Dance is the art of movement of the body, usually rhythmically and to music, using prescribed or improvised steps and gestures. "A dance" is any one prescribed sequence of such movements, or the music to which it is performed, or an event at which it takes place. Dance may also be regarded as a form of nonverbal communication recognisable in other animals; in bee dances and behaviour patterns such as mating dances.
Dance can be categorized and described in various ways. It may be analysed purely by its choreography, its repertoire of movements, or it may be classified according to its time or place of origin. Yet study reveals many generic similarities in many different times and places.
An important distinction is to be drawn between theatrical and participatory dance. Nevertheless, these two categories are not completely separate. Each may borrow from the other. Social dancers may become professional or competitive dancers, may be watched by millions. Both may also have special functions; they may be ceremonial dances performed only at one time of year, they may be intended as an erotic dance, a war dance or a sacred or liturgical dance. Such dances allow both emotional expression and invocation.
- 1 Performance and participation
- 2 Origins and history
- 3 Dancing and music
- 4 Dance around the world
- 5 Dance education
- 6 Occupations
- 7 Competitions
- 8 Dance to raise awareness
- 9 Types of dance
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
Performance and participation
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 and Chinese and Japanese song and dance dramas. Most classical forms are centred upon dance alone, but performance dance may also appear in opera and other forms of musical theatre.
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.
Origins and history
Before the invention of written languages, dance was a more important method of passing stories down from generation to generation. The use of dance in ecstatic trance states and healing rituals, as today in many cultures from the Brazilian rainforest to the Kalahari Desert, is thought to have been another early factor.
In Chinese pottery as early as the Neolithic period groups of people are depicted dancing in a line holding hands. The earliest Chinese word for "dance" is found written in the oracle bones. Dance is described in the Lüshi Chunqiu. Primitive dance in ancient China was associated with sorcery and shamanic rituals.
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 categorises 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. From these beginnings rose the various classical styles recognised today.
Dancing and music
Many early forms of music and dance were created for each other and performed together. This paired development has continued over time, producing paired dance/music forms such as the jig, waltz, tango, disco, and salsa. Some musical genres have a parallel dance form such as baroque music and baroque dance; others, such as classical music and classical ballet, developed separately.
Although dance is often accompanied by music, it can also be performed without music, or it may provide its own audible accompaniment as in tap dance. When performed with music, dance may or may not be performed in time to the music (synchronous to the music's time signature).
Dance around the world
All Indian classical dances are to varying degrees rooted in the Natyashastra and therefore share common features: for example, the mudras, 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. Dances like "Odra Magadhi", which after decades long debate, has been traced to present day Mithila, Odisha region's dance form of Odissi (Orissi), indicate influence of dances in cultural interactions between different regions.
The Punjab area overlapping India and Pakistan is the place of origin of Bhangra. It is widely known both as a style of music and a dance. It is mostly related to ancient harvest celebrations, love, patriotism or social issues. Its music is coordinated by a musical instrument called the 'Dhol'. Bhangra is not just music but a dance, a celebration of the harvest where people beat the dhol (drum), sing Boliyaan (lyrics) and dance.It developed further with the Vaisakhi festival of the Sikhs.
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 "Ayurvedic" concepts of disease causation with psychological manipulation and combines many aspects including Sinhalese cosmology. Their influence can be seen on the classical dances of Sri Lanka.
Europe and North America
Ballet developed first in Italy and then in France from lavish court spectacles that combined music, drama, poetry, song, costumes and dance. Members of the court nobility took part as performers. During the reign of Louis XIV, himself a dancer, dance became more codified. Professional dancers began to take the place of court amateurs, and ballet masters were licensed by the French government. The first ballet dance academy was the Académie Royale de Danse (Royal Dance Academy), opened in Paris in 1661. Shortly thereafter, the first institutionalized ballet troupe, associated with the Academy, was formed; this troupe began as an all-male ensemble but by 1681 opened to include women as well.
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 Loie Fuller, Isadora Duncan, Mary Wigman and Ruth St. Denis. The relationship of music to dance serves as the basis for Eurhythmics, devised by Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, which was influential to the development of Modern dance and modern ballet through artists such as Marie Rambert. Eurythmy, developed by Rudolf Steiner and Marie Steiner-von Sivers, combines formal elements reminiscent of traditional dance with the new freer style, and introduced a complex new vocabulary to dance. In the 1920s, important founders of the new style such as Martha Graham and Doris Humphrey began their work. Since this time, a wide variety of dance styles have been developed; see Modern dance.
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 influence.
Today dance studies are offered through the arts and humanities programs of many higher education institutions, leading to Bachelor of Arts and higher academic degrees. A dance study curriculum may encompass a diverse range of courses and topics, including dance practice and performance, choreography, ethnochoreology, dance notation, and dance therapy.
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.
Dance teachers typically focus on teaching dance performance, or coaching competitive dancers, or both. They typically have performance experience in the types of dance they teach or coach. For example, dancesport teachers and coaches are often tournament dancers or former dancesport performers.
Dance teachers may be self-employed, or employed by dance schools or general education institutions with dance programs. Some work for university programs or other schools that are associated with professional classical dance (e.g., ballet) or modern dance companies. Others are employed by smaller, privately owned dance schools that offer dance training and performance coaching for various types of dance.
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.
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 permitted.
- Open competitions, that permit a wide variety of dance styles. An example of this is the TV program So You Think You Can Dance.
- Dancesport, which is focused exclusively on ballroom and latin dance. Examples of this are TV programs Dancing with the Stars and Strictly Come Dancing.
- Single-style competitions, such as; highland dance, dance team, and Irish dance, that only permit a single dance style.
Today, there are various dances and dance show competitions on television and the Internet.
Dance to raise awareness
As with other forms of entertainment, dance is sometimes performed to raise awareness of social issues. For example, dance performances have been used to raise awareness of diabetes, violence against women, protecting water resources, Alzheimers, and breast cancer.
Types of dance
Dance categories are not mutually exclusive. For example, tango is traditionally a partner dance. While it is mostly social dance, its ballroom form may be competitive dance, as in DanceSport. At the same time it is enjoyed as performance dance, whereby it may well be a solo dance. Furthermore, there are tangos among round dances, participation dances can involve tango mixers, and tango-style dances may be used in ice dancing or in burlesque theatre.
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- Lü Shi Chun Qiu Original text: 昔葛天氏之樂，三人操牛尾，投足以歌八闋
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- Staff (2014-05-12). "Dance teams raise diabetes awareness". Shelby County Reporter. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
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- Allie, Johnson (2013-2-18). "Groups dance to raise awareness". Badger Herald. Retrieved 2014-06-20. Check date values in:
- Jordan, Levin (2014-04-08). "Miami-based National Water Dance Project aims to raise awareness of threats to a crucial resource". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
- Shonti, Tager (3/5/2014). "Dancing Stars of Central Georgia Raise Alzheimer's Awareness". WGXA TV. Retrieved 2014-06-20. Check date values in:
- Natalie, Rostran (2013-10-31). raise-breast-cancer-awareness-support.aspx "Zumba participants dance night away to raise breast cancer awareness, support". United States Marines. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
- Blogg, Martin. Dance and the Christian Faith: A Form of Knowing, The Lutterworth Press (2011), ISBN 9780718892494
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- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Dance". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Historic illustrations of dancing from 3300 B.C. to 1911 A.D. from Project Gutenberg
- United States National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame