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History of dance

From the earliest moments of known human history, dance accompanied ancient
rituals, spiritual gatherings and social events. As a conduit of trance, spiritual force,
pleasure, expression, performance and interaction, dance became infused into our
nature from the earliest moments of our existence - from the moment when first
African tribes covered themselves in war-paint to the to the spreading of music and
dance across all four corners of the world. Without a doubt, dancing remains one of
the most expressive forms of communications that we know.
The oldest proof of existence of dancing comes from the 9000 year old cave
paintings that were found in India, which depicts various scenes of hunting,
childbirth, religious rites, burials and most importantly, communal drinking and
dancing. Since dancing itself cannot leave clearly identifiable archeological artifacts
that can be found today, scientist looked for secondary clues, written word, stone
carvings, paintings and similar artifacts. Period when dancing became widespread
can be traced to the third millennia BC, when Egyptians started using dance as
integral parts of their religious ceremonies. Judging by the many tomb paintings
that survived the tooth of time, Egyptian priests used musical instruments and
dancers to mimic important events - stories of gods and cosmic patterns of moving
stars and sun.
This tradition continued in ancient Greece, where dance was used very regular and
openly to public (which eventually brought the birth of the famous Greek theatre in
6th century BC). Ancient paintings from 1st millennia clearly speak of many dance
rituals in Greek culture, most notably the one before start of each Olympian Games,
precursor to the modern Olympic Games. As centuries went on, many other
religions infused dance in the core of their rituals, such as Hindu dance "Bharata
Nhatyam" which is preformed even today.
Of course, not all dances in those ancient times were intended for religious
purposes. Ordinary people used dance for celebration, entertainment, seduction
and to induce the mood of frenzied exhilaration. Annual celebration in honor of
Greek god of wine Dionysus (and later Roman god Bacchus) included dancing and
drinking for several days. 1400BC year old Egyptian painting showed the group of
scantily dressed girls who danced for the wealthy male crowd, supported by the
several musicians. This kind of entertainment continued to be refined, until
medieval times and the start of the Renaissance when ballet became integral part
of the wealthy class.
European dances before the start of Renaissance were not widely documented, any
only few isolated fragments of their existence remain found today. The most basic
"chain shaped" dance practiced by commoners was most widespread across
Europe, but the arrival of Renaissance and new forms of music brought many other
styles in fashion. Renaissance dances from Spain, France and Italy were soon
surpassed by Baroque dances which became widely popular in French and English
courts. After the end of French Revolution, many new types of dances emerged with
focused on less restrictive woman clothing, and tendency for skipping and jumping.
These dances soon became even more energetic in 1844 with the beginning of so
called "international polka craze" which also brought us the first appearance of
famous waltz.
After the short period of time when great ballroom masters created wave of
complicated dances, the era of modern day 2 person dance started with the careers
of famous ballroom dances Vernon and Irene Castle. After those early years of 20th

century many modern dances were invented (Foxtrot, One-Step, Tango, Charleston,
Swing, Postmodern, Hip-hop, breakdancing and more) and the expansion of musical
brought those dances into worldwide popularity.
What is dance?
It is to move rhythmically to music; typically following a set of sequence of steps.
(vb). A series of movements that match the speed and rhythm of a piece of music.

Alignment: Refers to the position of the body and maintaining correct posture.
Proper alignment is necessary in dance to remain comfortable and avoid injuries.
Balance step: A step used in most forms of dance - left, right, front or back.
Contra body movement (CBM): The simultaneous movement of the body in the
direction of a turning leg. Used to provide a smooth transition for ballroom dance
Dig: Dropping the lifted foot down to the floor. Toe should be raised while the foot is
lifted and the toe or heel can be emphasized while touching the floor.
Extension: A repetitive dance pattern or exaggeration of a pose, by: stretching,
extending, rotating, or arching.
Fan: Better known as a toe fan. Complete a fan by swiveling out the free foot and
point the toe. Sweep forward or back in a circle and allow the toe to lightly brush
across the floor.
Frame: Proper alignment of the spine, arms, and body positions to maintain
balance and aid in coordination in dance.
Grapevine: A three step alternating pattern where feet cross in front of or behind
while traveling to the side.
Heel fan: Swivel heels away from each other then back to original position.
Home: Back to starting position.
Hands and feet position
First position: raise arms to a circle in front of the chest; being heels close to touch,
toes apart
Second position: open up arms side wards, raised below shoulder level with a
graceful curve; bring feet apart sideways.
Third position: raise one arm over head while other arm remains in 2 nd position;
bring heel of one foot to touch the instep of the other foot.
Fourth position: raise one arm in front of chest in a half circle, while one arm
remains overhead; bring one foot in front of the other foot to walk strike.
Fifth position: raise both arms overhead in a graceful curve; bring the heel of one
foot to touch the toe of the other.
Classifications of dance
Single circle (facing clockwise)
1. national dance

Single circle (facing counter clockwise)

Single circle (facing center)
Single circle (facing partner)
Double circle (partners facing clockwise)
Double circle (partners standing side by
side and counter clockwise)
Double circle formation (partners facing
each other)
Square or Quadrille formation
Double lines (facing audience)
Double line (partners facing)
Semi-circle or half moon
Diagonal formation

2. regional dance
3. local dance dance
5.war dance
6. wedding dance
7. courtship dance
8. tribal/native/Ethnic dance
9. Occupational dance
10. ceremonial dance