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Pointers for Upping the Ante on Your Dance Performances

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Dance PerformanceDance is an ancient form of artistic expression. However, it continues to be redefined through the decades with new and revived genres, brilliant and creative choreography, and advanced technology. Up the ante with these additional elements to your dance troupe’s standard routines!

Learn a New Discipline

Sometimes, being so focused on a single method of choreography can be a hindrance to creativity. This mindset stops you from accessing parts of your brain and body that you’ve yet to utilize. Learning a new discipline through another dance instructor or choreographer can help open greater possibilities for your dancers and routine.

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A lot of people firmly believe that one should be focused only on their team. Some argue that it can discourage amateur dancers, seeing professionals at work and upfront. This mindset can be detrimental to less experienced dancers because it stops them from being creatively competitive and challenged. Consider the experience as taking inspiration from those you regard highly instead as a source of dismay and discouragement.

Get Into Competitions

Another way to challenge yourself and the troupe is to enter as many contests that you can be qualified for. Look up local, citywide and interstate dance competitions both for group or individual partners. Prioritize gaining experience, having fun and possible improvements instead of just winning and you’ll always be champions no matter what position you end up with in the roster.

Make Good Use of Props

The human body is an instrument of beauty. It can be used with great skill, with continuous practice and experience. However, by integrating clever props into your choreography like hula hoops, poi, colored powder from Chameleon Colors and prop weapons you can dazzle the crowd with more than your movements or form.

From Twyla Tharp to Kazuo Ono, the Vaganova Academy to the Jabbawockeez, dance is proven to be alive and kicking. It is also for anyone willing to expend the time and energy to learn and improve. Along with dance, practice dedication, willingness and discipline for the best results.

Surprisingly Fantastic Spring Festivals Around the World

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Holi Festival Color Powder

Holi Festival Color PowderSpring will officially start soon. Flowers will start blooming again and the temperature will start getting warmer after a harsh cold winter. If you’re tired of the usual spring welcoming routines such as Easter bunnies, chocolate eggs, and a hefty load of four-leaf clovers, here are unique and fantastic ways of welcoming the season of blossoming, as celebrated in different countries around the world.

  1. Japan — The blooming of bright pink cherry blossoms, known in Japan as sakura, signals the start of spring in this oriental country. Japanese people gather under cherry blossom trees for a day of picnic, traditional music, and lively parties.
  2. India — Probably the most popular non-Western spring festival, the Holi is a Hindu festival that celebrates the end of the chilly winter season. People gather and party in the streets as they dance and jive in lively music while splashing cold water and colorful holi powder at everyone. Aside from welcoming the spring, the Holi is also a mythological celebration paying tribute and honor to Lord Vishnu.
  3. England – The British are known to be cheese lovers, and the country’s quirky spring race, popularly known as the Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake, is a living testament to this. Race participants chase a round 9-lb double Gloucester cheese that is rolled from the top of the hill. Whoever catches the cheese ball or reaches the bottom of the hill first gets to take home the huge delight. Now that is one cheesy trophy!
  4. Thailand — Thai people welcome the spring season in a rather wet and wild way, with the Songkran Festival. People gather in the streets and engage in a “water battle royale”, arming themselves with anything that can hold water such as water guns, balloons, and containers. Prepare to get soaking wet and hyped up in this three-day celebration.
  5. Spain — The Las Fallas is Spain’s spring festival, where hundreds of gigantic paper mache puppets are displayed in the town plaza. This festive event is not complete without booming cannons, pompous firecrackers, lively music, fancy costumes, and all-you-can-eat mouth-watering paella. The highlight of the Las Fallas is the burning of the paper mache puppets in a massive bonfire, accompanied by a grandiose fireworks display.

Spring is an indication of a fresh and bright beginning after a long period of winter. Go ahead, start it with a twist, and welcome this beloved season with a big bang.

Follow These Simple Life Hacks for a Happy Retirement

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Retirement Community

Retirement CommunitySome people dread retirement, not knowing there are many communities out there that can help them make the most of their lives. Retirement decision evokes different emotions from people reaching the end of their professional careers. Some look forward to spending more time with their family members and loved ones while others are not so clear on what to expect.

Although financial security significantly affects the level of happiness of retirees, most of them crave a sense of belonging that existed at their workplace. They long to interact with people with whom they can exchange ideas and explore new concepts.

Create a new social network

By joining a retirement community in Utah, industry professional Legacyretire.com explains that you can cultivate that essential social connection and develop new friendships. Such social circles feature people from various professional backgrounds to occupy your time. Being a part of a community allows you to take part in fulfilling activities that inject bountiful meaning into retirement life. Although your old social circle shrinks considerably after retirement, being part of such a network, let you make new connections.

Keep a healthy positive attitude

The aging process at times come with health challenges that fester with a life of inactivity. Being part of community keeps you active both physically and mentally and keeps your spirit high at all times. As part of a group home, retirees can plan leisure activities that centre on their areas of specialization including volunteering or community service. As such, your sense of self-worth never reduces but keep growing.

Find the right retirement home or community

More than the people surrounding you, the amenities at the home plays a crucial role in determining the quality of life. Settle in a home that does not call for radical transitioning from the quality of life you are accustomed to as it might cause you psychological distress. A sudden disruption of your creature comforts is bound to put a damper on the most energetic retiree.

Retirement signifies the beginning of a new phase in life; carefully planning your life at this stage helps to keep it exciting and meaningful.

When You Understand Her Insecurities, You Understand Her Better

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WomanIf you’ve ever had a fight with your wife or your girlfriend, then you know just how complex women can be. At the heart of their complexity lays insecurities that are often projected in their relationships. Understand those insecurities to know the reason behind her actions.

Do You Want Me?

A woman’s pursuit of sexual desirability causes her to compare herself to other women and, in the process, make unfair judgments about herself. When she asked if you thought the girl who passed you by in the Western Australian Museum looked pretty and you replied that you did, she marked that woman as competition but belted most of her annoyance at you.

She wants verbal confirmation every now and then that you’ve got eyes only for her. Strange as it may seem, hearing that you think of another woman as attractive makes her worry about her worth.

Do I Look Good Enough?

She knows the best hairdressers in West Perth and she can give you a list of their treatments. For women, caring for the hair is important not because of simple vanity, but because she wants to look and feel her best.

Her questions regarding her new hairstyle hardly require you to tap into your fashion sense. She wants you to compliment her to assure her that she looks good despite the pressure society puts on women.

Do I Meet the Standards?

The matter of securing stability in their finances and their careers burden women, especially since most of them want to achieve this before their 30th birthday – the ideal age to marry. This inclination towards independence may sometimes lead them to reject your financial help. Show your support and encouragement instead.

Women can sympathise with your insecurities when it comes to your physical appeal and ability to provide. The gap created by your different approaches to these frustrations, however, only adds to the conflict. But focusing on those similarities and supporting one another would undoubtedly make an impact.

Home vs. Hotel: Rainy Day Staycations

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Rain Drops

Rain DropsThe rainy months are rolling in and suddenly it seems more inviting to spend the weekend indoors and under the covers as you binge watch an entire season of your favorite TV series. July calls for a weekend staycation, but is it better to stay in the comfort of your own house or in the luxurious arms of a hotel?

The Luxury of a Hotel

Checking in at a hotel like SolaireResort.com, or one of the lesser-known ones away from the bustle of the city, over a rainy weekend presents many benefits. You get a large cozy bed, room service, and the chance to relax without thinking of the dirty dishes.

By leaving your house or apartment for a bit, you also forget your worries. Liberate yourself from your responsibilities even if just overnight and just stay in and relax. Invite some of your friends for a hotel staycation and lounge by the pool the whole day or unwind in your balcony as you watch the city lights come to life.

The Comforts of Your Home

Despite facing the chores that come with spending an entire weekend at home, staying in your own house also present many benefits. For starters, you do not have to spend any money and you do not have to go out at all. Even if you are just in your jammies, you can staycation like a boss.

Make the most of your stay by learning a new skill. Maybe you can learn how to use that French press gathering dust or read all the sites you have bookmarked over the past few months. If you are one of the types who unwinds by staying active, you can exercise, clean the house or simply reorganize your bookshelf.

Whichever way you plan to go, your weekend is what you make it. You do not have to drive miles away to have a good day. With hotels that are more than just your standard accommodation, you can spend your weekend the way you want to and come Monday, be ready to face the new week ahead.

How Outdoor Activities Positively Affect Children and Families

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family activiy

family activiyYour son’s attention is on his PlayStation. Your daughter, on the other hand, is busy chatting with friends on Facebook and Twitter.

It’s always fun to be outside, feeling the warm air and playing games with other kids. With recent advancements in technology, however, kids do not realize they are spending more time with electronic distractions. In time, they would eventually lose interest with the great outdoors.

Mountain climbing, zip lining, or river rafting is more than just a holiday activity. They have many positive effects on your kids.

It Strengthens Love of Physical Activity

Going for a hike or white water rafting encourages kids to engage in physical activities. It gives kids a chance to burn off energy and build a strong link between outdoor play and physical health at a young age. This can make them more active and willing to have a family bonding. Most outdoor activities provide physical benefits, such as muscle and cardiovascular fitness.

It Helps Kids Embrace Nature

Tour operators, such as American Adventure Expeditions, note that outdoor activities provide environmental awareness. If you let your kids experience the great outdoors, they will likely feel a strong connection that would keep them coming back. In addition, they would learn how to respect nature and what they can do to preserve the environment. So if you want to foster your child’s love of the outdoors, take them to the rivers or mountains.

It Offers Mental Benefits

Outdoor recreation is not just good for the body, but also for the mind. Families and kids can benefit psychologically from going outside. It can reduce stress, rejuvenate the mind, improve confidence and increase a sense of challenge and adventure in life.

There’s nothing wrong with using gadgets and other devices. But when left neglected, kids can miss the great opportunities that outdoor activities can offer. Start encouraging your kids to explore the outdoors, and see how it can change them.

The Heat is on: Urban Heat Island Effect and Your Home

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summer heatAt noon on a clear, summer day in Australia, a regular flat surface receives about a thousand watts of sunlight per square metre. That is similar to powering up a bright, 100-watt incandescent light bulb per square foot.

When it comes to your home, traditional dark roofs absorb this heat, which in turn passes it on to your house and the surrounding air. Add to that the expected record-breaking temperatures this coming summer, and you are in for one scorching hot season. This highlights another heat-related problem, the “Urban Heat Island” (UHI) effect.

Urban Heat=Hotter Cities

The Urban Heat Island effect is the phenomenon where a metro or urban area experiences warmer temperature than its surrounding areas. This localised warming is due to the large amounts of paved and dark-coloured surfaces such as roofs, roads, and car parks.

The heat from the sun is absorbed by these surfaces, causing ambient temperatures to rise. During the summer, cities can experience temperatures several degrees hotter than the suburbs. Perth, for example, had its second hottest summer on record in 2013-2014.

Cooling it Down

Higher albedo (or reflection coefficient) surfaces, higher albedo pavements, and increased greenery throughout an area are cited as the main opportunities to cool down this heat phenomenon. For homeowners, simple things such as a white or reflective roof can do a lot to help reduce the heat convection process. You will only need to work with your trusted local roofing contractors. Perth is one of the select cities leading this green building initiative.

In the local level, the city is planning to develop an urban forest plan to help deal with the UHI effect. This push to increase the metro’s tree canopy aims to “basically take the heat out of the environment,” said Curtin University’s Helen Brown, director of health, safety, and environment.

With global warming posing a huge problem in the years to come, everybody is expected to chip in to help slow it down as much as possible. Small things like choosing cool coloured roofs, pavements, and other surfaces, as well as planting more trees can make a big difference in this push to cool down the environment.

The Science of Coolness: Why Sunglasses Make You Look Awesome

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SunglassesYou know how it works; the average Joe or plain Jane dons a good looking pair of shades, and bam, they are suddenly the coolest person you have ever seen. It’s a stereotype in movies, TV, and in real life – but just what it is about dark lenses that make them so appealing?

  1. Mystery

    There is something inherently mysterious about a person whose eyes you cannot see. It piques our curiosity, draws us closer, and makes us want to know what lies underneath. In some cases, sunglasses can even make you look edgy and slightly dangerous – creating a tough guy or mean girl image.

  2. Confidence

    Shades affect the wearer’s personality, too, and studies show that it can actually encourage more selfish and dishonest behaviour. You feel anonymous and untouchable, which directly increases your confidence. This might annoy some people if you take it too far, but otherwise, it only serves to increase your appeal.

  3. Symmetry

    Sunglasses, especially the big ones, tend to obscure the less flattering parts of our facial structure. When you pick one with the perfect frame, it makes your faces look more symmetrical while creating the appearance of a defined bone structure. This is actually true for most types of stylish glasses, not just shades.

  4. Association

    Of course, decades of seeing the coolest and hottest stars rocking sunglasses are bound to have an effect. Even outside of movies, they still wear shades to obscure their identities and protect themselves from paparazzi. When you wear something that people associate with famous and successful people, you’re definitely going to draw some attention.

Of course, there are two exceptions to the sunglasses effect. One is poor quality, and the other is wearing them indoors. Cheap shades will only make you look like a suspicious criminal, rather than a Hollywood actor. The second speaks for itself; only blind people and the try-hard wear sunglasses inside.

So the next time you head out into town and want to look just a little more cool, don’t forget to bring your trusty shades.

FIFA Begins World Cup Host Cities Final Tour Weeks Before Launch

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FIFA HostFootball’s international governing body, FIFA, is taking its final tour of World Cup host cities weeks before the event in June. Officials are taking a closer look most particularly at stadiums troubled with construction and development issues.

 Focused on Technical Aspects

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke will start the latter half of his inspection in Rio de Janeiro, where the World Cup final will be held. He will also travel to Recife, Fortaleza, Natal, Salvador, and Manaus, which has also been the subject of many criticisms. Valcke will look into the technical aspects of the stadiums, and whether or not they can handle visitors.

 Preparing for the Tournament

The host country had seven years to prepare for the World Cup, so many are expecting a lot. Delays and work accidents, however, hampered the development.

Valcke said, “Soon we’re going to hand the tournament over to the players and the 32 teams. There is very little left to worry about. We just need to make sure the teams arrive safely and get to their training centers so they can begin preparing for the tournament.”

Fun Facts About The Eiffel Tower As It Turns 125

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Image by samantha smith | Wikimedia

Image by samantha smith | Wikimedia

The Eiffel Tower recently celebrated its 125th anniversary on March 31, and with it came a lot more admiration, praise, and interest for arguably the most recognizable silhouette in the world.

Back in 1889, when Gustave Eiffel built the lattices tower as centerpiece for that year’s World Fair, it was planned only as a temporary edifice to be torn down after 20 years.

Today, the iconic landmark in the city of Paris is the most visited paid monument in the world, drawing in more than 7 million visitors a year, 75 percent of whom are foreign tourists.

Here are some other fun facts and figures about the real-life Iron Lady:

She’s Taken

In a commitment ceremony in 2007, an American woman, Erika La Tour Eiffel (she changed her name), “married” the Eiffel Tower. The woman suffers from ‘Objectum-Sexual,’ a condition wherein people fall in love with inanimate objects.

She was Once Yellow

It takes a lot of primping and priming to look good at 125 years old. The “Iron Lady” originally sported a reddish-brown color. A decade later, she was coated in yellow paint. Several decades and mixes later, she now sports a specially mixed “Eiffel Tower Brown” color in 1968.  Every seven years, the tower is re-coated with 60 tons of paint to keep her looking young.

She’s Growing…or Not

Due to the fluctuating temperatures, the Eiffel Tower will shrink and grow by up to 15 cm, or 6 inches.

She’s More Famed than New York’s Empire State Building

Annual visitor count for the Eiffel Tower from 2003-2008 grew from 5.9 million to 6.9 million, beating The Empire State Building, with only a little over 3.5 million visitors a year. The Paris tower is open every day and includes two restaurants. Summer hours are 9 a.m. to 12:45 am, local time.