Tuesday, September 20, 2016

From Entertainment to Heritage: The Many Forms of Dance

Dance is part of many people’s lives.  It is celebrated in many forms and is performed for many reasons. The art of dance is often a form of entertainment.  For example, the ballet is a very sophisticated and graceful form of dance entertainment.  People have often attended the ballet to watch such performances as The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty.  Even the theater/movie productions of Oklahoma contain forms of ballet.   Another dance style seen in live performances is the tap dance, in which the dancer’s shoes make a “tap” noise as they come in contact with the floor.  Tap dancing can be seen in a variety of movie productions, such Yankee Doodle Dandy starring James Cagney and Singin’ in the Rain with Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds.  Perhaps one of the most elegant tap dancing movie couples was Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
            Dance also has a romantic side to it.  Many people enjoy dancing with somebody they care about romantically.  There are many styles of dances for couples, including the somewhat simple Country-Western Two-Step to the more graceful ballroom waltz. 
            The heritage of many cultures includes dancing.  Native Americans have many dances they often perform at ceremonies called Pow Wows.  These dances can have a variety of meanings such as to honor somebody or to seek help from a higher power.  Folk dancing, in fact, is a significant part of many cultures. These dances are part of celebrations that honor all types of events such as crop harvests and even fire.  A culture’s dances are an important part of their history and reflect who these people are.
            Dance is also an excellent aid to good health and therapy.  The associated movement can burn calories while aiding with strength and even weight loss.  Even mistakes made on the dance floor can lead to laughter which is good for the heart and mind. Dancing can also be used for therapeutic work. Styles such as break dancing can provide a way for social workers to engage youth and get them moving. 
Make a visit to the dance book display located next to the front doors of the Al Harris Library. While you are there, you can grab a book or a movie and decide what sort of dance interests you today!

Friday, September 09, 2016

'Star Trek' Lives Long, Prospers, and Continues to Inspire Us on Its 50th Anniversary

Quick! Finish these sentences:
“Live long and _________.”
“Beam me up, _______.”
“To boldly go where no man _________.”

Chances are you can finish these sentences, even if you have never seen the television show from which they originated.  'Star Trek' premiered in 1966 and, in the 50 years since, the show and its spin-offs have indelibly influenced culture and technology.

To observe the anniversary, SWOSU Libraries is displaying books from its collections that demonstrate the global phenomenon’s effect.  While cultural influences abound – such as spawning the appellation “red shirt” – the more profound changes wrought by 'Star Trek' are in the field of technology, inspiring generations of young scientists and their research.  The science of the series often predicted or suggested many technological advances that are commonplace today.

Featured in the display are:
•    Star Trek as MythEssays on Symbol and Archetype at the Final Frontier, edited by Matthew     Wilhelm Kapell.
•    The Influence of Star Trek on Television, Film and Culture, edited by Lincoln Geraghty
•    Sci-Fi Chronicles: A Visual History of the Galaxy’s Greatest Science Fiction, edited by Guy Haley
•    Star Trek: The Official Guide to Our Universe: The True Science Behind the Starship Voyages, by Andrew Frazekas
•    The Star Trek Book: Strange New Worlds Boldly Explained, edited by Kathryn Hill, Esther Ripley, and Sarah Tomley

And many more…

The original 'Star Trek' was cancelled after only three seasons and found new fans a few years later in syndication.   After that came four more 'Trek' series, an animated series, several movies with the original cast, a re-boot of the characters in a new set of movies, and countless books and conventions.  A new '

The display can be seen on the first floor of the Al Harris Library.  All books are available for to check out.

Trek' series is in production for 2017.  'Star Trek' will continue to boldly go where no one has gone before, and culture and technology will go along for the ride.