Part 1:

Here is a reading text about "What is Fashion". Read the text carefully and then start doing the exercises by clicking on the exercise link after the passage.

What is Fashion?The big fashion houses lead the way in new trends

It's not that easy to answer the question, "what is fashion?" because it means different things to different people. Fashion is an art. It's a religion. It's a job. It's a peek into a personality. It's playfulness. It's an escape or a disguise. It is a feast for the eyes. But ultimately, fashion is an individual statement of expression for each of us.French fashion designer Coco Chanel once said, "Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening."It's true. Fashion isn't defined solely by our clothing choices, but is also conveyed through the way we carry ourselves, our personalities and our views of the world.At its most fundamental (and straight from the dictionary), fashion is simply the prevailing style or custom, as in dress or behavior.So, who exactly answers the question "what is fashion"? Who decides what's fashionable and what isn't? What's in or what's out?

Fashion Designerswpid-web_demonstration_s22_01_part.jpg
The iconic fashion houses - Prada, Gucci, Chanel - are referred to as haute couture, French for "high sewing." These designers lead the way in creating trend-setting fashion. While some of their designs are outrageous and completely unrealistic when it comes to everyday wear, generally the theme is adapted into versions suitable for wearing.

Fashion trends are often sparked by characters on popular television shows and movies as well as adopted from magazine pages. "Sex and the City," "The Devil Wears Prada," these shows introduced us to new, cutting-edge designs. While you might not be caught dead wearing a Carrie Bradshaw original, you might take ideas inspired from her look and piece together your own creation.

A prime example of a celebrity-driven fashion trend? UGGs. Until Kate Hudson and Jessica Simpson were spotted wearing them around L.A. several years ago, no one had given any thought to UGG boots. Now they are everywhere.

Musicians have always been very influential when it comes to dictating fashion. Rock 'n' roll is fashion. Elvis is an iconic example. In the 1950s, everyone wanted to dress like Elvis. What about the heavy metal hair bands so popular in the 1980s? Axl Rose reinvented the head bandana while Poison, Motley Crue and Bon Jovi set the pace for big, rocker hair.

Just because you don't know if a Prada bag is fall 2007 or spring 2008 doesn't matter (unless you work in the fashion industry, of course). All that matters is that you like it and it's an expression of you. That is fashion.

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Part 2:

Here is a reading text about "What is Dance". Read the text carefully and then start doing the exercises by clicking on the exercise link after the passage.
What is Dance?

Our bodies can twist, jump, stretch, and turn. Dance blends these movements together, usually with music. Dance uses space: What patterns do the dancers make across the floor?? Dance uses time: Is the dance fast or slow? Dance uses weight: Are the steps light and quick, or heavy and limp? Dance uses energy: Does the dance have fast, choppy movements, or flowing, soft ones?

People around the world dance for different reasons and in different ways. Some dances can express feelings like sadness, anger, or joy. Other dances can tell a story.

Dance may sparkle as an art form, as ballet does, and be performed for an audience. Ballet dancers train for years to learn to leap and turn across a stage.
People may dance as part of an important ceremony, even as part of their religion. Some cultures honor their ancestors through dance. Dances may celebrate important events, such as a birth, graduation, or marriage. A dance might be used to help work go faster, as in the Japanese rice-planting dance.
In some cultures a shaman, or healer, might dance to cure an illness. Some societies use dance to reach a state of trance so the dancers can perform acts of strength or courage, such as dancing on hot coals.

We may gather together and dance simply for fun. Many countries have group dances—folk dances—that are passed down through generations.
Social dances encourage two people to dance together. These dances come and go: A new dance may be very popular one year, and out of fashion the next. In the 1800s, couples glided through a waltz or polka. Young people kicked up their heels doing the Charleston in the 1920s. Teenagers spun and swung to the 1940s jitterbug. Couples did not even have to touch hands for the 1960s dance craze, the twist. Disco dancing, popular in the 1970s, and today's hip-hop are also social dances.
Dance probably has been around about as long as people have. Cave paintings thousands of years old show what look like dancing figures. Dancers appear in the art of ancient Egypt and Greece. Through dance, societies asked their gods for good crops or bravery in battle.

Hundreds of years ago the Christian church frowned upon dancing. But farmers and villagers still danced for fun. Many of these dances developed into folk dances. Ballet grew out of dances at the royal courts of France and Italy in the 1500s and 1600s.

Dance constantly evolves, or changes. People seek new forms of expression. Cultures borrow from one another, and from the past. Latin American dance blends Spanish and Native American styles. African and Asian dances influence dance in Europe and North America.
Like our ancestors long ago, we dance for important ceremonies. And like our ancestors, we also dance for the joy of movement, to express our emotions, and to share music and fun.

Retrieved from: Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation.

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Part 3:
Here is a Close Test about "What is Fashion". Read the text carefully and then fill in the blanks by clicking on the exercise link below.
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