Emily Kleinkopf Dance History 12/04/12 Research Paper Dance’s Depiction on Relationships Martha Graham once said, “Dance is the

hidden language of the soul.” This quote explains so much, because even when a child is born and is trying to express itself, the child will do a certain type of dance. Dance reflects so much that is inside us. One thing that dancing has always reflected is the dating culture. The way a certain culture dances is a direct depiction on how the men and women treat each other in relationship to courtship in that certain day in age. Three dances that can be used to prove this are, Indigenous dance, Greek dance, and the Court dances. Out of all three of these different cultures, the Indigenous culture is the most obvious and literal. These people had a very high belief in God and the big role that God played in their lives. Therefore, they would do many ritualistic dances in order to please the Gods and get what they desired. Kassing states that the “shaman’s role in society connected everyday life, life-span celebrations, and religious celebrations for the group.” She later talks about how the primary dance functions were social and religious. One ritualistic dance they did in particular was the fertility ritual. Many of the tribesman would not live past their 30’s, so having children was very important so that they could keep their tribe strong. There were many different types of fertility rituals. The relationship was pretty equal between men and women and the evidence is through the rituals they did. Women as well as men would have to go through initiation rituals to make sure they were strong enough for adulthood. Although they had different roles, men and women had the same importance in the community. Once again, the main goal of men and women were to have children; therefore, the main rituals they had were to “strengthen the bond between the bride and the groom, thus

Emily Kleinkopf Dance History 12/04/12 Research Paper ensuring reproduction” (Kassing 31). There were multiple marriage rituals that including one man marrying multiple women: polygamy, one woman marrying multiple men: Polyandry, and they even had marriage by capture. Another dance in indigenous cultures is the trance dance. This dance can take many forms depending on where it is done. One way it is executed is the “women can sit around a fire while the shamans dance or the shamans can dance in the center while the women stand around them” (Trance Dance 1). The women will start to clap and sing more intensely as the men are continuing dancing. This eventually builds up to the point where they enter trance. Leading up to the actual dance there are two stages. First they have to experience a building of trust, where they “get to know the other members in the group” (History...1). To build this trust, people reveal who they are by certain movement and mirroring games done with one another. The next stage is to pick a partner that will support them through the dance. This person will always be watching to be able to get the other person what they need make sure to protect them from any danger. Finally they get to the actual stage where they enter the trance. While they are going through this experience they have constant support from the group around them. “It is the supporter’s job to use their intuition to decide what it is the dancer needs” (History…1). This process can be related to the relationship between man and women in this time period. In marriage they would need to be able to build trust with one another and strengthen that bond so that they can have a better job of reproducing and carrying on the human race.

Emily Kleinkopf Dance History 12/04/12 Research Paper Back in the early indigenous times, the different dances really represented the different roles men and women had in society. Depending on if you were a man or women determined what you were going to do with your life. For example, more expanded dances were more likely to be performed by men. African leap dances is an example of this, where the men will make huge movements and showcase their abilities. Meanwhile, the women would perform more closed dances where they would be more connected with the Earth and would sit and move around in fluid circular movements. One example of this would be belly dances. This was believed to prepare a woman for childbirth. This reiterates the women’s role to reproduce while the man is there to do the harder work. Ancient Greece also has many great examples of how dance is a direct reflection of the relationship of men and women in the time period. In similarity to indigenous dances, they too had dances to help with fertility, celebrating victories, at weddings…etc. The difference was the way that they danced. Dance played a very important role in ancient Greece. Dance was “regarded as one of the highest forms of art” (Lenonidou 1). Therefore it flourished in Greece. Most of the dances from Greece were circle dances. In these dances they were connected in a variety of different ways including handkerchiefs, hands, and shoulders. In the mixed dances, the man would always lead out, showing his prestige and authority among the village. This represents how in a relationship between a man and a woman the man is in charge and takes authority. Another interesting aspect of Greek dance, is that men and women would never dance together. When they were dancing at the same time, the “women [would be] in the inner circle, and the men in the outer circle” (Lenonidou 1). These dances were very good at resembling authority and through these dances it is evident that marriage is very important, because in these

Emily Kleinkopf Dance History 12/04/12 Research Paper circles the married men would come before the bachelors. It also shows how the family relationships work. The man would lead his wife, who would lead their oldest son and his wife and it would keep going until the very youngest was at the end. This meaning, that the older you are, the more authority you have and that the man would always take precedent over the woman. If by the men and women were dancing in the same circle, they were not allowed to touch one another; therefore, there would have to be a handkerchief in between them to ensure their integrity with one another. This shows how in their culture it was not proper for a man and a woman to be alone with another person and that the man needs to treat the higher class woman with respect. Another interesting fact about these Greek dances is that a married woman could not be right beside someone who was not family. A child or an elderly person would have to be in between the married woman and the other person. This shows again that more higher class woman were treated with respect and that any form of adultery from them was not tolerated in the slightest. They made sure to take precautions to the extreme so that there would be no chance of anything like that to happen. In these Greek dances, they would represent the different roles that men and women would play. The women’s dances were very “slow, simple and dignified whereas the men’s dances often portrayed their manhood” (Lenonidou 1). Some examples of this, was a dance called Deixis, which means “pure dance.” This is where the “male dancer portrayed the essence of human character and animal or natural element such as fire or wind” (Kassing 53). While the great majority of the Greek dances were done with the men and women separate, there was one dance where they would alternate boy-girl, boy-girl. This dance was called the Geronos or chain dance. This dance “reenacts the story of Ariadne, future wife of

Emily Kleinkopf Dance History 12/04/12 Research Paper Dionysus… aiding Theseus to escape the labyrinth after killing the Minotaur” (Greek and Bacchanalian Dance 1). After the lovers escaped, they went to and island called Naxos. Here they danced a winding, maze-like dance to honor Aphrodite to celebrate their love. Here the younger boys and girls were able to dance together and even touch each other without the handkerchiefs whereas the older group would always dance separate. In the ancient Greece there was a group of people called the Courtesans. This is where the “dancing was carried to great perfection by females, who were frequently engaged to add to the pleasures and enjoyment of men” (Greek and Bacchanalian Dance 1). In other words they were often referred to as high class prostitutes. This shows more of the frivolous side of the Greek culture and shows that the men had more freedom then the wives did. As the ancient culture of Greece progresses the dancing becomes more burlesque containing lewd gestures and movements. Dances from ancient Greece would differ slightly depending on which region that dance was from. This also is a representation on how the culture and relationship between men and women was slightly different between the different regions of Greece. For example, Sparta’s role of women was very different than what Athenians thought the women’s role was. Spartan women had much more freedom at home and more equality with their husbands, while Athenian women were not equal to their husbands. In a Spartan wedding dance, men and women would dance the Caryatis, which is believed to be a dance of innocence. The next section of dances that represent how the relationship between men and women is reflected in dance are the court dances. These dances were done in Europe and it was a

Emily Kleinkopf Dance History 12/04/12 Research Paper “perfect setting for men and women to demonstrate their dancing abilities” (Western Social Dance 1). Here not only were dancing abilities shown, but also their certain manners and fashions of the time. King Louis the XIV brought about a new age of dance and grandeur that no one had known before in the court. Since notation had just been invented it made it a lot easier for dances to be spread to different courts and for variations to come about, which eventually lead to new and improved dances. In the late eighteenth century there was more of a push for group social dances or figure dances called contra dances. Most of these were designed for four couples facing in a square. These dances had a variety of changes all put together and the dance would be done once all the changes or figures had been made. Since the ladies were in fancy ball gowns and the men in prestigious suits, the movement mostly consisted of walking in certain figures and in certain ways. The women would always be with a partner and throughout the dance would be treated like a lady. This resembles how the men would treat the lady through courtship. The lady was very modest at all times and anything remotely inappropriate was scandal. Everything was very proper and the lady was treated with respect. Another era of court dances that greatly reflect the dating culture of the time was the Elizabethan Era. There were two very distinct dances of the time. One was the dances of the upper class and the other was the dances of the lower class. Among the upper class, because of the multiple foreign influences from countries like Italy and Spain, there were always new dances coming to the courts. All of these were “highly sophisticated and stately with intricate steps and nuances” (Elizabethan Dance 1). The majority of these dances were performed as couples. There was one dance in particular, called the Volt. This was the only dance in the

Emily Kleinkopf Dance History 12/04/12 Research Paper Elizabethan court which allowed the dancers to embrace closely. The women were also lifted high in the air by their partner, a very exhilarating thing at the time. Queen Elizabeth loved to dance and would often use it as exercise. She danced well into her fifties and loved every minute of it. There were many dances that represented the culture of the day in age that were done in her courts. The reason why they were only done in her courts and not in the lower class was because most of the instruments were very large and were not made for outdoor use. One dance in particular was called the Gavotte. It was danced in couples in a circle at a medium tempo. It was quite a popular dance and some thing that it became so popular because it ended up developing into the kissing dance. This shows that the men and women would take whatever liberties they were allowed and seemed appropriate at the time with their courting. Also, the men and women would be able to get away with a lot more while they were dancing as opposed to just being alone with an escort. For the lower class, the only interaction they got with the newest innovations and latest fashions was through the theatre. They were in no position to hear the new court music or learn the intricate steps. Therefore, these dances were danced by couples in “round, square, or rectangular sets in much simpler and repetitive forms and less intricate steps” (Elizabethan Era 1). These dances instead of being brand new had been passes down from generation to generation and were just really popular country dances. A lot of these dances are what we know today as Morris dances. One dance they enjoyed doing was called the maypole dance. This dance had come all the way from the English pagan era. The maypole, which they would dance around during certain times of the year, represented a symbol of fertility.

Emily Kleinkopf Dance History 12/04/12 Research Paper Although there was separation from the upper and lower class, the dances they did have in common were the ones dominated by the Christian festivals and their Pagan beliefs. This shows some similarity in culture and courtship although they were apart of two different classes. One example of this is in February they would have an Elizabethan festival called St Valentine’s Day. During this festival they would celebrate “love with singing, dancing and pairing games” (Elizabethan Era 1). In April, they would have the fool’s day and they would have odd suggestions for couples. So we see that a lot has changed since the time of the Greeks, where they could barely even hold hands while dancing whereas now in the new age of Court dancing, the majority of the dances are done in couples. This shows how the relationship between males and females has changed. Now, we can see through the dancing, how the lords and ladies have progressed to having much more of a relationship before marriage instead of just getting married and making it work after marriage. Dance is such a big reflection of culture. By studying and researching the Indigenous, the Greek and the court dances, the evidence points to the fact that the way cultures dance with one another is a direct reflection on the dating culture of that time. You can also see how the cultures have progressed throughout time and how they continually progressed to our day in age. Just 100-200 years ago, dancing used to be such an important and essential part of people’s lives. Now, the dancing is slowly becoming non-existent as a social past time and the youth are losing that form of communication with one another that they used to have. By observing the past, you can see how dance has transformed throughout time. Dance is so important and is such essential part of a person’s life. Like Martha Graham said, “Dance is the hidden language of the soul.”

Emily Kleinkopf Dance History 12/04/12 Research Paper Works Cited Court dances “Elizabethan Dance.” Elizabethan-era. http://www.elizabethan-era.org.uk/elizabethan-dance.htm “Western Social Dance: An Overview of the Collection.” Dance Instruction Manuals. 1998. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/dihtml/diessay0.html Trance “The History and Purpose of the Trance Dance.” Neurotrance Records. http://neurotrance.org/the- history-and-purpose-of-the-trance-dance “Trance Dance.” The African Rock Art Digital Archive. http://www.sarada.co.za/subject/trance_dance/ Greek Lenonidou, Anne. “Portrait of the Greek Dance.” Nostos Hellenic Information Society. 2000. http://www.nostos.com/dance/ “Greek and Bacchanalian Dance.” Ancient Greek Dance. http://www.carnaval.com/greece/dance/ Dance Reflection of Culture Kornelly, Shari. “Dancing culture, Culture Dancing.” March 23, 2001. http://astro.temple.edu/~ruby/vatu/visuals/dissertations/shari.html Kassing, Gayle. History of Dance. United States: Sheridan Books, 2007. Print.