Origin of dance

by Rashid Neerooa
(Mauritius)


What's the origin of dance in general ?

Comments for Origin of dance

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Mar 25, 2012
Answer from Maria
by: Maria

Dear Rashid,

Such a thing as 'dance in general', as you say, does not exist. In reality, dance does only exist in specific geographical and historical contexts and its features and origins are at all times related to those factors. That's why historians always specify from which dance in particular they're talking about.

However, as for many other topics, there's a very common tale that explains the 'origins of dance' for what is called today our western civilization. Historians say that in its most ancient or basic forms, dance arises as a ritual practice: an intuitive and spontaneous way for human beings to communicate with their gods.

The danced rituals of our cultural ancestors (the ancient Greeks) were devoted to Dionysus, the god of the grape harvest, wine, ritual madness and ecstasy. People would dance mainly in circles, around a statue of the god.

With the evolution of society, the custom of dancing for Dionysus gave birth to the theatrical event, which included dance, as much as music, acting and declamation.

Afterwards, changes in society gave dance different functions. You can continue the reading with a description of that evolution in the following thread:

The function of contemporary dance

Warm regards,

Maria

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