Have an older student or local instructor give a simple lesson. There are also many ballet tapes for children. You can get one, and help guide the children. Have the children take a picture with their instructor. Serve a lunch tea party style. Use small pink plates, napkins, plastic teacups, and pink plastic utensils.
Menu:
Pink punch, sandwiches cut into a ballet slipper shape with a cookie cutter, berry muffins with jam, and fruit salad.
Cake:
Have a bakery create a ballet slipper cake with pink frosting. Serve with strawberry and vanilla ice cream. When the guests leave, tie a balloon to their party favor bags!
Sesame Street Disco Party 4-7 years
Invitation:
create a CD on your computer of some of your child’s favorite songs. Fold paper into the DC case with all the details about the party. Parent can rent Sesame Street costumes and be the main dancers. Cover the walls of the party room in black plastic sheeting (available at any hardware store), and you can even put up strobe lights to get the disco effect. You can paint shapes and designs on the sheeting. Use white paint so it shows up with the strobe lights. When the guests arrive, give the girls feather boas and the boys top hats and gallery bow ties.
Menu:
Finger foods and juice served in plastic test tube glasses (available at any dollar store).
Party favors:
A small gift bag filled with musical instrument erasers, pencils, and a small musical instrument (maracas, drum, or a tambourine, etc.). Put on the CD and have a dance party with both parents and children!
Disco Diva Dance Party 7-9Years
Prep work:
Choose bright theme colors, such as bright pink and orange. Prints such as polka dots and zebra strips are also fun to mix in. Use these colors and patterns to create balloon arrangements, and other decorations such as table coverings and plastic dishes, paper plates, napkins, party favors, etc. Record your child’s favorite songs on a CD for use at the party and even as invitations. Mail out the CDs with an invitation in bubble wrap envelopes. These envelopes can be found in fun colors as well! You can use the CD jewel case to insert the invitation details. Use your color scheme to create a DISCO DANCE DIVAS! sign for your living room, or wherever the party will be held. You can ask the families invited to have their child arrive in their favorite dance clothes, or you can use a dance outfit as a party favor. You can find inexpensive outfits or accessories at the dollar store or a discount store. Another option is to make t-shirts.
Hint:
Post-Halloween sales are a great time to stock up on costumes and party accessories! Find discounted party supplies: Oriental trading www.orientaltrading.com You can use a separate room in the house as a dressing room. After changing into their costumes, it is time for hair and makeup. If you have boys at the party, they can choose to have their hair done or play a game while the girls get done up. Use brightly colored make up and glitter powder.
Project time:
Create something for the costume such as a beaded necklace, bracelet, or vest.
Time to dance:
Divide the children up in groups and send them to different rooms to put together their own dance routine! Have a parent in each room to help out. Send a CD player with each group (guests can bring more are needed) and choose a song from the party CD for each group. Give them 30 minutes to come up with a routine. Then, have everyone come back to the main party room and show off their routines. Videotape and then do group pictures. After the performance, the children can watch the dances on TV while they have a pizza dinner. You can set out a large mat or tablecloths on the floor for dinner.
Party favor ideas:
Use brightly colored gift bags and fill them with dance and party related gifts such as; candy, body glitter, plastic rings, body jewels, lip gloss, etc. Tapes of the performance can be sent out as thank you notes. The memories, video, and CDs can be enjoyed long after the party!
Cheerleading Birthday Party 8-11 Years
Make pennant shaped invitations out of construction paper. Include time, date, and include that dressing up is optional.
At the Party:
Take felt material, and cut it in to a pennant shape. Glue on ribbon and foam sick-ons, which are available in cheerleading shapes. Hire a cheerleader from your local high school to teach a couple of cheers! Set up a concession stand. Use a plastic tablecloth, and write concession stand in permanent marker. Serve pizza and sub sandwiches. Put snacks, like chips, into a megaphone. They can be found at party stores. Choose team colors. You can use your local high school team colors, or choose your own. Get all your decorations in those colors. Make a cake in the shape of a megaphone! The cake can be cut into a shape after they have cooled. Then, after cake, the partygoers can perform their cheers for the adult
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The rhythm that a consistent dance regimen provides for a dancer helps build and maintain the muscles that are used in dance. For both aspiring professionals and recreational dancers, maintaining a daily, let alone a weekly or monthly dance practice regimen can be a real challenge. This is especially true for those that are too busy studying or making ends meet to devote a lot of time to dance.  

Caroline Holden, dance teacher and Pilates instructor at the Stoughton Center for Performing Arts, took a few minutes to answer some common questions dancers face regarding dance practice and maintaining fitness. 

Q: What should professionals, students, and recreational dancers do to maintain health and fitness during down time?
A: Resting is paramount for any athlete. Muscles need to recover. That being said, keeping the body stretched and strengthened is important. Pilates and yoga are good examples of regiments that keep the body stretched and strengthened. As most dance is anaerobic, an aerobic exercise regimen is also recommended for overall health. 

Q: What do competitive dancers and aspiring professionals lose during extended breaks from dance training and practice, and what can dancers do to maintain muscle strength during extended breaks between practices and/or performances?
A: Muscle length and strength are easily lost. However, keep in mind that it takes two times as long to lose muscle as it takes to gain it. Eat lean proteins and stretch and strengthen. 

Q: What exercises do you recommend for those that have very little time to dance regularly?
A: Every dancer will have exercises that suit them best. Ask your dance teacher, "If I only have five minutes, what exercises would be best for my body?"

Q: What muscles benefit from dance? What muscles get the most work/stress put on them during dance? What dances are the most physically taxing?
A: Ballet required turn-out which is not a natural position for the body to hold. If ballet positions are done incorrectly they can and will damage the joints of the leg as well as the hips. That said, dancers tend to overtax their hip flexors and glutes. The entire body benefits from dance training –especially the muscles of the leg.

 Q: What dances, exercises, and stretches are good and necessary for warm-up?
A: Pilates, footwork (tondires etc.), developés, are all part of a traditional warm up for ballet, jazz, and modern dancers. Many teachers expect a dancer to be slightly warm and stretched before they begin class in order for class to be most beneficial. 

Q: What foods should dancers avoid during periods of extended rest?
A: Dancers are fueling their instrument. You get out what you put in. Be mindful. Lean proteins are always recommended.  
Read More "How to Health and Fitness for Dancers"


The history of the Viennese Waltz is not as polished and clean as the clothes and faces of those who participate in this competitive dance form. Birthed in the modest inns at the outskirts of Austrian cities and 18th century Austrian society, the Viennese Waltz was an assault to the sensibilities of the more gentle population. It was performed in a spry 3/4 time signature with couples holding each other at no significant distance. In addition to this scandalous dance position, the rotary motion of the waltz at such a fast tempo resulted in the gasp-inducing revelation of women's ankles under their heavy skirts.

But time, politics and music proved to be fodder for the popularity of the Viennese Waltz, which was deemed an acceptable court dance at the Congress of Vienna, an assembly that was held between November of 1814 and June of 1815. This parliamentary nod also signaled a "transition from court culture to bourgeois culture" for the Viennese Waltz, Heikki Lempa states in her book "Beyond the Gymnasium." This movement from exclusivity to accessibility ultimately helped bolster this dance form's popular reputation, as did the compositions of Joseph Lanner. Lanner was credited with aiding this cross-caste shift by creating music that detracted from the Viennese Waltz's humble beginnings. His compositions were not only an accompaniment to the dance but were beautiful creations in their own right. Waltz master composers such as Johann Strauss I and his son Johann Strauss II also elevated the state of the Viennese Waltz through music.

Through the centuries, the popularity of the Viennese Waltz has had its ups and downs, finding a steady state as a dance staple.  Today, the term "Viennese Waltz" refers to the up-tempo waltz, while the "Boston" is its slow-paced counterpart which is commonly referred to solely as "waltz." The Viennese Waltz is recognized as a competitive and social dance with competition in the International and American styles. The International Style Viennese Waltz is danced in a closed position with allowable techniques relying on rotary motion, pivoting and changes.  Hesitations, Hovers and Contracheck are also acceptable. The American Style Viennese Waltz is open to greater interpretation both in position and movement.
Read More "The History of Viennese Waltz"

Indonesia Arts and Cultures

Posted by Rio Rinaldi | 7:46 PM | | 0 komentar »

Dance

Almost all of the islands of Indonesia have their own dance styles, but those best known are from Bali and Java. Dance and drama are practically inseparable, and performances are almost always accompanied by gamelan music.

Dancers take their art very seriously and practice for endless hours, usually from childhood, under the oversight of an expert. Unlike western style of dance, Indonesian dances are precise, jerky and at times, abrupt. They are also very expressive, with every fiber of the dancer involved, including the eye movements and finger twitches. Every dance tells a story, often a tale from the Hindu epic, Ramayana

Bali is known for several prominent dances, and there are several other lesser known styles of dance as well, but all tell a story and to a greater or lesser degree, involve dramatic portrayal of a character in the story, sometimes while in a trance. 

More than just an entertaining performance, the Barong & Rangda dance is a colorful and lively drama. The barong, a strange lion-shaggy dog creature that is operated much like the two-man circus horse, is the protector of a village and personifies good. Rangda is the evil widow witch. There are also barong supporters, men flailing dagger-like krises. Although the barong is playful and jovial, once Rangda makes her attacking appearance, he becomes the protector and battles, along with the retaliating kris-armed men. Rangda puts the men in a trance and they turn the daggers on themselves. The barong's magical powers see to it that the men are not harmed in the process. Amid the crashing din of the gamelan accompaniment, good and evil battle. The barong triumphs and Rangda finally retreats in defeat.

The Legong dance is considered to be the most graceful of the Balinese dances. There are several kinds of Legong dances, but the most commonly performed is the Legong Kraton (Palace Legong). In this dance there are three performers, two legongs and a condong, who is the attendant of the royal legongs. The condong introduces the dance and then exits the stage. Then enters the two legongs who are tightly clad in golden brocade and elaborately made up. They dance in exact formation to gamelan accompaniment. The performance ends when the condong enters with golden wings, as a bird of bad fortune, signifying that the king will die in battle.
For tourists, the best known Balinese dance is the Kecak

This is an performance that tells a story of intrigue and romance from the Ramayana. The a cappella chorus of bare-chested men wearing black-and-white checkered sarongs and hibiscus flowers behind their ears chant the distinctive "chak-chak-chak" with intensity, which is distinctive of this dance. These men constitute an army of monkeys. Both men and women participate in this dance, playing, among others, the characters of Prince Rama, his abducted wife Sita, and the evil King Lanka. As in all Balinese performances, in the end, good triumphs over evil.

The Ramayana story is also performed in several dances of Central Java, the most well known is the Ramayana Ballet, which is performed in an open-air theater from May through October. The Wayang Topeng is a dance drama where the characters use masks, dating back to the Majapahit kingdom. The masked characters are identifiable in the same manner as they are in Wayang Kulit puppet performances. The refined and elongated features denote nobility, whereas the exaggerated and grotesque characteristics indicate the vulgar players.

The Topeng dance of Bali, however, is quite different. The word topeng means "pressed against the face," hence the masks. The Balinese Topeng masks are brightly painted, exaggerated and expressive human faces. The variety of characters indicated by the masks are acted out by a single performer. The stories are often drawn from the chronicles of Balinese history, but comedy, as well as topics dealing with current social issues may be mixed into the performance. The dancer usually chants and speaks only in the Balinese language.
Music
Indonesian gamelan music is the best known Indonesian music. This instrumental ensemble music played on a variety of metal pots, gongs, and drums (the word gamelan refers to the collection of instruments themselves) has enchanted first-time listeners (including Sir Francis Drake who visited Java in 1580) with its blend of exotic modality and shimmering timbre. Said to have been created by a Javanese king in the 3rd century, the gamelan has retained its ceremonial function in the royal courts of Java and Bali, while evolving into a modern folk form. 

In recent years there has been a remarkable surge of American and European interest in gamelan music. Buying a ticket to Indonesia to attend a live concert is no longer necessary, as many major universities have their own ensembles. A listing of gamelan music groups in the United States can be found in the Explorers' Room.

Despite its high profile across the world, the gamelan is not representative of all Indonesian music. Among the many different music styles from the various cultures across this maritime continent, two other major music types that have become common are kroncong and dangdut.

he roots of kroncong music date back to the 16th century when sailors brought Portuguese instruments and melodies to Indonesia. The ensemble typically consists of plucked string instruments (kroncong is the name of a ukulele-like instrument), a flute, and a female singer. Over the steadily plucked arpeggios that provide the harmonic backdrop, the singer croons languidly of love, yearning, sadness, and the beauty of the countryside, as the flute flits up and down the scales in free-improvisational flight. Although the instruments and the singing style are clearly descended from European origins, the chord progression provides an unsettling flavor to the songs. The langgam jawa, a regional variation, uses Javanese gamelan scales.

Dangdut is far more popular today, and it can be heard blaring from the loudspeakers of bemos (minivans used for public transport), storefront TV sets tuned to the music video channel, and, at night, from karaoke bars. As in rock music, there is a fairly wide range of music that gets classified as dangdut. The instrumentation and song forms of today's dangdut are obviously influenced by rock music, but it has its roots in orkes melayu, a music style that combined Malay and Western elements, as well as in Indian film music and urban Arab pop.

Arts
The Indonesian arts are clearly reflective of the overlaying of different religious influences, as well as intermingling of many different ethnic cultures from across the archipelago. Animist traditions are evident in the tribal art found in carving, pottery and weaving crafts. Javanese and Balinese art is strongly influenced by their Hindu-Buddhist roots. With the restrictions against human or animal representations, Islam has caused artists to become more stylized in their approach.

Woodcarving is the most widespread medium of artistic expression across the Indonesian islands. There are as many styles as there are cultures. Many carvings are deeply steeped in religious and spiritistic practices, but they can also serves a decorative function. All manner of objects are heavily carved from wood, including temple doors, furniture, totem poles, statutes and masks. With the influx of the tourism industry, artist are rising to the demand and forming new styles purely for ornamental purposes. This has been clearly seen in Bali where years ago woodcarvers began making beautifully smooth, simple, elongated designs with a natural finish.

There is a great variety in the techniques, colors, materials and design of Indonesian textiles. The three main groups are ikat, which is made with tie-dyed patterns on threads before they are woven; songket, which produces a showy fabric using silver and gold threads woven into silk; and batik, which alternates waxed designs with the dyeing process. 
 Within each of these textile groups there is distinctive regional variety of technique and pattern.

The well-known shadow puppets of Java and Bali, the wayang kulit, are made of leather. They are cut from buffalo hide and carved into lace-like figures using a sharp stylus, and then painted. Other puppet styles include the three-dimensional Sundanese wayang golek made of wood, and the lesser known and seldom seen flat wooden klitik puppets of East Java.

Beautiful silver jewelry is produced both in Bali and Central Java. The Balinese designs are usually handmade of both traditional designs and those adapted by copying western styles. The Javanese silver designs are known for their intricate filigree work both with jewelry and decorative models.

Balinese painting styles flourished after World War I with the influence of western artists Walter Spies and Rudolph Bonnet. Before that time, traditional paintings were used to decorate temple walls and were quite limited in style and theme, usually similar to the wayang kulit two-dimensional view. With the westerners' influence, subject matters embraced single scenes from everyday life and the expanded use of color and varying styles. Painting emerged as a stand-alone art form, and not just a way to decorate temple spaces, which was a new concept to the Balinese at the time.
Religion
When Indonesia proclaimed its independence in 1945, it adopted freedom of religion. However, today it is almost exclusively a Muslim country. Indonesia is, in fact the largest Muslim nation in the world, and the vast majority practice a moderate form of Islam. But there is also a small minority of other religions present.
bulletMuslim: 88%
bulletChristian (Protestant and Catholic): 10%
bulletHindu and Buddhist: 2%
About 2,000 years ago, villages in Java developed into small kingdoms made up of several villages with a chief. Each small kingdom developed its own variation of ethnic and tribal religion. These early Indonesians were animists and practiced ancestor worship, as well as spiritism. Over time, social and religious duties were refined into a code of behavior, or adat.

During a period of almost 700 years, these developing kingdoms had close trade ties with India, which eventually fostered the Hindu civilization that took root in Indonesia, overlaying the existing religious animism and adat. It is believed by some historians that Hindu priests from India were invited to advise the new Indonesian kings, providing occult powers and a mythological basis from which to rule. Buddhist influence was also added to the cultural mix by way of Chinese traders who still wielded notable influence.

Cultural influences from both India and China were mixed in. Significant Buddhist influence can be seen in Javanese architecture of the 8th and 9th centuries, such as is found in the huge monument of the Borobudur temple. Yet the most outstanding example of Hindu art can be found nearby in the largest Hindu temple complex in Java, namely Prambanan.
Marco Polo, who was the first European to visit Indonesia.

Around the year 1290 he stopped at northern Sumatra on his way back from a visit to Kublai Khan's court in China. He noted that even though the people of Sumatra were generally idol worshippers, "many of those who dwell in the seaport towns have been converted to the religion of Mohammed." The spread of Islam came by means of the visiting merchants from the Persian Gulf and India, with some of them settling in the Strait of Malacca, the primary trade channel in Southeast Asia.

The local rulers accepted the teachings of Mohammed and the Qur'an, as did their subjects. Interestingly, there was no clean break with the past, since Muslim mosques were built using Hindu-Javanese architectural style. In fact, throughout Indonesian history, the division between cultures and overlaid religions has never been clear.
It is believed that the first Muslims may have already been in Indonesia as early as the 11th century. By the 15th century, Islam spread from west to east, overtaking many of the Indonesian islands during the century-long decline of the Majapahit kingdom, which was said to be the greatest of all Indonesian Hindu kingdoms, controlling most of the archipelago. Indonesia has remained primarily Muslim to this day, with the exception of the small island of Bali, where the Javanese Hindu prince fled when Islam overtook Java.

Christianity also arrived with the steady march of the Europeans who have had some influence into modern times. During the Suharto take-over in 1965, citizens were forced to claim a religion. If one did not have a religion, they were considered Communist, and Communists were executed. That meant that many Chinese took on Christianity, which only served to fuel the conflict between them and the indigenous Indonesians. Conflicts between Christians and Muslims still flare up in certain parts of Indonesia, but more commonly co-exist side-by-side. The island of Flores is mostly Christian, as well as some enclaves in the Moluccas and on Kalimantan. However, Indonesia remains primarily Muslim and claims its place as the most populous Muslim nation in the world.

People
As a nation of islands large and small over a vast area, Indonesia's citizens are made up of a multitude of separate island peoples resulting in an extremely diverse cultural and linguistic mosaic. A staggering 300 ethnic groups and over 365 languages and dialects are still alive and well among the large population of over 217 million people. It is therefore appropriate that the national motto Bhimeka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity) was adopted by the Indonesian government.
 
A melting pot of sorts, making it vaguely similar to the United States in this way, the heritage of the Indonesian people is not often easily defined. Many have at least some Malay heritage, originating in China. 
But Indonesia also includes isolated tribes, some with origins from Sri Lanka, or scattered pockets of indigenous dark-skinned people, such as those of the Dani tribe on the eastern island of Irian Jaya. Because of the influence of traveling Chinese and Arab merchants, as well as the successive invasions by the Portuguese, Spanish, English, and finally the Dutch, who held colonial domination over Indonesia for many years, in reality there are many nations mixed into the modern-day Indonesian bloodline.
The major ethnic groups that can be found on the two most populated islands of Java and Bali are the Javanese, Sundanese, Balinese and Overseas Chinese. The following is a bit of information on each group.

Javanese – This is the largest and most dominant ethnic group in Indonesia. Yogyakarta, located in Central Java, is the center of Javanese culture, as well as an eclectic university town and popular tourist destination. The majority of Javanese people today are Muslim, but their culture owes much to animism as well as Hinduism.

As is true with many of the cultural groups in Indonesia, the Javanese also have their own language. It is quite complex when compared to the more easily learned national language of Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian). The Javanese language has nine levels ranging from low to high, reflecting status, age and familiarity between speakers. There are regional variations too. The Javanese language of East Java is more course and generally considered less respectful than that spoken in Central Java. In Central Java, politeness and good manners are highly regarded. Loud displays of emotion are considered quite rude. Thus, the Javanese are known for their indirectness and deference to authority in order to avoid negative, embarrassing or uncomfortable feelings. This trait stems from the Hindu court traditions of pre-Islamic influence.
 
It is not uncommon for Javanese people to use one name, although at times a common family name is chosen in upper class families. The Javanese are also known for world-famous arts, such as batik fabrics, gamelan percussion orchestral music, and the adapted Indian legend-based stories presented in shadow puppet plays known as wayang kulit.
Sundanese – The Sundanese people are primarily found in West Java and are the second largest ethnic group in Indonesia. Though less formal and indirect in their etiquette than the Javanese in the central part of the island, they are quite down to earth in nature. The Sundanese are now primarily Islamic, but much Hindu and animism influences remain. They share many similarities with the Javanese, such as their language. Though distinctly different, it is hierarchical based on age and status, which affects the level of speech.
The Sundanese version of Javanese shadow puppet plays is done with three-dimensional wooden puppets, called wayang golek. While the Javanese are known for their gamelan music (a variety of xylophone-type percussion instruments), the Sundanese are known for their suling or flute music. Spiritism is also interwoven into Sundanese culture, including belief in sorcery and magic.

Balinese – As the name indicates, these are the people of Bali, the famed tourist island paradise. Bali conjures visions of steaming volcanoes, vibrant tropical greenery, breath-taking ocean cliffs and long white and black sand beaches. The Balinese people are no less exotic than their island. Indonesia was predominantly Hindu before the spread of Islam. Bali is the only remaining Hindu island in the nation. To this day, the Balinese people have a strong connection to village life, even those who have moved to the city for employment or to work in the tourist center of Kuta at the South of the island. Village life is highly organized and land ownership and use are of prime concern.
 
Family status in Bali is reflected in names, which is reminiscent of the old Hindu caste system. Often children are named according to birth order. The main castes in Bali are: Brahman, the priestly class who use the title Ida Bagus (male) or Ida Ayu (female). Next is the Satria, who often use the name Agung Gede in their name and were the former ruling class. Then there is the Wesya, who were former lower nobility and sometimes use the title Gusti. Finally, the most common caste is the Sudra. Usually the first four children are named in the following order if born into this caste: Wayan, Made, Nyoman and Ketut, regardless of gender. The Balinese naming system is complex and not easily understood from a Western standpoint, but hopefully this brief review will give a flavor for some of the more common names in Bali.

The primary religion on Bali is a hybrid form of Hinduism and Buddhism, which borrows much of its intricate ritual and drama from Indian Hinduism, but is also uniquely mixed with animism, where it is believed that the gods dwell in the mountains, particularly Mount Agung, the tallest mountain on Bali. Gunung Agung, as it is called by the Balinese, is really one of several active volcanoes on the island. Bali has been called "The Island of the Gods" and this is not only believed seriously by the Balinese, but many Indonesians across the archipelago believe that this island has special powers and is sacred.

The daily lives of the Balinese revolve around their religion, which includes many festivals tied to the village temples. Each village has three main temples: Origin Temple, Village Temple and Death Temple. Each Balinese family also has a temple in their home. This family temple is to honor ancestors and is used for prayer and small daily offerings. Bali's many festivals also serve as a main cultural attraction for tourists to the island. Almost daily processions in traditional festival attire, with colorful, decorative offerings to the gods en tow, as well as frequent full-costume dance performances and Balinese gamelan music are as exotic as the tropical island setting itself.

Overseas Chinese – The Chinese are the most important ethnic minority in Indonesia. They make up less than 3% of the total population and are primarily found living in the port cities of Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan. No other immigrants have had a greater impact on the Indonesian economy. They have been very successful businesspeople and are by far the most prosperous ethnic group in the country. This fact alone causes much anti-Chinese sentiment from other ethnic groups in Indonesia.

The Dutch also had a hand in the immigration and success of the Chinese, encouraging them as an entrepreneurial middle class. Unfortunately, the Chinese are therefore viewed as an over-privileged group and there has even been legal discrimination against their culture, such as with the banning of Chinese language literature and schooling, as well as making it difficult for Chinese people to become Indonesian citizens.

Despite social prejudices, many Chinese have taken on Indonesian names, speak Indonesian, and are slowly blending into Indonesian society. There are now many generations of Overseas Chinese, as they are called, who view Indonesia as home along with all of the other diverse peoples of Indonesia. In recent years, the Chinese-influenced culture is being accepted more and more, such as the government recognizing and accepting the celebration of the Chinese New Year.
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How to Striptease Dance ?

Posted by Rio Rinaldi | 4:16 PM | | 1 komentar »


Understanding the Relationship between Striptease Dancing and Fitness

Let’s face it, there’s something highly sensual and alluring about any striptease dance that’s done properly. Even if it’s just a short tease that’s a few minutes long, most people will tell you that the woman who knows how to move her body in a seductive way while teasing is able to get even the slowest pulse to racing and regular temperatures up to boiling.

Perhaps you’ve always secretly admired the way that the professionals do it and wondered what their secret is. Maybe you’ve even been a little jealous at that way they make their hips swerve and curve and the passion they put into giving pleasure to those who are watching. You may just be interested in putting a little spice into your own relationship.

As you may already know, there is a definite relationship that exists between striptease dancing and fitness. Make no mistake about it. Women who do striptease dancing as a profession are credited with having some of the most beautiful bodies in the world and it’s no accident! Striptease dancing is designed to help you work muscles that you may not have used in awhile.

Striptease dancing is sometimes regarded by some as ‘sinful’ because there is a seductive nature to the dancing. There is nothing illicit, illegal or immoral about striptease dancing.

You may be thinking, well, striptease dancing looks hard, I don’t think I can do it. Not true! With a little practice and dedication to perfecting your style, you can learn this expressive form of dancing in no time. What’s more important is that you’ll be excited when you look in the mirror and start to see the dynamic curves that appear as the excess pounds start to melt away.

Ready to take a closer look at the relationship between striptease dancing and fitness? Then it’s time to get into the act and start on the road to your own level of peak fitness with this expressive, artistic, creative and unique form of dancing that demands performance of muscles and gives you the body you deserve!
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Tap Dancing Magic

Posted by Rio Rinaldi | 4:10 PM | | 0 komentar »

Enjoying Tap Dancing Magic
You may already have a wealth of wonderful memories when it comes to tap dancing. There’s something about watching the magic that happens when those feet start to tap that literally takes your breath away. From the moment an audience is drawn to the floor where some of the most amazing melodies of the feet are created to the very last tap or stomp of the performance, many times we are riveted to the screen or the individual on the stage.

Tap dance has been an enjoyable pastime for many people for years. Children who admire tap have often creative attempted to emulate tap shoes with their own homemade versions with thumb tacks inserted into the bottom of the toes of their shoes. Although this is not a safe practice for many types of shoes, for thicker soled types, it has given children the opportunity to create their own tap magic on the sidewalks, in the basement and sometimes to the chagrin of their parents, nicely finished wood floors in their homes.

Tap dancing greats like Savion Glover, Gregory Hines, Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly have given us performances time after time that we have applauded with standing ovations. In movie theaters we’ve gone back again and again to see their feats and watch in near unbelief as they have defied what seems to be the logic of gravity with their moves.

Do you remember the first time you saw an excellent tap dancing performance? Perhaps you were a child and found yourself riveted to the performance. If so, then you most likely stared with starry eyes and wondered how they made it seem as if they were dancing on air. It was a wonder to behold just to see them dance from one side of the stage to the other and back again without ever missing a beat. And if you were lucky, the audience rose to their feet, clapped and cheered so long that the dancer would return to the stage and perform again. That’s if you were lucky.
Tap dancing today is regarded as one of the most interesting forms of dance in existence. People of all ages and sizes can participate in this form of dance that lets you start with the simplest of moves of the feet. A toe tapping delight for those who like to get into it, tap dancing can take it to the next level with feats that require significant practice to accomplish.

There is no question that there’s something about the professional dancer who comes out in front of a crowd to perform that he or she is enjoying what they do. From the young, talented artists today like singer/performer Mya to the greats of days gone by, the smile on their face and the beat in their feet makes you want to get into the act and enjoy yourself.
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