So this week we we were in Greenvale Infants School studying the differences between dances from the North Eastern (in relation to England) and South Western parts of the world as part of their geography workshops.

The whole school was involved with a series of classes held over two days in which we learned elements of a Russian and Hungarian dance notably the Sappoggi and Czardash respectively as well as elements from the Dominican Republic and Cuba with our Merengue and Salsa dance steps.

The aim was to compare the two styles, and actually as a dance teacher this was quite interesting for me too.

I noticed that the basics were very similar… the Merengue two step was very similar to the Czardash, and the basic solo Salsa step a much lighter version of the Sappoggi step. So we then looked at the differences.

A big difference was in costume… with the Russians and Hungarians wrapped up nice and warm agains the elements, and the Latin Americans wearing… well very little actually! I guess being so hot, warm, cosy clothing would not be conducive to dancing. I also noticed that possibly as a result of this, the slavic dances were very much about the costume… such as the dusting snow off the boots in the Sappoggi or the showing of rings on fingers in the Hungarian dances. With Latin American dancing it was still about the costume to some extent with fabulous headdresses or feather skirts being shaken and shimmied, but also very much about the movement of the body and arms.

I will say that much as I love teaching the Hungarian and Russian dances, as they are so strong and proud, I found that the minute I put on a spot of Latin music, the whole room erupted into wiggles! It was fantastic! I wish I had had a video… something about this music just makes you want to wiggle. Which the children really enjoyed.

What a great fun way of learning about two different parts of the world.