For the Beijing Olympic Games march past, many of the athletes were dressed in their national costumes and the contingents from each country were led by a flag bearer. The team from Denmark added some fun and colour to the Games by wearing costumes of the host country. The ladies appeared in light blue cheongsams and white pants and held Chinese folding fans painted with the Danish flag while the men donned dark blue Chinese jackets. It certainly was a good public relations exercise and the Danes drew cheers from the appreciative crowd.
The flags of all the countries of the world are rectangular in shape with the notable exception of the flag of Nepal which is in the shape of a swallow tail or what is known as a pennon.With the break up of the Soviet Union and the balkanisation of Yugoslavia, many new countries have arisen from the shifting and redrawing of borders. If a "young" country had a name ending with the word "tan" like Tajikistan or Uzbekistan, you could quite safely guess that the country laid somewhere in Central Asia and which was once a Soviet republic. Montenegro which was formerly a part of Yugoslavia is competing in the Olympic Games for the first time and is the newest fully recognised nation in the world.
Many countries had similar sounding names which can be bewildering. Did you know that there are 4 countries with the name Guinea? They are Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea and Papua New Guinea. The first 3 are in Africa while Papua New Guinea lies on the eastern half of the island of New Guinea in Oceania. In the Caribbean, there is the Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. Then there is Dominica which is not to be confused with the Dominican Republic. The South Pacific islands of Samoa and American Samoa are two different sovereign states and not to be mixed up.
The names of some of these countries may be confusing at times. Similarly, it is with certain dance terminology. In my posting (Article 1) titled "What Is Natural And What Is Reverse" dated May 30, I explained that the word natural means right and reverse means left (and not backwards). In another posting (Article 2) titled "Is The Double Reverse Spin Really A Double Reverse Spin?" published on June 2, I expounded that the dance figure known as the double reverse spin is a misnomer because there is no double spin, neither is it danced twice. The word swing dance may also cause confusion depending on whether you are referring to American swing dance or International (ballroom) swing dance. More about swing dances in future posts.