Portal:Dance

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Dance (from Old French dancier, perhaps from Frankish) generally refers to human movement either used as a form of expression or presented in a social, spiritual or performance setting.

Dance also is used to describe methods of non-verbal communication (see body language) between humans or animals (bee dance, mating dance), motion in inanimate objects (the leaves danced in the wind), and certain genres.

Choreography is the art of making dances.

Definitions of what constitutes dance are dependent on social, cultural, aesthetic, artistic and moral constraints and range from functional movement (such as folk dance) to codified, virtuoso techniques such as ballet. Dance disciplines exist in sports such as gymnastics, figure skating, and synchronized swimming, and martial arts kata are often compared to dance.

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A bboy performing in a cipher for a crowd in Turkey.
Hip Hop dance refers to dance styles primarily danced to hip hop music or that have evolved as a part of the hip hop culture. This includes a wide range of styles such as breaking, popping, locking, and krumping. Breaking, locking, and popping were developed in the 1970s by Black and Latino Americans. Krumping followed in the 1990s and was developed by Black Americans in Compton, CA.

What separates hip hop dance from other forms of dance is that it is often improvisational (freestyle) in nature and hip hop dancers frequently engage in battles—formal or informal one on one dance competitions. Freestyle sessions and battles are usually performed in a cipher, a circular dance space which forms naturally once the dancing begins. It was DJ Afrika Bambaataa that outlined the five pillars of hip hop culture including breaking as one of them (along with rapping, DJing, beatboxing, and graffiti).

The dance industry responded to hip hop dance by creating a more commercial version of it. This "studio hip hop", sometimes called new style is the kind of hip hop dancing seen in most rap and R&B music videos. Technically speaking, hip hop dance (new style hip hop that is) is characterized as hard hitting. The feet are grounded, the chest is down, and the body is kept loose so that a dancer can easily alternate between hitting the beat or riding through the beat. This is in contrast to ballet or ballroom dancing where the chest is upright and the body is stiff. In addition, new style hip hop is very rhythmic and there's a lot of emphasis placed on musicality—how sensitive your movements are to the music.

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A tap dancer jumping into the air
Credit: Airborne tap dancer, photo by Lambtron

Tap dance is a form of dance in which the shoes worn by the dancer, known as tap shoes, are used as percussive instruments. The percussive sounds are made by metal "taps" on the heel and toe of each shoe.

Did you know

Rosina Galli

... that Rosina Galli (pictured) was the prima ballerina at La Scala Theatre Ballet before she became the première danseuse at the Metropolitan Opera House?

... that LeRoy Prinz, who staged dances in dozens of Hollywood movies in the 1930s and 1940s, was more an "idea man" than a choreographer, using simple steps and dance routines?

... that Tatjana Gsovsky, ballet mistress at opera houses in East Berlin, Buenos Aires and West Berlin, first choreographed ballets by Henze and Nono?

... during the production of Sylvia, the score was constantly under construction by Delibes, often with the aid of lead dancers Louis Mérante and Rita Sangalli?

... the Baltic Song and Dance Celebrations are Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity?

...that the score of Giselle contains additions by Léon Minkus?

... that in 2008, the Romanian ballet mistress Mijaela Tesleoanu was one of only two non-Cubans on the payroll of the Cuban National Ballet?

Selected biography

Jerry Mitchell is an American theatre director and choreographer. He served as both director and choreographer for Legally Blonde: The Musical, which opened in April 2007 and Peep Show, the stage show for Planet Hollywood Paradise starring Holly Madison.

Most of his career has been in theatre; however, in 2008 he served as a mentor on Bravo's reality competition Step It Up and Dance. In 2005 he won a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography for La Cage aux Folles.

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir

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