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How does dance reflect changes in our society?

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Gabrielle Ménès

on 10 April 2014

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Transcript of How does dance reflect changes in our society?

3500 BCA
Fist signs of dance appeared when the first civilizations appeared. It was used to warm themselves up during the cold harsh winters. Later, became a sort of sign language.
486 BCA
In Sri Lanka about 2500 years ago, healing dances were created to help those who were sick and needed help. We can now trace certain movement and bases from modern dance back to this creation.
3500 BCA
Oriental dance commonly know as belly dance is from North Africa. This dance was a spiritual dance that was danced for weddings.
The Bharata Natyam is from south India. This dance is a daily ritual, it is taught by a god. It is only taught to wise women. It slowly came out of temples, to be observed by the general public. Also, the danced had many hand gestures that all meant something, the dancers were able to tell stories. It gave the opportunity to come and enjoy a story or/and a ritual together; it was a form of bonding.

In medieval Europe dance macabre were created because they thought that they would protect civilians from diseases. Unfortunately, the dances were extremely long and therefore sometime would lead to death because of exhaustion

Middle age 1066-1370
Typical traditional African dances come from Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Cameroon. It is danced bare-footed to get energy from the ground to transmit it to the sky. They dance it to the beat of the drums. It was a way for the entire village to come together and celebrate joy.

Ballet starts to be a very popular dance in royal courts. Italy is the pioneer in art and especially dance at that time. Masters of dance were the first to create and name dance movements. In France, Francis the first is the first one to introduce classical ballet in his royal court. During balls, classical ballet would be danced, this only applied to royal courts. Louis XIV is known as the founder of ballet. He created to most prestigious dance company, which still is: The Paris Opera ballet. Classical ballet, was a real sign of monarchy, the king only founded the Paris opera ballet. Only, the high society of France could go see and enjoy the ballet. It was an example of inequalities in society.

14-17 century
In the 1500’s it was the beginning of the slave labor and trade. Suddenly Hundreds of African dances, and ethnic groups merged together with European dances in their place of “work”. They used it to remind themselves of their homes, to communicate and also just for fun since they really didn’t have any during the day.

In the 1510’s their masters realized it pretty quickly and decided to ban dance. But the slaves found ways to perform them in secret.

Black slaves from Brazil invented the capoeira, to circumvent to fighting rule imposed by the white. They eliminated direct contact and replaced it with a kind a dance movement. It was banned but became legal when slavery was abolished in 1937.

Traditional folk dance was born in France. It rapidly spread to other countries in Europe. It really symbolizes a time when villages would dance for fun.

16th century
In America, there was a lot of immigrants, and like everything else, dance became a real melting, of different cultures from all over the world. These cultures came together and formed country dancing. It really reflected, the melting pot America became.

19th century
It is the birth of romantic ballet, it help evolve ballet technique. Now women on stage were not backgrounds anymore, but were more the “stars” of the show, they were highlighted.

Character dance is a dance adaptation from many dances from Hungary, Russia, Poland, Italy and Spain the dances were called czardas, mazurka, tarantella, flamenco and so on. This dance was a mixture because a lot of immigrants from those countries would be gathered together in Russia and the mix there dances together to for one: Character dance. It was also a dance to celebrate joy and happiness in the community. It has also been reported that it was a way for young members of the community to meet each other.
In New York at that time it was the hub of all the immigrants from Europe. So traditional dances from Ireland, Scotland and England came together and slowly created tap dancing. The traditional dances from these countries included clogs, which made a similar sound to what modern tap shoes make. The shoe slowly transformed itself in a leather shoe, with metal split soles.

The Black Crook is first Broadway show in history. Broadway has been one of the most popular dance shows in history. Not only rich people can attend shows, like in ballet for example, but also lower classes. The tickets have different prices depending on were you sit in the theater. For the first time, there is a mix of classes sharing the same space.

Flamenco, a dance created by gipsy’s in Argentina. The dance symbolized persecuted gipsies from the time. It was a way for the gipsy’s to get their minds of thing.

18th century
In 1754, in Vienna, waltz was created. It was a very choking dance for the time, un married men and women dancing together, holding hands, and they were facing each other. But it slowly revolutionized the dance world of the time.
20th century

Neo classical ballet is born. Classical dance isn’t seen as a royal dance. A wider audience can enjoy ballet without being specialists. All the technique is actualized for more modern times.

Samba was created in Rio de Janeiro; it was created for the carnival. The dancers need to give the dance a happy, flirtatious and exuberant interpretation to it. The Carnival and the dance itself was a sign of joy and happiness.
During the roaring twenties, Josephine baker first introduced Charleston to the world, this dance introduced women to a new way of dancing a freer and more provocative way of dancing. It was the birth of the modern women.
During the prohibition in the 1920’s American would go to Cuba to be able to consume alcohol. It is there that they discovered the salsa a local Cuban dance. This dance was sadly only created under bad circumstances. African drums on ships to America created it; they were forced to play the music to keep the spirits of the slaves up, so they would arrive alive.

In Germany, two choreographers, created modern dance, a dance were no technique is needed, to movements were free. This dance symbolized a change in the dance world to switch between classicism and modernism.
America had become a real melting pot, immigrants from all over the world had all their own. All these dances created Jazz. After long days at work, to liberate themselves they would dance jazz all together. The movie west Side Story demonstrates this phenomenon.

Dance is starting to appear in Hollywood movies. Now an even wider population has now access to dance. But as new dances are created tap dance slowly dies down.

Bollywood dance started to be more popular. It was a mix a traditional classical Indian dances. It was a celebration dance. Typically at the end of movies, it is there to show the joy of the movie (even if they are often very sad).

Butô is a traditional dance from china. It is linked to the a religious ritual in China. This dance is used to communicate with kami’s (spirits) and to the dead. This dance really found light after the Hiroshima tragedy. Families would gather together and dance it. It is still practiced today.

Break dancing and Hip-Hop are born in Harlem, New york. It was dance to show your power basically. There would be battles, between gangs to show who was the strongest. Instead of violence, the gangs would break dance or dance Hip-hop.

Between the years of 1960 and 1975 two of the greatest dancers in the world defected from Russia. In 1961, while touring in France, Rudolf Nureyev before entering the plane declared:
"I want to stay and to be free..." Baryshnikov defected in 1974 to Canada during an international tour with the Kirov ballet, he wanted more opportunities in western dance.

Tap dance was reborn after World war two, but didn’t live up to its true potential until 1980, when African American dancers tap danced in movies again.

In the United States of America, contemporary dance was a reference to the movement of all the dancers who didn’t to follow the strict rules of classical dance. It was considered a revolutionary kind of dance. It was created, to suit everyone. You didn’t needed any dance background to practice it. Therefore, it became very popular as many people really wanted to try it. Anyone really can try it.

In Argentina, the Argentinian people and the immigrants were facing horrible living conditions and destroyed hope. To try to forget the horrible conditions they created tango, it is a very intense dance, which really demonstrates how the people who were living in Argentina felt.

Dance has completely changed, everybody has access to it, and anyone can dance it. The new director of the Paris opera Ballet sums it up well:

1. What we depict in art reflects real attitudes, and has real implications for how we see the world outside the theater or beyond the screen

2. Racial diversity is just common sense when you’re trying to attract new audiences to a form

3. Equality can be a source of new creative energy
In 2010, the Finnish national ballet created a new version of the snow queen. It was critically acclaimed and put Finland on the map for there creative takes on classic tales.
What is dance?
the oxford dictionary sees it as:

"to move rhythmically to music, typically following a set sequence of steps"
the merriam webber dictionary defines it has:

To move your body in a way that goes with the rhythm and style of music that is being played
To move with and guide (someone) as music plays : to dance with (someone)
To perform (a particular type of dance)

and the Cambridge dictionary:
The act of moving your feet and body to music
a particular series of movements that you perform to music or the type of music that is connected with it:
a social occasion where people dance, especially a formal occasion in a large room:
the art of performing dances, especially as a form of entertainment:The performers tell the story through song and dance.
How does

dance reflect

changes in

our society?
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