Dance is the hidden language of the soul and of the body, said Martha Graham. This can be amply observed in any dance performance as the dancer immerses himself in the soul and rhythm of the music he is dancing to. Dance recreates certain human motions and gives it an aesthetic and symbolic meaning that is understood by the performer and the audience who belong to a particular culture. Dance is not just a pastime, it is often a passion and a profession to many people. The dance form can be traced back to cave paintings in India that has existed for almost 9000 years. Dances were an important part of the religious ceremonies in Ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece. They were used for storytelling in the religious as well as in the secular world. Dance is used to educate people, it is a leisure activity, and it is also used in political and social situations. Learning to dance helps a student to better understand and express himself.
Western Dance Adapting To Cultural Influences
Western dance has undergone constant innovation. Unlike Eastern dances where the refined forms of movement have remained unchanged over centuries, Western dance is quick to adapt to new forms of dancing. It has been ready to embrace ritual dances or social dances from different parts of society. Western medieval dances were very popular both among the wealthy and the common classes. The Renaissance was a period during which dances like the waltz began to be popular. It was a favorite of Queen Victoria and so was readily accepted by the aristocracy and the commoners in the UK. Ballet which originated in the Italian courts became very popular in France and Russia. Tango, rumba, hip hop or street dancing, and tap dancing were some of the other western dance forms that developed over the years due to influences from around the world.
Types Of Dance
There are 2 main forms of western dance. Theatrical dance such as ballets and concert dances are performed for an audience or during a festival. This is a more formal type of dance where there is elaborate choreography, costume, scenery, and a lot of planning. This is usually performed by professionals who even create dance moves inspired by the musical accompaniment. Social dances are performed by all the people who are part of the occasion such as those dances performed at weddings and festivals. Social dances can be danced alone or in groups such as pairs, lines, or chains. There is greater emphasis on enjoyment here rather than skill.
Benefits Of Learning Dance
Dance professionals are very disciplined and are perfectionists. This is something a student of dance, whether Western or other forms, should aspire to. Dances and dance practices go on for long periods of time and hence dancers are usually physically fit with great muscular strength and a capacity for endurance. They are also agile, well-coordinated, and very flexible. There are a lot of health benefits to be obtained from learning to dance such as weight management and mental wellbeing. It also strengthens the heart and the lungs.