Dance (from Old French dancier, perhaps from Frankish) generally refers to human movement either used as a form of expression or presented in a social, spiritual or performance setting. Dance is also used to describe methods of non-verbal communication (see body language) between humans or animals (bee dance, mating dance), motion in inanimate objects ("the leaves danced in the wind"), and certain musical forms or genres.
Definitions of what constitutes dance are dependent on social, cultural, aesthetic artistic and moral constraints and range from functional movement (such as Folk dance) to codified, virtuoso techniques such as ballet. In sports, gymnastics, figure skating and synchronized swimming are dance disciplines while Martial arts 'kata' are often compared to dances.
Dance does not leave behind physical artifacts for immediate evidence. Thus, it is impossible to say with any certainty when dance became part of human culture. However, dance has certainly been an important part of ceremony, rituals, celebrations and entertainment since the birth of the earliest human civilizations. Many contemporary dance forms can be traced back to historical, traditional, ceremonial, and ethnic dances.
Although dance and music can be traced back to prehistoric times it is unclear which art form came first. However, as rhythm and sound are the result of movement, and music can inspire movement, the relationship between the two forms has probably always been symbiotic.
Did you find this review helpful?