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Would You Like to Dance?
Dancing to Let Off Steam
Author:, editor Al...
     Olga Rybalko, chief accountant with a big office furniture maker, has been leading a double life for two years now. In the daytime, in a severe business suit with her hair meticulously combed, she heads a 10-employee department. Her subordinates say that "She is a dead hand of formality." How surprised they would be if they caught her at an Argentinean tango club!
"Dancing is the only joy I have," Olga admits. "Since childhood, I dreamed of doing choreography; it's only now, when I'm 38, that my dream has come true. Interestingly, when I started attending tango classes, I always felt a strong urge to lead my partner. They quickly made me lose this habit, and this improved my relations with my husband."
Says Vitaly Kuryatnik, teacher of salsa (a Latin American dance) at a Moscow dance school: "The majority of Muscovites are keen to learn Argentinean tango, Cuban salsa, oriental belly dance, Brazilian Samba and Spanish flamenco. It seems that successful and prosperous Muscovites lack passion, creativity and fire in their daily lives. For them, dancing is a way of letting off steam. It brings them freedom and the joy of living." Vitaly earns his living providing realtor services; he teaches salsa after work just to feel happy. Most of his pupils are young people. "But in my novice group there is a pupil who is well over fifty. He takes pleasure in learning to dance."
Vitaly wears an expensive suit and earrings; his shirt is unbuttoned, and his light hair is bundled into a tail. He is showing an intricate movement that a four-person group is trying to repeat. "Well done!" he exclaimed. "At last you've stopped twisting the girl's arm! Didn't you feel you were hurting her? She's only smiling to be polite."
As Vitaly sees it, his pair-dancing classes not only teach the pupils to walk elegantly, but also how to form healthy relationships with other people. Asked how often romance arises between his pupils, he says: "First, you need dancing lessons in order to strike an acquaintance with a girl. After that, you search for a girl with whom to dance at a higher level.".
According to psychologist Alexand­ra Belyyeva, most of the people who attend dancing schools have difficulty in forming close relationships with members of the opposite sex. She explains: "By the way a person dances, you can tell how he builds a relationship. You can tell whether he is soft or aggressive, an egoist or an altruist, whether he has self-confidence or suffers from inhibitions and complexes. If you want to get to know your new acquaintance, you just need to attend dancing classes together."
Nearly all dancing schools also arrange evening parties. Denis Alekseitsev, a student of Moscow State University, first attended a Latino party two years ago. He says: "How beautiful it was! Attractive people danced samba, rumba, and cha-cha-cha to rousing tunes. It was quite different from the cheerless stamping you see in most nightclubs. I wanted to join the dancers, but I couldn't without training. So I signed up at a school of Latin American dance. Six months later, I could show my stuff on the dance floor."
Belly Dancing
Fans of exotic dances who have studied with different teachers say it's best to take lessons from foreign teachers. Maisun, a beautiful, 50-year-old Turkish belly dance teacher, explains why: "No white man can perform the salsa as a native Cuban does. As for belly dance, it embodies all the entreaty, passion and subtle play - a play that only an oriental woman can understand."
Maisun came to Moscow seven years ago with her husband. At first, she missed her homeland. To help get rid of her homesickness, her husband suggested that she rented a small hall to teach Turkish belly dance. "The girls who come to me are slim, jittery, emancipated," Maisun recounts. "At the beginning, their movements are stiff, abrupt. I tell them to take it easy and be more gentle, reminding them that they are women after all. Nowadays I see that many young wives are eagerly learning striptease with a view to mending their differences with their husbands. Striptease is nonsense. By a single movement of the hip under a long skirt, you can achieve results that you wouldn't attain dancing naked around a pole. When my husband is away on an assignment, I give dancing hen parties at my home. We dance, talk, and share our personal feelings."
Classical Dance
Creative professionals prefer the more unusual dance trends - traditional Japanese dances, Chinese dances with fans, classical Indian dances, and the dances of African tribes.
Russian folk dances are far less popular. Natalia Shopen, correspondent for Ekho Moskvy radio station, believes Russian folk dance to be a component part of the study of Slav culture and Slav pagan spiritual practices. She says: "We are not required to perform the movements with great precision. The main thing is to feel your own body's center, where your energy comes from, to be aware of your body, to feel your association with nature and the land. What do I do when I need to acquire inner stability? I dance, I continue to dance."
By Darya Krasnova
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