Dance Facts - History, Interesting Tips and Types of Dance
is a form of art that is made by purposefully recreating
selected sequences of human motion, which can be imbued with the values of
aesthetic and symbolism that are acknowledged by both performers and
observers from within the particular culture. The dance itself can be
freeform or can have a predefined choreography that may or may not align
with traditions of origin or historical period.
The dance can be performed to serve various functions (social, competitive,
ceremonial, martial, erotic…) but it also has two distinct forms – theatrical dance in which dancers perform for an audience,
and participatory social dance where dancing in a group is
encouraged to anyone. Participatory dances are most commonly found at
weddings, social gatherings, and festivals, and they can be enjoyed with
folk music both alone or in a group (pairs, lines, chains or other forms).
Theatrical dance is known for having more elaborate choreography, planning, costume, scenery and
other elements that make the entire production feel more professional. The
performers of theatrical dance are usually professional “ virtuoso dancers”, who practice their craft over the years, and
are often tasked to interpret the musical accompaniment with advanced dance
moves or routines.
Origins and Early History
The dance has always been with us, even before the arrival of written language and modern history,
when our earliest cultures evolved utilizing oral and performance methods
to pass the stories from one generation to the next. Many historians
believe that social, celebratory and ritual dances are one
of the essential factors of the development of early human civilizations.
The earliest findings have pinpointed the origins of ancient dances in
9000-year-old India or 5300-year-old Egypt, but the records more common
infusion of dance into a modern culture can be found from Ancient Greece,
China, and India. All these old dances evolved, eventually morphing into a
wide variety of Roman and European medieval dances, traditional Chinese
dances, Hindi and other traditional dances, respectively.
After the arrival of European Renaissance, the history of music and dance
exploded with the new additions to song and dance. Ease of travel and
immigration to the new world brought these dances into the mix with many
native cultures of the New World, forging countless new dance types that
are still popular to this day.
Do you know these facts about dance?
First archeological proof of dance comes from the 9 thousand year old cave paintings in India.
One of the earliest uses of structured dance was introduced in religious ceremonies that told the stories of ancient myths and gods. Egyptian
priests used this kind of visual storytelling in their rituals.
Ancient Egyptians used dancing for both entertainment and religion.
Dance represented important parts of many Greek and Roman religious ceremonies.
Ancient Greeks and Romans annually celebrated their wine gods Dionysus and Bacchus with several days long festivities filled with alcohol, song
History of European medieval dance is fragmented and limited, but is believed that simple folk dances were widespread among common and wealthy
Modern dance history in Europe started with Renaissance, when many new dances were invented. After that, periods of Baroque, post French
Revolution, Elizabethan era, World War 1, Prohibition, Ragtime and pre-WW2 brought many new waves of dance styles.
Waltz, one of the most popular dances today came into popularity in mid-19th century by the efforts of the famous composer Johann
Strauss, but its origins can be traced even to the distant 16th century.
At first, waltz was performed with arm's length between male and female dances. The shocking transition to the close embrace happened only after
English Queen Victoria fell in love with the dance and forced this change.
Around 30 thousand people are employed in UK dance industry today, maintaining around 200 dance companies.
Even people in wheelchairs can dance! Such dancing is very popular in Europe where there are even competitions in Latin dances with special
Professional dance is today regarded as one of the most demanding physical abilities and sports. According to studies, 80% of all professional
dances have at least one major injury during their career and staggering 93% of all dance teachers were forced into that position after career ending
High amount of injuries in professional dancing is induced by high levels of fatigue, little time for rest, inadequate healing techniques and
high stress levels. All those factors can produce burn out periods when dancers have decreased strength, coordination, cognitive and immune functions.
Lion Dance is one of the most popular religious and ceremonious dances in China and surrounding countries of Taiwan, Korea and Japan. This dance
can signify bringing of good fortune, ward of evil spirits and be an excellent showcase in martial arts proficiency.
After several thousand years, dancing managed to completely infuse itself into our way of life. Here you can find more information about this fascinating activity and the impact it can have on our lives.
Since the dawn of human civilization, dance remained in close connection with us. Here you can find out more about this fascinating part of our culture, all from its roots in ancient civilizations to the modern times.
Thousand years of innovations and evolution created modern dance that we all enjoy today. Here you can find out more about specific dance styles and the way they are implemented and created.
There are many specific dances which can be sorted into single dance styles or families of related dances. Here you can read more about specific dances and variants of a specific dance.
Facts about Dancing
Professional dances are today regarded as athletes.
Dancing is very beneficial to your health. It lowers the chances for heart and blood vessel diseases, improves posture and weight, reduces
stress and tension, improve brain function because of constant presence of music, and can improve relationship between dance partners.
Because of the need to maintain strict head position while dancing, doctors often prescribe use of dance for those patients that need to develop
their peripheral vision.
First balled dancer that used pointe shoes was Marie Taglioni in 1832 ballet "La Sylphide".
One tutu shoe cost up to $2000 dollars to be made, and one ballerina wears between 2 and three pairs per week.
Because of high physical demand on their bodies, most professional dances retire from dancing during their mid-30s.
Famous modern dance Cha-Cha originated from Cuba.
Famous energetic ballroom dance can-can (or cancan), which is performed by the row of female dances in long skirts originated form 1830s Paris
Origin of tap-dancing comes from the tribal dances of African slaves. Their arrival in North America introduced that dance to the western
Dancing with metal tap shoes became popular in United States during 1920s and 1930s. One of the most famous tap-dancing performers of that time
were Nicholas brothers, who were instrumental into bringing that style of dance into Hollywood movies.
Famous movie stars such as Fred Astaire, Ray Bolger and Gene Kelley used tap-dancing to enchant the minds of the worldwide audience with great
Hindu religion has very close relationship to dance and music. This connection can most visible be seen in their countless Bollywood movies that
all celebrate dancing.
One of the dances that managed to completely change the landscape of dance history is polka! This energetic dance that was focused for young
women that liked to jump, hop and turn swept across the world in mid-19th century.
Dancing represent great physical exercise for the people of all age. It can be safely practiced from the age of 2 to 102!
Many historical waves of dances were perceived as the "destructors" of the old way of dance. Examples of that can be found in the 1920's
Charleston and the era of Rock music.
First ballroom dance that was ever created is Italian Viennese Waltz.
One of the reason that ballroom dancing is starting to return into popularity is because famous TV competition show "Dancing with the Stars".
African slaves that were brought in Brazil 300-400 years ago were prohibited from practicing martial arts. Therefore, they developed the mix of
dancing and fighting that is known today as capoeira.
Breakdancing was first created as a "less lethal" form of fighting between warring African-American street gangs in 1970s Bronx area of New York
City. This form of dancing re-emerged into worldwide popularity during 1990s.
Dance marathon competition started as early as 14th century England. They reached height of their popularity in the bloom of US
entertainment expansion during 1930s depression era. Some competitions were performed in the 22 day long marathons.
The most sensual dance of modern times is without a doubt a Tango. It originated from 1890s Argentina, but it quickly became very successful in