Social dances, those intended for participation rather than for an audience, may include various forms of mime and narrative, but are typically set much more closely to the rhythmic pattern of music, so that terms like waltz and polka refer as much to musical pieces as to the dance itself. The rhythm of the dancers' feet may even form an essential part of the music, as in tap dance. African dance, for example, is rooted in fixed basic steps, but may also allow a high degree of rhythmic interpretation: the feet or the trunk mark the basic pulse while cross-rhythms are picked up by shoulders, knees, or head, with the best dancers simultaneously giving plastic expression to all the elements of the polyrhythmic pattern.
Dance in Africa is deeply integrated into society and major events in a community are frequently reflected in dances: dances are performed for births and funerals, weddings and wars. Traditional dances impart cultural morals, including religious traditions and sexual standards; give vent to repressed emotions, such as grief; motivate community members to cooperate, whether fighting wars or grinding grain; enact spiritual rituals; and contribute to social cohesiveness.
Thousands of dances are performed around the continent. These may be divided into traditional, neotraditional, and classical styles: folkloric dances of a particular society, dances created more recently in imitation of traditional styles, and dances transmitted more formally in schools or private lessons. African dance has been altered by many forces, such as European missionaries and colonialist governments, who often suppressed local dance traditions as licentious or distracting. Dance in contemporary African cultures still serves its traditional functions in new contexts; dance may celebrate the inauguration of a hospital, build community for rural migrants in unfamiliar cities, and be incorporated into Christian church ceremonies.
All Indian classical dances are to varying degrees rooted in the Natyashastra and therefore share common features: for example, the mudras (hand positions), some body positions, leg movement and the inclusion of dramatic or expressive acting or abhinaya. Indian classical music provides accompaniment and dancers of nearly all the styles wear bells around their ankles to counterpoint and complement the percussion.
There are now many regional varieties of Indian classical dance. Dances like "Odra Magadhi", which after decades long debate, has been traced to present day Mithila, Odisha region's dance form of Odissi (Orissi), indicate influence of dances in cultural interactions between different regions.
The Punjab area overlapping India and Pakistan is the place of origin of Bhangra. It is widely known both as a style of music and a dance. It is mostly related to ancient harvest celebrations, love, patriotism or social issues. Its music is coordinated by a musical instrument called the 'Dhol'. Bhangra is not just music but a dance, a celebration of the harvest where people beat the dhol (drum), sing Boliyaan (lyrics) and dance. It developed further with the Vaisakhi festival of the Sikhs.
The dances of Sri Lanka include the devil dances (yakun natima), a carefully crafted ritual reaching far back into Sri Lanka's pre-Buddhist past that combines ancient "Ayurvedic" concepts of disease causation with psychological manipulation and combines many aspects including Sinhalese cosmology. Their influence can be seen on the classical dances of Sri Lanka.
The dances of the Middle East are usually the traditional forms of circle dancing which are modernized to an extent. They would include dabke, tamzara, Assyrian folk dance, Kurdish dance, Armenian dance and Turkish dance, among others. All these forms of dances would usually involve participants engaging each other by holding hands or arms (depending on the style of the dance). They would make rhythmic moves with their legs and shoulders as they curve around the dance floor. The head of the dance would generally hold a cane or handkerchief.
Folk dances vary across Europe and may date back hundreds or thousands of years, but many have features in common such as group participation led by a caller, hand-holding or arm-linking between participants, and fixed musical forms known as caroles. Some, such as the maypole dance are common to many nations, while others such as the céilidh and the polka are deeply-rooted in a single culture. Some European folk dances such as the square dance were brought to the New World and subsequently became part of American culture.
Ballet developed first in Italy and then in France from lavish court spectacles that combined music, drama, poetry, song, costumes and dance. Members of the court nobility took part as performers. During the reign of Louis XIV, himself a dancer, dance became more codified. Professional dancers began to take the place of court amateurs, and ballet masters were licensed by the French government. The first ballet dance academy was the Académie Royale de Danse (Royal Dance Academy), opened in Paris in 1661. Shortly thereafter, the first institutionalized ballet troupe, associated with the Academy, was formed; this troupe began as an all-male ensemble but by 1681 opened to include women as well.
20th century concert dance brought an explosion of innovation in dance style characterized by an exploration of freer technique. Early pioneers of what became known as modern dance include Loie Fuller, Isadora Duncan, Mary Wigman and Ruth St. Denis. The relationship of music to dance serves as the basis for Eurhythmics, devised by Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, which was influential to the development of Modern dance and modern ballet through artists such as Marie Rambert. Eurythmy, developed by Rudolf Steiner and Marie Steiner-von Sivers, combines formal elements reminiscent of traditional dance with the new freer style, and introduced a complex new vocabulary to dance. In the 1920s, important founders of the new style such as Martha Graham and Doris Humphrey began their work. Since this time, a wide variety of dance styles have been developed; see Modern dance.
African American dance developed in everyday spaces, rather than in dance studios, schools or companies. Tap dance, disco, jazz dance, swing dance, hip hop dance, the lindy hop with its relationship to rock and roll music and rock and roll dance have had a global influence. Dance styles fusing classical ballet technique with African-American dance have also appeared in the 21st century, including Hiplet.
Dance is central to Latin American social life and culture. Brazilian Samba, Argentinian tango, and Cuban salsa are internationally popular partner dances, and other national dances—merengue, cueca, plena, jarabe, joropo, marinera, cumbia, bachata and others—are important components of their respective countries' cultures. Traditional Carnival festivals incorporate these and other dances in enormous celebrations.
Dance has played an important role in forging a collective identity among the many cultural and ethnic groups of Latin America. Dance served to unite the many African, European, and indigenous peoples of the region. Certain dance genres, such as capoeira, and body movements, especially the characteristic quebradas or pelvis swings, have been variously banned and celebrated throughout Latin American history.
Hip hop originated in New York, specifically in the area known as the Bronx. It was created for those who struggled in society and didn't seem to have a voice in the community that surrounded them because of their lack of wealth. It helped those in the same situation come together and speak about difficult topics by using movement and feeling.
Dance studies are offered through the arts and humanities programs of many higher education institutions. Some universities offer Bachelor of Arts and higher academic degrees in Dance. A dance study curriculum may encompass a diverse range of courses and topics, including dance practice and performance, choreography, ethnochoreology, kinesiology, dance notation, and dance therapy. Most recently, dance and movement therapy has been integrated in some schools into math lessons for students with learning disabilities, emotional/behavioral disabilities and/or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Professional dancers are usually employed on contract or for particular performances or productions. The professional life of a dancer is generally one of constantly changing work situations, strong competitive pressure and low pay. Consequently, professional dancers often must supplement their incomes to achieve financial stability. In the U.S. many professional dancers belong to unions (such as the American Guild of Musical Artists, Screen Actors Guild and Actors' Equity Association) that establish working conditions and minimum salaries for their members. Professional dancers must possess large amounts of athleticism. To lead a successful career, it is advantageous to be versatile in many styles of dance, have a strong technical background and to utilize other forms of physical training to remain fit and healthy.
Dance teachers typically focus on teaching dance performance, or coaching competitive dancers, or both. They typically have performance experience in the types of dance they teach or coach. For example, dancesport teachers and coaches are often tournament dancers or former dancesport performers. Dance teachers may be self-employed, or employed by dance schools or general education institutions with dance programs. Some work for university programs or other schools that are associated with professional classical dance (e.g., ballet) or modern dance companies. Others are employed by smaller, privately owned dance schools that offer dance training and performance coaching for various types of dance.
Choreographers are the ones that design the dancing movements within a dance, they are often university trained and are typically employed for particular projects or, more rarely may work on contract as the resident choreographer for a specific dance company.
A dance competition is an organized event in which contestants perform dances before a judge or judges for awards, and in some cases, monetary prizes. There are several major types of dance competitions, distinguished primarily by the style or styles of dances performed. Major types of dance competitions include:
In addition, there are numerous dance competitions shows presented on television and other mass media.
Hiplet- When Ballet Meets Hip-Hop
Folk dance – a trio of Irish Stepdancers performing in competition
Folk dance in Estonia
A contemporary dancer performs a stag split leap
Dance partnering – a male dancer assists a female dancer in performing an arabesque, as part of a classical pas de deux
Acrobatic dance – an acro dancer performs a front aerial
A dancer performs a "toe rise", in which she rises from a kneeling position to a standing position on the tops of her feet
Social dance – dancers at a juke joint dance the Jitterbug, an early 20th century dance that would go on to influence swing, jive, and jazz dance
Latin Ballroom dancers perform the Tango
Gumboot dance evolved from the stomping signals used as coded communication between labourers in South African mines
Harlequin and Columbina from the mime theater in Copenhagen, Denmark
A hip-hop dancer demonstrates popping
Erotic dance – a pole dancer performs a routine
Prop dance – a fire dancer performance
Modern dance – a female dancer performs a leg split while balanced on the back of her partner
Stage dance – a professional dancer at the Bolshoi Theatre
A nineteenth century artist's representation of a Flamenco dancer
Ritual dance – Armenian folk dancers celebrate a neo-pagan new year
A latin ballroom couple perform a Samba routine at a dancesport event
Folk dance – some dance traditions travel with immigrant communities, as with this festival dance performed by a Polish community in Turkey
A ballet dancer performs a standing side split
Street dance – a Breakdancer performs a handstand trick
Indian classical dancer
Ballet class of young girls wearing leotards and skirts in 2017
Kebagh dance from Pagar Alam, Indonesia