Friday, April 24

What a Wonderful World

Earth Day is a holiday much different than other well known holidays.  It is a day that actually benefits the world around us and teaches us to appreciate the place we live our lives and not take it for granted.  There are so many ways to give back to the Earth and on this day we try to express our gratitude for having such a wonderful resource at our fingertips. 

Earth Day is only one day but you can "celebrate" it every day just by doing a few simple things to help the Earth stay clean and fresh.

1) Ride your bike to class (or work).
There is so much pollution emitted from buses and cars.  Even cars that are better for the environment use up gas and we all know that is a resource that may run out at any moment.  Riding your bike has so many benefits.  It gives you exercise which is beneficial because you are actually going somewhere instead of running in place on a treadmill.  It definitely saves gas money because you don't use any!  Riding your bike also allows you to discover new paths to take each time you go somewhere and it can be a refreshing way to relieve stress when you are returning home.  You can just take a leisurely peddle through a bike path.

2) Save electricity.
Energy Star really does a great job of having energy saving products available to the community.  They have compact fluorescent light bulbs which use about 40% less energy than regular bulbs. They also make washers, refrigerators, and even computers that use less energy than the regular product.  You can also always save electricity by turning off the lights when you aren't in the room!

3) Use less water.
Your parents always told you to turn off the water when you brush your teeth but how many of you actually did that?  I know I didn't.  I know now that it really helps save water but I couldn't care less when I was younger.  By turning off the water when you brush your teeth and taking shorter showers, we can save billions of gallons of water a day.

4) Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
Probably the most well-known but under-utilized phrase around.  We all know it but we don't always follow its simple advice.  So many bottles are thrown away in the trash just because people cannot find a recycling bin.  It really makes a difference.  Also, if you don't want that bottle to end up in a landfill, make sure you take off the cap before you recycle it.  Reuse bottles and containers as much as you can.  I know they say plastic bottles develop germs when they are reused but if you only use them a couple of times, such as filling them up the same day you opened them, the benefits outweigh any chances of getting sick.  

Take time today and every day to re-evaluate what you do to help keep our Earth clean.

Monday, April 20

Dance Like No One's Watching

I envy people who can dance. And I don't just mean bopping back and forth at a party dancing. I'm talking about full-on leaping, twirling, professional dancing. Any time I see a movie or TV show that comes out about dancing, I have to go see it because I know even if it's not that great of a movie, the dancing will be really awesome. After the movie is over, I am left sitting there wishing so badly that I could dance like the stars in the movie. Wednesday, April 22nd is National Dance Day so bust out your dancing shoes and start moving!

Dancing is an art form. It has been around since the beginning of time and has many different purposes throughout history. It's original purpose was as a method of storytelling. People would use different movements to represent different words. It allowed stories to be passed down to generations before there was any kind of written language. This tradition is still carried on through the Hawaiian form of dancing called hula dancing. Each hand movement represents a word and the dance as a whole tells a story to the audience.

There are so many different styles of dance that even if your career is in dance, it would be very hard to master each one, so usually dancers have a specialty dance style that they spend most of their time working on. Some of the major forms of dancing include: ballroom, ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, modern, swing, country and western, belly dance, flamenco, Latin, and folk dancing, to name a few. All of those styles originated from different parts of the world and when you see each type performed the culture comes out.

A few years ago, a man by the name of Judson Laipply performed a dance routine called the "Evolution of Dance". It spread across the internet in weeks and has millions of views on YouTube. In the dance Judson shows the more modern side of dancing, spanning over the last century or so. From disco to hip-hop and pop to interpretive, he shows it all in a hilarious compilation of dances and songs throughout the ages.

One of my favorite shows to watch during the summer is called “So You Think You Can Dance” and it is just filled with talented dancers.  It’s kind of like American Idol for dancing.  The show incorporates a bunch of dance styles from hip-hop to ballroom to interpretive dance to Broadway.  Each contestant gets a partner each week and they do a dance with them as well as a solo dance.  All of the dancers are so talented but obviously only one contestant can win in the end.  My friend and I always tape the shows and watch our favorite dances over because some of them are just extraordinary. 

If I had the chance, I would definitely take dance lessons and try to become a phenomenal dancer, but I feel like those really talented dancers start when they are about three years old – so that’s a few more years of experience that I am behind on.  I have a few friends who are dancers and it is so much fun to go to their performances and watch them dance.  When you know the performer you can really see the passion they have when they dance and how happy it makes them to share their hard work with others. 

Dancing is a way we express ourselves, so get out there and dance like no one is watching!