Dance Throughout History

“Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body.” -Martha Gram (“Martha Graham Quotes”). Dance is a form of art that can be used to expressed one’s self. Dance is an art, but as we will learn it is also used for many different reasons. In this paper, I am going to be discussed how dance has evolved over the years. Different forms of dance have been around for hundreds of thousands of years, many of them are still done today but it is not held to the same values. The main forms of dancing that will be covered are ritual, modern dance,

Dance has been with before we even had a written language. The earliest findings of dance have been found in ancient dances in 9000-year-old India or 5300-year-old Egypt. But there have been many records of dance found in Ancient Greece, China, and India (Warta, Tamara). All these old forms of dances evolved, which eventually would morph into a wide variety of medieval and other forms of traditional dances. One of the many first recognizable reoccurrences of dance was found in the 30,000-year-old Bhimbetka rock shelters paintings in an Indian and Egyptian tomb (Warta, Tamara). These rocks held paintings of many historical events. On these rocks were images of people and their tribes participating in ritual form dance.

The ritual style of dance is imagined to be done around a fire while people are dressed up. While this is known it be true, not all ritual dancing is done this way. Ritual dances were commonly performed to celebrate festivals, important/ seasonal occasions, at births and at weddings. These dances represent happiness and joy and they are used to mark a special occasion. A very well know ritual dance is the “Rain Dance” (Roberts, Ivy). The people in the community would gather and do this dance in hopes of rain. The rain dance would be very important for farmers and the growth of their crops. The rain dance is most popular from the Cherokees Indians, they invented this dance because they were the original meteorologists.

Throughout the years, ritual dancing changed and became many different forms of dancing. Ritual dancing has lasted over thousands of years, and they are still present, but they have changed. The next form of dance that followed ritual dance is classical dance. Classical style dance originated in India. There are 8 different styles of classical dance, they are: Bharatanatyam- the oldest, Kathak, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Manipur, Odissi, Sattriya, and Mohiniyattam (Dance Facts – History, Interesting Tips and Types of Dance.”). Indian classical dances form is portrayed by dignity, poise and precision of movement. It is elaborated by formal gestures, steps, and poses . Other styles of classical dances are Ballet, Ballroom, and Tango. This dance is very formal, every move you make has to be done very precisely and elegantly. This form of dance is very common with royalty, many classical dances are held at balls or some people do classical dances for their first dance at their wedding.

We see classical dance for hundreds of years. throughout those years there are been many styles of ballroom dancing. These new dances are that Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Tango, Cha-Cha-Cha, Rumba, Samba, Mambo, quickstep, jive, bolero (Types of Dance – Categories.”). The Waltz is a graceful and slow two-person dance. It was first introduced in the mid-19th century. Currently, this dance represents a gold standard. The Viennese Waltz is coined from the original form of waltz; however, its difference is it’s much first faster 180 beats per minute. The tango is a two-person dance, it originated on the borders of Argentina and Uruguay. There are now many variations: Argentine tango, Uruguayan tango, Finish Tango and two types of Ballroom tangos – standard and American). The Cha-Cha-Cha is an incredibly rhythmic dance, it originated in Latin America. This dance form combined slow and very energetic movements.

The Rumba is a dance that focuses mostly on sensual hip movements, it is known to originate from Cuba. The Samba is a famous dance and musical genre, this dance is focused on footwork. The Samba originated in Brazil. The Mambo is a Cuban dance, and it is done with a partner and is a very fast pace. The Quickstep is a very Light-hearted and fast-moving dance, this is one of the most popular in ballrooms today. The Jive is considered to be one of the liveliest of all Latin dances, there is a lot of hip and knee movement. The Bolero falls under the same category as the Rumba, it has a tempo of around 120 beats per minute. Classical dance has had a very big influence on dance as we know it. These dances encouraged more fast pace dances of modern dance.

Modern dance is a very different form of dance, it was first introduced in the early 20th century. With all of the advancements in technology, modern dance has blown up. Modern dance kicked off because more and more people were attending nightclubs. Nightclubs hosted most of these dances. In modern dance, you are moving your legs and arm in certain ways. Some forms of modern dance are House Dance, Punk Dance, Rave dance, disco, and Bollywood dance (Types of Dance – Categories.”). House dance was born in New York and Chicago clubs. Punk dance developed from rock music, this dance is very energetic and sometimes violent dance style headbanging and moshing, which is where people jump up in down in large groups.

Rave dancing is fueled by strong beats, this is a freestyle dance. Disco dance was very extravagant with sexing clothing and disco moves, which are the bump, hustle and the robot. Bollywood dance originated in India and it highly choreographed and energetic. Modern dance has made the biggest impact on dance. Modern dance loses the formality that is present is ritual and classical dance. Modern dance focuses more on fun than it does form. In hip-hop and funk dances you lose even more of the formality. Hip-hop & Funk dance was first introduced in the 1970s. This style of dance is powered by social media. All over the internet are dance challenges, these are dances’ that people make up to songs and everyone recreates them, making it the fastest-spreading style of dance. There are also songs that say the steps to them. Modern dance has increased the complexity of dance, but it has decreased the formality even more.

The main styles of hip-hop dancing are; breakdancing, bounce, electric boogaloo, street jazz, jookin’, and locking, popping. Breakdancing is the most athletic form of dancing, it is commonly known as street dancing. Breakdancing can be done solo, it is the most unique style of dancing. The dancer does whatever he/she wants. Bounce style of dance is people bouncing to the beat of the music. Doesn’t take skill just an understanding of beat. Only seen in music sense and clubs. The Electric Boogaloo is both free form and choreographed. Focuses on the movement of the legs and hips, it also uses robotic movements. Street Jazz was created with the influences of African American slaves. It was a freestyle, but it quickly morphed into a performance dance that shared the same qualities of ballet. Jookin’ is the gangster walk of dance, it copied the bounce style in with the importance of following the beat.

This form of dance is typically done to “crank music” ( Types of Dance – Categories.”). Locking is a funk dance that is very diverse. This is when the freestyler holds their position to emphasize it. Popping is dance style that involves quick contrasting and relaxing of muscles that will create the feeling of a jerk throughout the body. These styles of dance are currently the most popular and the most participated. Dance has dramatically changed throughout history. Dancing started out as mainly a ritual dance, which is very structured and precise. The next style of dance is classical dance, which is very structured, the moves are very elegant and light.

This style of dance is very formal. The next style we talked about was modern dance. During the time of modern dance, bars and clubs were becoming more popular. This style of dance was freer and not as formal. Hip-hop and Funk, is the most current dance style. This style is very expressive and doesn’t have rules. Throughout history dancing has not only changed but the locations have also changed. Dancing was originally done religiously in the outdoors, then classical dance which was typically preformed in ballrooms, modern dance was performed in night clubs, and lastly hip-hop dance is preformed anywhere. Dancing has changed throughout history, but the love for dance is still present and alive.

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