DANCE is a performing art form consisting of purposefully selected
sequences of human movement . This movement has aesthetic and symbolic
value, and is acknowledged as dance by performers and observers within
a particular culture .
An important distinction is to be drawn between the contexts of theatrical and participatory dance, although these two categories are not always completely separate; both may have special functions, whether social , ceremonial , competitive , erotic , martial , or sacred /liturgical . Other forms of human movement are sometimes said to have a dance-like quality, including martial arts , gymnastics , cheerleading , figure skating , synchronized swimming , marching bands, and many other forms of athletics.
* 5 Approaches to dance
* 6 Cultural traditions
* 6.1 Africa
* 6.2 Asia
* 6.3 Europe and North America
PERFORMANCE AND PARTICIPATION
Members of an American jazz dance company perform a formal group routine in a concert dance setting
Theatrical dance, also called performance or concert dance, is
intended primarily as a spectacle, usually a performance upon a stage
by virtuoso dancers. It often tells a story , perhaps using mime ,
costume and scenery , or else it may simply interpret the musical
accompaniment , which is often specially composed. Examples are
western ballet and modern dance ,
Classical Indian dance
Participatory dance, on the other hand, whether it be a folk dance , a social dance , a group dance such as a line , circle , chain or square dance , or a partner dance such as is common in western Western ballroom dancing , is undertaken primarily for a common purpose, such as social interaction or exercise , of participants rather than onlookers. Such dance seldom has any narrative. A group dance and a _corps de ballet _, a social partner dance and a _pas de deux _, differ profoundly. Even a solo dance may be undertaken solely for the satisfaction of the dancer. Participatory dancers often all employ the same movements and steps but, for example, in the rave culture of electronic dance music , vast crowds may engage in free dance , uncoordinated with those around them. On the other hand, some cultures lay down strict rules as to the particular dances in which, for example, men, women and children may or must participate.
Mesolithic dancers at Bhimbetka
Archeological evidence for early dance includes 9,000-year-old
References to dance can be found in very early recorded history;
During the first millennium BCE in India, many texts were composed
which attempted to codify aspects of daily life.
Bharata Muni 's
Natyashastra _ (literally _"the text of dramaturgy"_) is one of the
earlier texts. It mainly deals with drama, in which dance plays an
important part in Indian culture. It categorizes dance into four types
- secular, ritual, abstract, and, interpretive - and into four
regional varieties. The text elaborates various hand-gestures (_mudras
_) and classifies movements of the various limbs, steps and so on. A
strong continuous tradition of dance has since continued in India,
through to modern times, where it continues to play a role in culture,
ritual, and, notably, the
DANCE AND MUSIC
DANCE AND RHYTHM
RHYTHM AND DANCE are deeply linked in history and practice. The American dancer Ted Shawn wrote; "The conception of rhythm which underlies all studies of the dance is something about which we could talk forever, and still not finish." A musical rhythm requires two main elements; first, a regularly-repeating pulse (also called the "beat" or "tactus") that establishes the tempo and, second, a pattern of accents and rests that establishes the character of the metre or basic rhythmic pattern . The basic pulse is roughly equal in duration to a simple step or gesture. A basic tango rhythm
Dances generally have a characteristic tempo and rhythmic pattern. The tango, for example, is usually danced in 2 4 time at approximately 66 beats per minute. The basic slow step, called a "slow", lasts for one beat, so that a full "right–left" step is equal to one 2 4 measure. The basic forward and backward walk of the dance is so counted - "slow-slow" - while many additional figures are counted "slow - quick-quick.
Just as musical rhythms are defined by a pattern of strong and weak
beats, so repetitive body movements often depends on alternating
"strong" and "weak" muscular movements. Given this alternation of
left-right, of forward-backward and rise-fall, along with the
bilateral symmetry of the human body, it is natural that many dances
and much music are in duple and quadruple meter . However, since some
such movements require more time in one phase than the other - such as
the longer time required to lift a hammer than to strike - some dance
rhythms fall equally naturally into triple metre . Occasionally, as
in the folk dances of the Balkans , dance traditions depend heavily on
more complex rhythms. Further, complex dances composed of a fixed
sequence of steps always require phrases and melodies of a certain
fixed length to accompany that sequence. _ Lululaund - The Dancing
Girl_ (painting and silk cloth. A.L. Baldry 1901, before p.107), The
inscription reads; "Dancing is a form of rhythm/
The very act of dancing, the steps themselves, generate an "initial skeleton of rhythmic beats" that must have preceded any separate musical accompaniment, while dance itself, as much as music, requires time-keeping just as utilitarian repetitive movements such as walking, hauling and digging take on, as they become refined, something of the quality of dance.
Musical accompaniment therefore arose in the earliest dance, so that ancient Egyptians attributed the origin of the dance to the divine Athotus, who was said to have observed that music accompanying religious rituals caused participants to move rhythmically and to have brought these movements into proportional measure. The same idea, that dance arises from musical rhythm, is still found in renaissance Europe in the works of the dancing master Guglielmo Ebreo da Pesaro who speaks of dance as a physical movement that arises from and expresses inward, spiritual motion agreeing with the "measures and perfect concords of harmony" that fall upon the human ear, while, earlier, Mechthild of Magdeburg , seizing upon dance as a symbol of the holy life foreshadowed in Jesus' saying "I have piped and ye have not danced", writes;
I can not dance unless thou leadest. If thou wouldst have me spring aloft, sing thou and I will spring, into love and from love to knowledge and from knowledge to ecstasy above all human sense
Thoinot Arbeau 's celebrated 16th century dance-treatise _Orchésographie_, indeed, begins with definitions of over eighty distinct drum-rhythms. Helen Moller
As has been shown above, dance has been represented through the ages as having emerged as a response to music yet, as Lincoln Kirstein implied, it is at least as likely that primitive music arose from dance. Shawn concurs, stating that dance "was the first art of the human race, and the matrix out of which all other arts grew" and that even the "metre in our poetry today is a result of the accents necessitated by body movement, as the dancing and reciting were performed simultaneously" - an assertion somewhat supported by the common use of the term "foot" to describe the fundamental rhythmic units of poetry.
Scholes , not a dancer but a musician, offers support for this view, stating that the steady measures of music, of two, three or four beats to the bar, its equal and balanced phrases, regular cadences, contrasts and repetitions, may all be attributed to the "incalculable" influence of dance upon music.
Émile Jaques-Dalcroze , primarily a musician and teacher, relates how a study of the physical movements of pianists led him "to the discovery that musical sensations of a rhythmic nature call for the muscular and nervous response of the whole organism", to develop "a special training designed to regulate nervous reactions and effect a co-ordination of muscles and nerves" and ultimately to seek the connections between "the art of music and the art of dance", which he formulated into his system of eurhythmics . He concluded that "musical rhythm is only the transposition into sound of movements and dynamisms spontaneously and involuntarily expressing emotion".
Hence, though doubtless, as Shawn asserts, "it is quite possible to develop the dance without music and... music is perfectly capable of standing on its own feet without any assistance from the dance", nevertheless the "two arts will always be related and the relationship can be profitable both to the dance and to music", the precedence of one art over the other being a moot point. The common ballad measures of hymns and folk-songs takes their name from dance, as does the carol , originally a circle dance . Many purely musical pieces have been named "waltz " or "minuet ", for example, while many concert dances have been produced that are based upon abstract musical pieces, such as _ 2 and 3 Part Inventions , Adams Violin Concerto _ and _Andantino _. Similarly, poems are often structured and named after dances or musical works, while dance and music have both drawn their conception of "measure" or "metre" from poetry.
Shawn quotes with approval the statement of Dalcroze that, while the art of musical rhythm consists in differentiating and combining time durations, pauses and accents "according to physiological law", that of "plastic rhythm" (i.e. dance) "is to designate movement in space, to interpret long time-values by slow movements and short ones by quick movements, regulate pauses by their divers successions and express sound accentuations in their multiple nuances by additions of bodily weight, by means of muscular innervations".
Shawn nevertheless points out that the system of musical time is a "man-made, artificial thing.... a manufactured tool, whereas rhythm is something that has always existed and depends on man not at all", being "the continuous flowing time which our human minds cut up into convenient units", suggesting that music might be revivified by a return to the values and the time-perception of dancing.
The early-20th-century American dancer Helen Moller stated simply that "it is rhythm and form more than harmony and color which, from the beginning, has bound music, poetry and dancing together in a union that is indissoluble."
APPROACHES TO DANCE
Concert dance, like opera , generally depends for its large-scale
form upon a narrative dramatic structure . The movements and gestures
of the choreography are primarily intended to mime the personality and
aims of the characters and their part in the plot. Such theatrical
requirements tend towards longer, freer movements than those usual in
non-narrative dance styles. On the other hand the _ballet blanc _,
developed in the 19th century, allows interludes of rhythmic dance
that developed into entirely "plotless" ballets in the 20th century.
and that allowed fast, rhythmic dance-steps such as those of the
_petit allegro_. A well-known example is _The Cygnets\'
The ballet developed out of courtly dramatic productions of 16th- and 17th-century France and Italy and for some time dancers performed dances developed from those familiar from the musical suite, all of which were defined by definite rhythms closely identified with each dance. These appeared as character dances in the era of romantic nationalism .
Indian classical dance
Japanese classical dance-theatre styles such as
PARTICIPATORY AND SOCIAL DANCE
Dances intended for participation rather than for an audience may include various forms of mime and narrative but are typically set much more closely to the rhythmic pattern of music, so that terms like waltz and polka refer as much to musical pieces as to the dance itself. The rhythm of the dancers' feet may even form an essential part of the music as in tap dance . African dance, for example, is rooted in fixed basic steps but may also allow a high degree of rhythmic interpretation, the feet or the trunk marking the basic pulse while cross-rhythms are picked up by shoulders, knees or head, the best dancers simultaneously giving plastic expression to all the elements of the polyrhythmic pattern.
Thousands of dances are performed around the continent. These may be
divided into traditional, neotraditional, and classical styles:
folkloric dances of a particular society, dances created more recently
in imitation of traditional styles, and dances transmitted more
formally in schools or private lessons. :18
All Indian classical dances are to varying degrees rooted in the _ Natyashastra _ and therefore share common features: for example, the _mudra_s (hand positions), some body positions, and the inclusion of dramatic or expressive acting or abhinaya . Indian classical music provides accompaniment and dancers of nearly all the styles wear bells around their ankles to counterpoint and complement the percussion.
There are now many regional varieties of
Indian classical dance
The Punjab area overlapping
The dances of Sri Lanka include the devil dances (_yakun natima_), a
carefully crafted ritual reaching far back into Sri Lanka's
pre-Buddhist past that combines ancient "
The dances of the Middle East are usually the traditional forms of circle dancing which are modernized to an extent. They would include dabke , tamzara , Assyrian folk dance , Kurdish dance , Armenian dance and Turkish dance , among others. All these forms of dances would usually involve participants engaging each other by holding hands or arms (depending on the style of the dance). They would make rhythmic moves with their legs and shoulders as they curve around the dance floor. The head of the dance would generally hold a cane or handkerchief .
EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA
Folk dances vary across Europe and may date back hundreds or thousands of years, but many have features in common such as group participation led by a caller , hand-holding or arm-linking between participants, and fixed musical forms known as caroles. Some, such as the maypole dance are common to many nations, while others such as the céilidh and the polka are deeply-rooted in a single culture. Some European folk dances such as the square dance were brought to the New World and subsequently became part of American culture.
20th century concert dance brought an explosion of innovation in
dance style characterized by an exploration of freer technique. Early
pioneers of what became known as modern dance include
African American dance developed in everyday spaces, rather than in
dance studios, schools or companies.
Tap dance , disco , jazz dance ,
swing dance , hip hop dance , the lindy hop with its relationship to
rock and roll music and rock and roll dance have had a global
Main article: List of dance occupations
Professional dancers are usually employed on contract or for particular performances or productions. The professional life of a dancer is generally one of constantly changing work situations, strong competitive pressure and low pay. Consequently, professional dancers often must supplement their incomes to achieve financial stability. In the U.S. many professional dancers belong to unions (such as the American Guild of Musical Artists , Screen Actors Guild and Actors\' Equity Association ) that establish working conditions and minimum salaries for their members. Professional dancers must possess large amounts of athleticism. To lead a successful career, it is advantageous to be versatile in many styles of dance, have a strong technical background and to utilize other forms of physical training to remain fit and healthy.
Choreographers are often university trained and are typically employed for particular projects or, more rarely may work on contract as the resident choreographer for a specific dance company.
An amateur dancesport competition, featuring the Viennese Waltz
A DANCE COMPETITION is an organized event in which contestants perform dances before a judge or judges for awards, and in some cases, monetary prizes. There are several major types of dance competitions, distinguished primarily by the style or styles of dances performed. Major types of dance competitions include:
* COMPETITIVE DANCE , in which a variety of theater dance styles,
such as acro , ballet , jazz , hip-hop , lyrical , and tap , are
* OPEN competitions, that permit a wide variety of dance styles. An
example of this is the TV program _
So You Think You Can Dance
In addition, there are numerous dance competitions shows presented on television and other mass media.
SOLO DANCE - Russian ballerina Marina Semjonova *
FOLK DANCE - a trio of Irish Stepdancers performing in competition *
A contemporary dancer performs a stag split leap *
DANCE PARTNERING - a male dancer assists a female dancer in performing an arabesque , as part of a classical pas de deux *
ACROBATIC DANCE - an acro dancer performs a front aerial *
A dancer performs a "toe rise", in which she rises from a kneeling position to a standing position on the tops of her feet *
SOCIAL DANCE - dancers at a juke joint dance the
Latin Ballroom ballroom dancers perform the
Gumboot dance evolved from the stomping signals used as coded communication between labourers in South African mines *
A hip-hop dancer demonstrates popping *
EROTIC DANCE - a pole dancer performs a routine *
PROP DANCE - a fire dancer performance *
MODERN DANCE - a female dancer performs a leg split while balanced on the back of her partner *
STAGE DANCE - a professional dancer at the
A nineteenth century artist's representation of a Flamenco dancer
RITUAL DANCE - Armenian folk dancers celebrate a neo-pagan new year *
A latin ballroom couple perform a
FOLK DANCE - some dance traditions travel with immigrant communities, as with this festival dance performed by a Polish community in Turkey *
Street dancers at a competition *
A ballet dancer performs a standing side split *
STREET DANCE - a Breakdancer performs a handstand trick
* v * t * e
* ^ Many definitions of dance have been proposed. This definition is based on the following:
* ^ Sondra Horton Fraleigh (1987). _
* Abra, Allison. "Going to the palais: a social and cultural history
of dancing and dance halls in Britain, 1918–1960." _Contemporary
British History_ (Sep 2016) 30#3 pp 432–433.
* Blogg, Martin. _
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