The Love of Dance and The
Dance of Love
From the dawn of history dance has
always provided a medium of communicating emotions and thoughts between
both animals and humans alike. Dance provides an avenue of expression
and communication that is instinctively understood - even at the most
basic level. In the animal kingdom, almost every species performs a
particular form of dance in order to communicate their desire to mate,
warn others of imminent danger while establishing foraging areas and to
define territorial supremacy.
Throughout the ages dance has acted as a repository for physical
pleasure; however, in some cultures dance has been used as a medium for
altering a person's state of consciousness. In some ancient societies,
shamans believed that a dance-induced trance could open portals to an
ethereal world where they could obtain the knowledge required to provide
treatment for mental and physical afflictions within their tribes.
Ancient history is rife with documentation of how dance was used as a
precursor to romantic attachment; Records outline incidents where a
sometimes intricate and evocative dance was performed in order to
promote fertility of not only the land but also the female species.
Prior to the onset of Christianity in Rome, pagans dedicated certain
days and, in some cases, entire weeks to adoration of the gods - and
dance always played a prominent role.
In modern day society dance still plays an important role in defining
cultural and social situations. From carefully choreographed ballet
moves to the reckless abandon of Rap, dance is still one of the most
popular outlets for expressing cultural ideologies. This is what makes
it so difficult to actually define and compartmentalize dance.
Regardless of whether it consists of functional movements associated
with folk dancing or the detailed precision of ballroom dancing, the
communication aspect of movement accompanied by music has always
garnered universal acceptance.
Music, and by default dance, has been instrumental in establishing a
cohesive identity between people of varying ethnic backgrounds. By the
inter-fusion of various black, white and mulatto cultures, Latin dances
like the cha cha, Rumba, Samba, Salsa, Mambo and others have been very
successful in creatively creating a fusion that equally combines the
various cultural identities of both Spanish and Afro-Cuban elements.
As a medium to promote romance, dance is almost always performed as a
kind of choreography based language – one that has been instrumental
throughout history and within varying social background as a means of
introducing and encouraging inter-relationships between interested
In the early twentieth century dance began to assimilate qualities that
expressed individuality in conjunction with traditional ritual and
religious themes while still retaining the primitive, expressive and
often emotional undertones of the art itself. Modern dance grew
exponentially under the guise of creative freedom in that many genres of
expression that were once frowned upon by civilized society now were
considered as an acceptable art form.
In the past forty to fifty years, traditional walls of propriety have
been scaled so that modern dance is now an expression that encompasses
simplicity, beauty and sophistication – often within the same dance
movements. What is now known as contemporary dance has retained its
technical and, in some cases political, connotations while exuberantly
embracing a competitive, artistic atmosphere which has progressed to
productions that stress expertise, strength, flexibility and beauty.
This creative licence has greatly contributed to the expansion of a form
of creative movement called street dance. Based on expressing and
encouraging individuality and originality, street dancing lends itself
to an interpretation of moves designed to portray a freedom of personal
style that is unparalleled in the history of traditional dance. In
recent years the development of strictly choreographed moves has led to
the improvisation of street dance and its acceptance as a viable art
form which has enabled this creative and expressive movement to be
assimilated by many other styles of dance.
The correlation between dance and romance has always been a strong
component in its inception and production. A particular dance, like
ballet, is often performed to portray a sense of subtle intimacy, while
rappers and rockers tend to stick to moves that, although a little more
vulgar in their makeup, still encourage a duality between diverse
As an art-form dance is constantly evolving both in its intensity and
its value as a communication device. As newer, more risqué dance moves
become developed and accepted there is still a growing appreciation for
the more traditional, partner based dance moves, such as those exhibited
in ballroom dancing.
The renewing interest in the various forms of dancing from traditional
to modernistic is evident with celebrities appearing on televised shows
that promote dance as an artistic and energetic competition and is
rapidly attaining popularity between old and young alike.
From ancient and primitive art depictions on pottery excavated from
sites that date back thousand of years to televised portrayals of
inter-twining cultures, dance has always had an immediate and
contemporary meaning and has historically been employed as an artistic,
intrinsic and authentic documentation of interpersonal relationships
within a particular society.
In the overall evolutionary scheme of the universe, humans may be
considered newcomers; yet it seems that from the advent of man self
expression has always been an integral part of all cultural
developments. Some historians believe that dance, and its ability to
provide communication modules that require no language, have been a
viable way for people to interact and cohabit with each other for many
Dancing has traditionally been a vital element in identifying and
lending credence to many cultures. As a means of reflecting various
societies throughout history, dance has always maintained an important
place in society. By reflecting on the many and varied dance forms
throughout history we are able to better comprehend past eras and the
people in them. One can only wonder how our present day actions will be
interpreted when historians record our method of dance in the coming