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Submitted by on May 18, 2022

Dance is a genre of performance art that consists of improvisational or pre-planned movement routines. This trend has both aesthetic and symbolic significance. Dance can be classified and characterized based on its choreography, movement repertory, or historical time or location of origin.

Although these two categories are not necessarily fully separate, there is a distinction to be made between the settings of theatrical and participation dance; each can have unique roles, whether social, ceremonial, competitive, sensual, martial, or sacred/liturgical. More kinds of human movement, such as martial arts, gymnastics, cheerleading, figure skating, synchronized swimming, marching bands, and many other sports, are frequently claimed to have a dance-like feel.

Theatrical dance, often known as performance or concert dance, is primarily meant as a spectacle, generally with virtuoso dancers performing on a stage. It frequently presents a tale using mime, costume, and scenery, or it just interprets the musical accompaniment, which is frequently particularly written. Western ballet and modern dance, classical Indian dance like Bharatanatyam, and Chinese and Japanese song and dance plays like Dragon dance are all examples. Although most traditional forms focus only on dance, performance dance may also be seen in opera and other forms of musical theater.

Participatory dance, on the other hand, whether it’s a folk dance, a social dance, a group dance like a line, circle, chain, or square dance, or a partner dance like Western ballroom dancing, is done primarily for a common purpose, such as social interaction or exercise, or to build flexibility in participants, rather than to benefit onlookers. A story is rarely included in this type of dance. A social partner dance and a pas de deux are vastly different from a group dance and a corps de ballet. Even a solo dance might be performed entirely for the dancer’s enjoyment. Participatory dancers frequently use the same moves and steps, although with electronic dance music’s rave culture, large audiences may participate in free dance, uncoordinated with others around them. On the other hand, some cultures have stringent restrictions about which dances men, women, and children are allowed or required to engage in.

9,000-year-old paintings at India’s Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, as well as Egyptian tomb paintings portraying dancing figures dated around 3300 BC, provide evidence for early dance. Dance, it has been suggested, was an integral element of the oral and performance means of passing stories down from one generation to the next before written languages were invented. Another early component in the social evolution of dance is the employment of dancing in euphoric trance states and healing rituals (as seen today in many modern “primitive” societies, from the Brazilian jungle to the Kalahari Desert).

Greek dancing (horos) is mentioned by Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, and Lucian in very early documented history. Many events linked to dancing are mentioned in the Bible and Talmud, and there are over 30 different dance terminology. Groups of people are pictured dancing in a line holding hands in Chinese ceramics dating back to the Neolithic period, and the earliest Chinese term for “dance” is found engraved in oracle bones. The Lüshi Chunqiu goes into much detail about dance. In ancient China, primitive dancing was related with sorcery and shamanic rites.

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