AskDefine | Define dancing

Dictionary Definition

dancing n : taking a series of rhythmical steps (and movements) in time to music [syn: dance, terpsichore, saltation]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Pronunciation

Adjective

  1. Something or someone that is currently in the act of dancing. (See entry at dance.)

Noun

  1. The activity of dancing (see the verb dance).

Verb

dancing
  1. present participle of dance

Extensive Definition

Dance (from French danser, perhaps from Frankish) generally refers to movement of the body, usually rhythmic and to music, used as a form of expression, social interaction or presented in a spiritual or performance setting. Dance is also used to describe methods of non-verbal communication (see body language) between humans or animals (bee dance, patterns of behaviour such as a mating dance), motion in inanimate objects (the leaves danced in the wind), and certain musical forms or genres. In sports, gymnastics, figure skating and synchronized swimming are dance disciplines while martial arts kata are often compared to dances.
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 virtuoso techniques such as ballet. Dance can be participatory, social or performed for an audience. It can also be ceremonial, competitive or erotic. Dance movements may be without significance in themselves, such as in ballet or European folk dance, or have a gestural vocabulary/symbolic system as in many Asian dances. Dance can embody or express ideas, emotions or tell a story.
Dancing has evolved many styles. Breakdancing and Krumping are related to the hip hop culture. African dance is interpretive. Ballet, Ballroom, Waltz, and Tango are classical styles of dance while Square and the Electric Slide are forms of step dances.
Choreography is the art of creating dances, and the person who does this is called a choreographer.

Origins and history of dance

Dance does not leave behind clearly identifiable physical artifacts such as stone tools, hunting implements or cave paintings. It is not possible to say when dance became part of human culture. Dance has certainly been an important part of ceremony, rituals, celebrations and entertainment since before the birth of the earliest human civilizations. Archeology delivers traces of dance from prehistoric times such as the 9,000 year old Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka paintings in India and Egyptian tomb paintings depicting dancing figures from circa 3300 BC.
One of the earliest structured uses of dances may have been in the performance and in the telling of myths. It was also sometimes used to show feelings for one of the opposite gender. It is also linked to the origin of "love making." Before the production of written languages, dance was one of the methods of passing these stories down from generation to generation.
Another early use of dance may have been as a precursor to ecstatic trance states in healing rituals. Dance is still used for this purpose by many cultures from the Brazilian rainforest to the Kalahari Desert.
Sri Lankan dances goes back to the mythological times of aboriginal yingyang twins and "yakkas" (devils). According to a Sinhalese legend, Kandyan dances originate, 2500 years ago, from a magic ritual that broke the spell on a bewitched king. Many contemporary dance forms can be traced back to historical, traditional, ceremonial, and ethnic dances.

Dance classification and genres

Dance categories by number of interacting dancers are mainly Solo dance, Partner dance and Group dance. Dance is performed for various purposes like Ceremonial dance, Erotic dance, Performance dance, Social dance etc.

Dancing and music

Many early forms of music and dance were created and performed together. This paired development has continued through the ages with dance/music forms such as: Jig, Waltz, Tango, Disco, Salsa, Electronica and Hip-Hop. Some musical genres also have a parallel dance form such as Baroque music and Baroque dance whereas others developed separately: Classical music and Classical ballet.
Although dance is often accompanied by music, it can also be presented independently or provide its own accompaniment (tap dance). Dance presented with music may or may not be performed in time to the music depending on the style of dance. Dance performed without music is said to be danced to its own rhythm.
Ballroom dancing is a sport as well as an art form. It incorporates many fitness components using an artistic state of mind.

Dance studies and techniques

In the early 1920s, dance studies (dance practice, critical theory, Musical analysis and history) began to be considered an academic discipline. Today these studies are an integral part of many universities' arts and humanities programs. By the late 20th century the recognition of practical knowledge as equal to academic knowledge lead to the emergence of practice research and practice as research. A large range of dance courses are available including:
A full range of Academic degrees are available from BA (Hons) to PhD and other postdoctoral fellowships, with many dance scholars taking up their studies as mature students after a professional dance career.

Dance competitions

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:

Dance occupations

There are different careers connected with dancing: Dancer, dance teacher, dance sport coach, dance therapist and choreographer. Dance training differs depending on the dance form. There are university programs and schools associated with professional dance companies for specialised training in classical dance (e.g. Ballet) and modern dance. There are also smaller, privately owned dance studios where students may train in a variety of dance forms including competitive dance forms (e.g. Latin dance, ballroom dance, etc.) as well as ethnic/traditional dance forms.
Professional dancers are usually employed on contract or for particular performances/productions. The professional life of a dancer is generally one of constantly changing work situations, strong competition pressure and low pay. Professional dancers often need to supplement their income, either in dance related roles (e.g., dance teaching, dance sport coaches, yoga or Pilates instruction) to achieve financial stability.
In the U.S. many professional dancers are members of unions such as the American Guild of Musical Artists, the Screen Actors Guild and Actors' Equity Association. The unions help determine working conditions and minimum salaries for their members.
Dance teacher and operators of dance schools rely on reputation and marketing. For dance forms without an association structure such as Salsa or Tango Argentino they may not have formal training. Most dance teachers are self employed. Dancesport coaches are tournament dancers or former dancesports people, and may be recognised by a dance sport federation. Choreographers are generally 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 choreographic work is protected intellectual property. Dancers may undertake their own choreography.

Dance by ethnicity or region

Dance in South Asia

India

During the first millennium BCE in India, many texts were composed which attempted to codify aspects of daily life. In the matter of dance, Bharata Muni's Natyashastra (literally "the text of dramaturgy") is the one of the earlier texts. Though the main theme of Natyashastra deals with drama, dance is also widely featured, and indeed the two concepts have ever since been linked in Indian culture. The text elaborates various hand-gestures or mudras and classifies movements of the various limbs of the body, gait, and so on. The Natyashastra categorised dance into four groups and into four regional varieties, naming the groups: secular, ritual, abstract, and, interpretive. However, concepts of regional geography has altered and so have regional varieties of Indian dances. Dances like "Odra Magadhi", which after decades long debate, has been traced to present day Mithila-Orissa region's dance form of Odissi, indicate influence of dances in cultural interactions between different regions.
From these beginnings rose the various classical styles which are recognised today. Therefore, all Indian classical dances are to varying degrees rooted in the Natyashastra and therefore share common features: for example, the mudras, some body positions, and the inclusion of dramatic or expressive acting or abhinaya. The Indian classical music tradition provides the accompaniment for the dance, and as percussion is such an integral part of the tradition, the dancers of nearly all the styles wear bells around their ankles to counterpoint and complement the percussion.

Bhangra in the Punjab

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.

Dances of Sri Lanka

The devil dances of Sri Lanka or "yakun natima" are a carefully crafted ritual with a history reaching far back into Sri Lanka's pre-Buddhist past. It combines ancient "Ayurvedic" concepts of disease causation with psychological manipulation. The dance combines many aspects including Sinhalese cosmolgy, the dances also has an impact on the classical dances of Sri Lanka.

In Europe and North America

Concert (or performance) dance

Ballet
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
At the beginning of the 20th century, there was 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.

The influence of African American dance

African American dances are those dances which have developed within African American communities in everyday spaces, rather than in dance studios, schools or companies and its derivatives, tap dance, disco, jazz dance, swing dance, hip hop dance and breakdance. Other dances, such as the lindy hop with its relationship to rock and roll music and rock and roll dance have also had a global influence.hello lol

Further reading

  • Adshead-Lansdale, J. (Ed) (1994) Dance History: An Introduction. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-09030-X
  • Carter, A. (1998) The Routledge Dance Studies Reader. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-16447-8
  • Cohen, S, J. (1992) Dance As a Theatre Art: Source Readings in Dance History from 1581 to the Present. Princeton Book Co. ISBN 0-87127-173-7
  • Charman, S. Kraus, R, G. Chapman, S. and Dixon-Stowall, B. (1990) History of the Dance in Art and Education. Pearson Education. ISBN 0-13-389362-6
  • Daly, A. (2002) Critical Gestures: Writings on Dance and Culture. Wesleyan University Press. ISBN 0-8195-6566-0
  • Dils, A. (2001) Moving History/Dancing Cultures: A Dance History Reader. Wesleyan University Press. ISBN 0-8195-6413-3
  • Miller, James, L. (1986) Measures of Wisdom: The Cosmic Dance in Classical and Christian Antiquity, University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0802025536

References

External links

dancing in Min Nan Chinese: Bú-tō
dancing in Afrikaans: Dans
dancing in Arabic: رقص
dancing in Aragonese: Danza
dancing in Asturian: Danza
dancing in Bambara: Dɔnke
dancing in Bengali: নৃত্য
dancing in Min Nan: Bú-tō
dancing in Breton: Dañs
dancing in Bulgarian: Танц
dancing in Catalan: Dansa
dancing in Cebuano: Sayaw
dancing in Czech: Tanec
dancing in Corsican: Baddu
dancing in Welsh: Dawns
dancing in Danish: Dans
dancing in German: Tanz
dancing in Estonian: Tants
dancing in Modern Greek (1453-): Χορός
dancing in Spanish: Danza
dancing in Esperanto: Danco
dancing in Basque: Dantza
dancing in Persian: رقص
dancing in French: Danse
dancing in Western Frisian: Dûns
dancing in Friulian: Bal
dancing in Irish: Damhsa
dancing in Galician: Danza
dancing in Korean: 춤
dancing in Hindi: नृत्य
dancing in Croatian: Ples
dancing in Indonesian: Dansa
dancing in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Dansa
dancing in Icelandic: Dans
dancing in Italian: Danza
dancing in Hebrew: ריקוד
dancing in Georgian: ცეკვა
dancing in Lao: ການຟ້ອນລຳ
dancing in Latin: Saltatio
dancing in Luxembourgish: Danz
dancing in Lithuanian: Šokis
dancing in Limburgan: Dans
dancing in Lojban: dansu
dancing in Hungarian: Tánc
dancing in Malayalam: നൃത്തം
dancing in Marathi: नृत्य
dancing in Mazanderani: Səma
dancing in Malay (macrolanguage): Tarian
nah:Mācēhualiztli
dancing in Dutch: Dans
dancing in Dutch Low Saxon: Daans
dancing in Newari: नर्तकी
dancing in Japanese: ダンス
dancing in Neapolitan: Ballo
dancing in Norwegian: Dans
dancing in Norwegian Nynorsk: Dans
dancing in Narom: Dans'sie
dancing in Occitan (post 1500): Dança
dancing in Pangasinan: Sayaw
dancing in Pushto: ګډا، نڅا
dancing in Low German: Danz
dancing in Polish: Taniec
dancing in Portuguese: Dança
dancing in Romanian: Dans
dancing in Quechua: Tusuy
dancing in Russian: Танец
dancing in Sanskrit: नृत्य
dancing in Scots: Dance
dancing in Sicilian: Ballu
dancing in Simple English: Dance
dancing in Slovak: Tanec
dancing in Slovenian: Ples
dancing in Serbian: Плес
dancing in Finnish: Tanssi
dancing in Swedish: Dans
dancing in Tagalog: Sayaw
dancing in Tamil: நடனம்
dancing in Thai: การเต้นรำ
dancing in Tajik: Рақс
dancing in Turkish: Dans
dancing in Ukrainian: Танець
dancing in Venetian: Bało
dancing in Võro: Tands
dancing in Walloon: Danse
dancing in Waray (Philippines): Sayaw
dancing in Yiddish: טאנץ
dancing in Chinese: 舞蹈

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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