Richard Powers : Dance Competitions in Stanford, CA | Best DanceSport in Stanford

AccessDance : Contributing Author Showcase

  Richard Powers

Stanford, CA


Thoughts, philosophies and musings on social dance
by Richard Powers, Stanford Dance Division


Going out Dancing

The Three Worlds of Ballroom Dance
Social Dance to Succeed in a Competitive Marketplace
Welcome Chance Intrusions!
Use It or Lose It: Dancing Makes You Smarter
The Worst Thing Is To Miss It
Fred Astaire's advice for partner dancing
Dancing and the Dream State
Flexible Doesn't Mean Sloppy
Conditional Learning - the power of uncertainty
Transcendent Play
The American Spirit of Creativity and Crossover



How-To pages

Some Tips for Teaching Dance
Guidelines for Dance Research and Reconstruction
Suggestions for Choreographing a Dance
Bringing Dances to Life Onstage
How to Be a Better Dance DJ


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Stanford, CA 94305

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Website: http://socialdance.stanford.edu/powers/
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 Learning Center Contributor

The Tango Family Tree
The tango has been popular around the world for over a century. Therefore it has evolved into several different forms over the years. It may be helpful to understand how and why it changed. Over the past century, tango has branched out into three primary forms. We'll look at the family tree of tango from the ground up.
Added to AccessDance National: Thu, September 28, 2017 - Richard Powers

Want to Succeed in a Competitive Marketplace?
Social dance develops the three skills that you need.
Added to AccessDance National: Thu, October 27, 2016 - Richard Powers

The Evolution of English Ballroom Dance Style
In England, partnered dancing is done in a wide variety of styles, both informal and formal, but the most visible and promoted form is what the English call "International Style" ballroom dance, which is based on competition ballroom (DanceSport) technique and styling. This page is a brief look at how and why this style evolved.
Added to AccessDance National: Thu, October 27, 2016 - Richard Powers

Social Dances of the Nineteenth Century
Following the fall of the Ancien Regime in 1789, social dancing became more natural and egalitarian. Both clothing and dancing became less elaborate and restrictive as the rigid formalities of the Baroque ballroom eased.
Added to AccessDance National: Thu, October 27, 2016 - Richard Powers

The Three Worlds of Ballroom Dance
All three forms are valid, each enjoyed by their adherents for good reasons. But it's helpful to know how and why they differ from each other. As you'll see in the third section below, it's sometimes essential to know the differences.
Added to AccessDance National: Thu, October 27, 2016 - Richard Powers

Partnering Before and After the Vote
Closed-couple partner dancing began in the 19th century, when the essential ballroom mindset, in both Europe and America, was selfless generosity, with an emphasis on enhancing the pleasure of your dance partners and the assembled company. Another important part of the original ballroom attitude was a flexible mindset and adapting to your partner.
Added to AccessDance National: Thu, October 27, 2016 - Richard Powers

Social versus Ballroom Dance
Overall I prefer to consider what social and ballroom dance have in common, rather than emphasizing the differences. The two share the same historical roots, the same basic step vocabulary and similar partnering dynamics. In the entire World of Dance, social and ballroom are considered siblings.
Added to AccessDance National: Thu, October 27, 2016 - Richard Powers

Welcome Chance Intrusions!
I once heard this theory: East Coast dancers focus on definitions and rules, categorizing then standardizing the categorization and West Coast dancers focus more on the way dance feels - the subjective experience of dancing. Is this theory true?
Added to AccessDance National: Tue, December 04, 2012 - Richard Powers

Intelligent Dancing
There are many benefits of spontaneous freestyle social dancing. We can dance with partners who have not taken the same classes we have, it's playful, flexible and creative. But there's an additional benefit we don't often hear about: it makes us smarter.
Added to AccessDance National: Tue, December 04, 2012 - Richard Powers

Conditional vs. Absolute Learning : The Power of Uncertainty
How you're first presented a dance has a tremendous impact on how you later dance it, as well as how much you enjoy it. But the specifics of this may surprise you, perhaps being the opposite of what you might expect.
Added to AccessDance National: Tue, December 04, 2012 - Richard Powers

Advice to Dancers by Fred Astaire
Above all, be yourself! Dancing should be a form of self-expression. Whatever else you may do, don't make the mistake of being an unimaginative copyist. Don't be a slave to steps or routines.
Added to AccessDance National: Tue, December 04, 2012 - Richard Powers

Transcendent Play
Many of my points about partnering relate to dance as transcendent play. This is a term used by Diane Ackerman, who wrote a book on "Deep Play". She explores the concept of play from a variety of perspectives: how it is defined, what species participate in it, and the roles it can play in a culture.
Added to AccessDance National: Tue, December 04, 2012 - Richard Powers

The American Spirit of Creativity and Crossover
Americans have long emphasized creative personal expression in their dancing, along with the informal adaptation of steps from one dance into another, known as crossover. It seems that the prototypical American dancer is more intent on bending the rules than adhering to them. I should clarify that I'm not saying that the American approach is better than others, only different.
Added to AccessDance National: Tue, December 04, 2012 - Richard Powers

Going Out Dancing ? Some Suggestions
How to have more fun; how to let your dance partners have more fun.
Added to AccessDance National: Tue, December 04, 2012 - Richard Powers

Partnering Before and After the Vote
The essential quotations are at Great Partnering, but here are some more.
Added to AccessDance National: Tue, December 04, 2012 - Richard Powers

Use It or Lose It: Dancing Makes You Smarter
For centuries, dance manuals and other writings have lauded the health benefits of dancing, usually as physical exercise. More recently we've seen research on further health benefits of dancing, such as stress reduction and increased serotonin level, with its sense of well-being.
Added to AccessDance National: Mon, December 03, 2012 - Richard Powers

Dance Partnering: Everyone Is Different
We celebrate the diversity of people, as a part of the beauty of being human. We come from different backgrounds and experiences, with different ages, genders and ethnicities. Interacting with the diversity of others enriches our lives. We learn and grow from these interactions.
Added to AccessDance National: Mon, December 03, 2012 - Richard Powers

Dance Partnering: Great Partnering
Knowing many dance steps and figures is fun, but the true art of social dancing, and its greatest pleasures, lie in great partnering. As the swing tune goes, "It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it." The nonverbal lead-follow connection between partners is the essence of social dancing. I believe that the best dance partnering is not only a matter of skill, but also of attitude. But first I'd like to clarify that...
Added to AccessDance National: Mon, December 03, 2012 - Richard Powers

Dance Partnering: Sketchy Guys
This is a touchy topic because we don't want to speak dismissively of anyone who loves to dance. However it's an important topic to many women who complain about "sketchy guys" at dances, so that makes it worth discussing.
Added to AccessDance National: Mon, December 03, 2012 - Richard Powers