The origin of belly dance is an actively debated subject among dance enthusiasts. It descended from a religious dance that was performed during fertility rituals by temple priestesses. As early as 1000 B.C., temple engravings depicting dancers have been found in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece. It descended from ancient Egyptian social dances.
It originated in India over 5000 years ago, and had spread throughout the Middle East with the migrations of the Gypsy tribes also called Roma in Europe, Ghawazee in Egypt, and Nawar in India. The Gypsies eventually reached Europe where one of the most famous Gypsy dance styles was born - Flamenco. Many moves in modern Flamenco are still very similar to belly dance. Perhaps the richness of Middle Eastern dance tradition and its universal appeal can be attributed to the blending of many various sources, cultures, and dance styles.
Bhangra is a lively form of music and dance that originated in the Punjab region in Southeast Asia. As many Bhangra lyrics reflect the long and often tumultuous history of the Punjab, knowledge of Punjabi history offers important insights into the meaning of the music. While Bhangra began as a part of harvest festival celebrations, it eventually became a part of such diverse occasions as weddings and New Year celebrations. Moreover, during the last thirty years, Bhangra has enjoyed a surge in popularity worldwide, both in traditional form and as a fusion with genres such as hip -hop, house, and reggae. As Bhangra continues to move into mainstream culture, an understanding of its history and tradition helps to appreciate it.
A classical dance form originating in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Originally known as sadir, it owes its current name to Krishna Iyer and later, Rukmini Devi Arundale. Bharata could refer to either the author of the Natya Shastra or to a legendary king after whom the country of India was supposedly named Bharatha and natyam is Sanskrit for the art of dance-drama.
It was brought to the stage at the beginning of the 20th century by Krishna Iyer. Bharathanatyam is thought to have been created by the Bharatha Muni, a Hindu sage, who wrote the Natya Shastra, the most important ancient treatise on classical Indian dance. It is also called the fifth Veda in reference to the foundation of Hindu religion and philosophy, from which sprang the related South Indian musical tradition of Carnatic music.
In ancient times it was performed as dasiattam by mandir (Hindu temple) Devadasi's. Many of the ancient sculptures in Hindu temples are based on Bharatha Natyam dance postures. In fact, it is the celestial dancers, apsara's, who are depicted in many scriptures dancing the heavenly version of what is known on earth as Bharathanatyam.
Bharatanatyam is the manifestation of the South Indian idea of the celebration of the eternal universe through the celebration of the beauty of the material body. In Hindu mythology the whole universe is the dance of the Supreme Dancer, Nataraja, a name for Lord Shiva, the Hindu ascetic yogi and divine purveyor of destruction of evil.
Bharathanatyam is considered to be a fire-dance, being the mystic manifestation in the human body of the metaphysical element of fire, is one of the five major styles that include Odissi (element of water), and Mohiniyattam (elementof air). The movements of an authentic Bharatanatyam dancer resemble the movements of a dancing flame.
Contemporary Bharathanatyam is practiced as Natya Yoga, a sacred Hindu meditational tradition by a few orthodox schools.
The name “Blues Dancing” originated at the world renowned Herrang Dance Camp in Sweden in the 1980s. Blues dance, like Lindy Hop and Swing, came into being as a reflection of swing and jazz music. Many aspects of Blues dance (for example, call and response, emotional intensity and expressiveness, and tension and release) are directly related to the music to which it is danced. There are many types of blues music, rural, urban, up-tempo, slow, electric, gutbucket, delta, modern, etc., all with very different nuances and emotions.
Blues dance enables intense individuality in expressing the music. It really is all about communication, emphasizing that the music, not the dancer, leads the dance; we are simply the interpreters. Blues dance demonstrates the passion of the entire range of human emotions, not just the sensual ones. If you don’t have a visceral reaction to the music, your partner, and the environment, then you are missing the wonders of dancing blues.
The term ‘Bollywood’ in dance covers almost any style of dance featured in these extravagant musical movies. Some of the numerous styles of dance featured in films, either in fusion form or in pure forms, include Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Garba & Bhangra as well as Belly-dance, Latin, Hip hop, Contempory and Jazz just to name a few! Bollywood dance itself is a style which encompasses all of these styles and more, as well as having its own unique flavour and merit.
Bollywood dance is now so popular in western culture that Bollywood dance classes are offered in most major cities around the globe. Bollywood dance has also gained recognition in the world of western dance and is now featured on shows such as ‘got talent’, ‘so you think you can dance’ and ‘dancing with the stars.
The origins of western contemporary dance can be traced back to the beginning of the 20th century. While the big names in modern dance all date from this time period, the influences that inspired these contemporary dance founders go back for centuries, and are not limited to the western world.
Contemporary dance is officially the name given to a series of dance styles including modern dance. Highly interpretive in its choreography, contemporary dance often includes an innate focus on alignment, oppositional movement, raw emotions and systematic breathing.
In India is a term broadly used to describe all forms of folk and tribal dances in regions across India. While Indian classical dance is considered a higher form of art and was practiced in courts, temples and on special occasions, folk dance forms are practiced in groups in rural areas as an expression of their daily work and rituals. They are performed on religious or seasonal festivals. Some of the popular folk dances that are performed across villages and cities are Bhangra,Garba, Kalbelia and Bihu.
Folk and tribal dances are performed for every possible occasion, to celebrate the arrival of seasons, birth of a child, a wedding and festivals. The dances are extremely simple with minimum of steps or movement. The dances burst with verve and vitality. Men and women perform some dances exclusively, while in some performances men and women dance together.
On most occasions, the dancers sing themselves, while being accompanied by artists on the instruments. Each form of dance has a specific costume. Most costumes are flamboyant with extensive jewels. While there are numerous ancient folk and tribal dances, many are constantly being improved. The skill and the imagination of the dances influence the performance.
Early freestyle dancing began in the 1970s on street corners and public places where dancers would show off their improvisational skills that resembled modern-day break dancing. By the 1980s as the music became more popular and accessible, more stand up moves were incorporated into the dance. The birth of freestyle dancing really began as disco died.
Freestyle is spontaneous and individual. There are no required or structured movements that must be learned. It is an extremely popular form of dancing both for recreational purposes and as a highly competitive sport. This is a dance style enjoyed by boys and girls.
Freestyle dancing is popular with dancers who like to express themselves. It gives them the freedom to throw their arms up in a joyous gesture if the song makes them happy. It gives them the freedom to let the whole body dance, even the head and fingers.
The first mention of hip hop dance dates back to the 70’s when some new moves were introduced to the dance world to accompany the funky sounds of hip hop music that was also being discovered. Most popular among African Americans and Latin Americans at first, there are many races who now lay claim to defining this diverse dance phenomenon.
Across the United States from the ‘Boogie Down’ Bronx, New York to the ‘Beat Street’ corners of Compton, California, young people everywhere took to this new style of dancing that included such feats as breaking, popping, locking, gliding, ticking, vibrating and krumping. In the earlier days, some hip hop dance moves such as the Humpty Dance were made popular by hip hop artists who had created the songs from which these dances were derived.
Jazz dance is often credited as an American creation, however in actuality it originates from African American vernacular dance that came about during the late 1800s. The original steps were exemplified out in the plantations, and jazz dance itself came about as a crossbreed of American culture, European jigs and the music and movement tradition.
Knowing the history of jazz dance has helped dancers from all over the world better understand and experience an art form they desire to excel at. Europe lent elegance to the technique, Africa gave it its movement and rhythm, and America allowed it to have the exposure and growing popularity that has sustained it as a cherished dance style today.
Kerala Natanam or Kerala Dance is a novel art form evolved from Kathakali and is comprised of nritha (absolute or pure dance) nrithya (dance with music and gesticulations) and natya (dramaturgy) and angika (body gestures), vaachika (verbal), aahaarya (costumes and make up) saatvika (of temperaments and involuntary status) abhinaya (acting), in accordance with the thala mela (rhythm) order of the percussion instruments used in Kerala. The art form of Kerala Natanam was created and composed by Guru Gopinath.
Kerala Natanam is comprised of Nritha, Nrithya and Natya based on traditional Kathakali, without detracting from its basic tenets but has some of its complex involutions and intricacies. Though it has originated or evolved from Kathakali, it is neither Kathakali nor an attempt to reform or redefine it. In simple words Kerala Natanam is a classical dance following rudiments of 'Natya Shastra' and practicing basics of Kathakali techniques.
A classical dance said to have evolved out of the Nattuva Melas. Kuchipudi is the name of a village in Divi Taluq in Krishna District very near Srikakulam, a place where the Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagara Empire ruled. The Brahmins here practiced the dance form. Once Golconda King Abdul Hasan Tanesha camped at Kuchipudi for a night and was so impressed with the dance form that he gifted about 600 acres of land to nine families of Kuchipudi scholars.
Siddhendra yogi is considered as the first scholar who scientifically framed the art. He was responsible for giving shape to the dance drama and also imparting training to the young Brahmins. The yogi reserved this dance for males and called it "Bhamakalapam".
In olden days, a Kuchipudi performance invariable began with the aura built up initially, like a curtain showing up over which a braided plait was thrown. It was like throwing a challenge to any artist or audience to come and defeat the performer of the evening and then claim the plait, by simply cutting it off.
Ornaments worn from Kuchipudi dance were originally made from a light wood called "Boorugu" in Telugu. Shoulder blades, crowns, armlets, arm bands and wristlets were carved out of wood and coloured. But today they have given way to metal ware.
Traditional South Indian dance form Kerala, India. It is a graceful dance meant to be performed solo by women. The term Mohiniyattam comes from the words "Mohini" implying a feeling of warm enchantment and "aattam" meaning graceful and sensuous body movements. The word "Mohiniyattam" literally means "dance of the enchantress".
The dance has influences and elements from two South Indian dance forms, the Bharatanatyam and Kathakali. The dance involves the swaying of broad hips and the gentle movements of an erect torso from side to side. This is reminiscent of the swinging of the palm leaves and the gently flowing rivers which abound Kerala, the land of Mohiniyattam. The costume includes white sari embroidered with bright golden fabric at the edges. The dance follows the classical text of Hastha Lakshanadeepika, which has elaborate description of Mudras (gestural expressions by the hand and fingers).
The vocal music of Mohiniyattam involves variations in rhythmic structure called as choll. The Mohiniyattam dance is performed to this accompaniment by the subtle gestures and footwork of the danseuse. The performer uses the eyes in a very coyish yet sensual manner. The purpose being to enchant the mind without enticing the senses.
The history of "Salsa" dance is peppered with hearsay and contradiction. In the 1970s, adoption of the term "Salsa" reduced the linguistic and cultural barriers to mainstream adoption of Latin music and dance.Salsa refers to a fusion of informal dance styles having roots in the Caribbean (especially in Cuba and Puerto Rico), Latin and North America. The dance originated through the mixture of Mambo, Danzn, Guaguanc, Cuban Son, and other typical Cuban dance forms. Salsa is danced to Salsa music. There is a strong African influence in the music as well as the dance.
The name "Salsa" is the Spanish word for sauce, connoting (in American Spanish) a spicy flavor. The Salsa aesthetic is more flirtatious and sensuous than its ancestor, Cuban Son. Salsa also suggests a "mixture" of ingredients, though this meaning is not found in most stories of the term's origin.
This pattern might be quick-quick-slow, taking two beats to gradually transfer the weight, or quick-quick-quick allowing a tap or other embellishment on the vacant beat. It is conventional in salsa for the two musical measures to be considered as one, so the count goes from 1 to 8 over two musical bars.
The steps and moves of semi-classical dance are not as complex or intricate as pure classical forms. However, the authenticity of the Indian dance form is preserved and students are able to grasp these lighter semi-classical dances easily. Semi-classical dances are fun and fluid.
This type of dance breaks the stylized structures and forms of the classical dance, and adopts a more contemporary feel and steps,. All along the ethos of the basic dance remains intact. Semi classical is the combination of classical dance performed on any Bhajans and Ghazals.
The term "semi folk dance" is sometimes applied to dances of historical importance in European culture and history; typically originated before 20th century. For other cultures the terms "ethnic dance" or "traditional dance" are sometimes used, although the latter terms may encompass ceremonial dances.
The steps and moves of semi folk dance are not as complex or intricate as pure classical forms. However, the authenticity of the Indian dance form is preserved and students are able to grasp these lighter Semi folk dances easily. Semi folk dances are fun and fluid. This type of dance breaks the stylized structures and forms of the classical dance, andadopts a more contemporary feel and steps.
Street Dance is believed to have originated in urban streets of America. Street dances, more formally known as vernacular dance, are dance styles that evolved outside of dance studios in any available open space, such as streets, dance parties, block parties, parks, school yards, raves, and nightclubs.
They are often improvisational and social in nature, encouraging interaction and contact with spectators and the other dancers. These dances generally evolve out of urban and suburban spaces and are a part of the vernacular culture of that geographical area. Some examples of street dance include B-boying (or break dancing), which originated in New York City, and Melbourne Shuffle which originated in Melbourne, Australia.
The tango (from Latin tango, meaning "touch") is a partner dance that originated in the 1890s along the Río de la Plata, the natural border between Uruguay and Argentina, and soon spread to the rest of the world.
Tango is earthy and dramatic. Although walking movements dominate, Tango walks, having a "stalking" or "sneaking" character, are unlike the walks of other ballroom dances. Movements are sometimes slow and slithery, and other times sharp and staccato, such as a quick foot flick or a sharp head snap to promenade position. Tango has the same counter clockwise flow of movement around the dance floor, but with a lesser sense of urgency in comparison to the smoother and more continuous ballroom dances. American Style Tango, especially at highly-developed skill levels, makes great use of open and alternate dance positions to further showcase Tango's dramatic nature.