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Dancing Essay

Dance is a performing art. It is described in many ways. It is when people move to a musicalrhythm. They may be alone, or in a group. The dance may be an informal play, a part of a ritual, or a part of a professionalperformance. There are many kinds of dances, and every human society has its own dances.

Dancing is not a sport, though it does have some athletic aspects. Dance is an art. Some people dance to express their feelings and emotions. Other people dance to feel better. Dance can be used to tell a story. In some societies, dance goes with song as well as music. People who want to learn to dance can go to dance schools. It may take years of practice to become an experienced and flexible dancer.

To plan a dance is called choreography, done by a choreographer.[1] Often this goes with music, and fits into a certain style. Dances may be planned in detail, or they may be whatever dancers feel like doing. However, most dancing does follow some general style or pattern. One style is the couple dance, where (usually) a man and a woman dance together. Other dances need an ensemble, a group of people together to make it work.

History[change | change source]

People have always danced. Every society has its own dances. There are pictures, on pottery and stone, which show dances from several thousand years ago, in Egypt and Greece.[2]Chapter5

Sachs divides early dances into 'Imageless dances' and 'Image dances'. By 'imageless dances' he meant dances which have no set form, but aim at getting the dancers into a state of ecstasy. In this state the dancer(s) seem changed, in a trance, and are often thought of (by their society) as being 'possessed by spirits'. These dances are done on certain occasions: marriage, war, famine, illness or death, and so on. They are found in all early ('primitive') societies.[2]p49; 62

The 'image dances', according to Sachs, are to do with the world outside the dancer. By imitating an animal or object, the dancer believes he can capture a power and make it useful. To dance in imitation of the animal which is going to be hunted is to become one with them. To imitate the act of sex is to achieve fertility. This is the kind of thinking behind an image dance. Sachs points out that societies of this kind do not really understand the connection between cause and effect. They really believe the image dances work. The dance type which is used in image dances is mime.[2]p49; 77

The two styles of dance may be joined together. Fertility dances may involve both ecstatic states and mime. The great dancer Nijinsky used some of these ideas in his choreography for the balletLe Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring), a ballet about the sacrifice of a girl during a primitive celebration of Spring.

In more recent times, the first dance school we know about was opened in 1661 in Paris. Only men were accepted until 1681. After 1681, women were accepted too. Ballroom dances are forms of modern dance. Ballroom dances such as the waltz are done by couples.

Until the 20th century, most ballroom dances were sequence dances. The way people moved was planned in set formation. These formations were usually lines or squares. Everyone moved at the same time, and finished at the same time. The music played for a set time, and then stopped. After the invention of the waltz, around 1800, another style of dancing developed.[3] In the waltz, and later dances, people danced in couples, but they did so separately. They did not dance in formation, but moved round the room as they pleased (but anti-clockwise). Often, new dance styles arrive. Some dance as individuals, separately, as they please. Street dance is like that. All these types of dance have music.

At the same time, round the world there are many traditional dances. Some of them have been going for hundreds of years. We call them folkloric dances.

The coming of popular music videos and DVDs led to a kind of dancer previously seen in some stage shows. A backup dancer (or background dancer) is a performer who dances with or behind the lead performers in a live musical act or in a music video.[4]

Styles[change | change source]

There are many different styles of dance, which fall into these general types:

Professional dancers[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dance.
Ballet: Silje does an arabesque (by her father, Frode Inge Helland)
Young couple dancing at a junior Latin dance competition.
  1. ↑Crane Debra & Mackrell, Judith 2000. The Oxford Dictionary of Dance. Oxford University Press, Oxford. [this book only deals with ballet]
  2. 2.02.12.2Sachs, Curt 1937. The world history of the dance. Norton, N.Y.
  3. ↑Wood, Melusine 1952. Historical dances: 12th to 19th centuries. Dance Books, London.
  4. Storr, Will (5 June 2011). "The truth about life as a background dancer". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 

They say, ‘Dance is a way to find yourself and lose yourself, all at the same time’. In a quest to understand the myriad of feelings a dancer experiences while performing, we asked a few dancers to tell us about the lessons they have learnt via this art or a quote on dance. Here is part one of the series – Dancing is my Passion!

Nitya Rajagopal

Dance is a religion!!! No rights no wrongs!!

I have been a dance enthusiast my entire life!! Started dancing for fun when I was young and took it professionally along the way. Dance for me is my life. It is the biggest part that defines my personality. It has taught me discipline, emotions, strength, togetherness, vulnerability all at the same time. The one thing that can always cheer me up is dancing! It puts a smile on my face and fills my heart with joy!!

All I know is I wouldn’t be me without Dance!! I breathe when I Dance ❤

Swapnil Dagliya

  1. Dance has taught me to be on time and manage my time very well 

This was one of the first lessons that we learnt. At the school in Broadway dance Centre New York City, we were told that either we should be on time or we wouldn’t be permitted to attend the class.

This is what I tell my students as well. It’s not easy to study your engineering, go to your dance class, have an exam the next day and still manage to do everything well and on time. So you need to manage time well.

  1. Discipline 

More than anything else, dance has taught me to be disciplined. Ballet and contemporary are styles that you cannot take up as a hobby. They require countless hours of efforts, working on the grace and perfecting your technique.

  1. Openness and inclusivity

When a large number of distinct people come and attend dance classes with you, this teaches you to be inclusive, celebrate the uniqueness in a person rather than making fun of the differences. We all dance the same choreography but we all might end up looking completely different, each special in their own way. Accept one and all is what I have learnt!

4.   Life isn’t always fair
While dancing, you realize that everything isn’t all hunky-dory, you hurt yourself, other people compete with you, sometimes others are even mean to you. And this is true for everyday life as well. An important lesson learnt.

Chaitrali Tamaskar

I started dance at an early stage when I didn’t even know the meaning of classical dance. My mother wanted me to learn Bharatanatyam and I am thankful to her as these classes slowly turned into my passion. Dance for me is an art which sets you free. You enter into a beautiful world of creativity. Dance gives you confidence and helps you find your hidden self. Dance, especially classical form is inexhaustible, even if you perform a piece 100 times every time you can approach it with a new outlook. When you dance you have to be alert, forget your personal feeling and be focused as you have to follow the music, beats, remember your steps and at the same time enjoy the beautiful compositions. Irrespective of whether you do solo or group performances, dance teaches you team work. Group performances teach you to be a part of the group and give importance and respect to others. In today’s world one should definitely learn one of the art forms – be it dance, music or instrument as it can be a great stress buster. Words are difficult to put in to describe what dance gives you and your feeling when you perform. I am glad I got an opportunity to learn this beautiful art and my with family support can continue learning and passing it to next generation.

Yogini Gandhi

The body sculpts the space
The mind etches the moods
My soul soars in this unison
as I celebrate Life through Dance !!

WOW! Now that is called passion! So much to learn from an art form along with the bunch of happiness one experiences while dancing! Stay tuned for the part two of the series getting published on 07-Jul-2016.

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