Folk dance

The term folk dance describes dances that share some or all of the following attributes: They are dances performed at social functions by people with little or no professional training, often to traditional music or music based on traditional music. They are not designed for public performance or the stage, although traditional folkdances may be later arranged and set for stage performances. Their execution is dominated by an inherited tradition rather than by innovation (although like all folk traditions they do change over time) New dancers often learn informally by observing others and/or receiving help from others. More controversially, some people define folk dancing as dancing for which there is no governing body or dancing for which there are no competitive or professional performances.

Dance is a type of art that generally involves movement of the body, often rhythmic and to music. It is performed in many cultures as a form of emotional expression, social interaction, or exercise, in a spiritual or performance setting, and is sometimes used to express ideas or tell a story. Dance may also be regarded as a form of nonverbal communication between humans or other animals, as in bee dances and behaviour patterns such as a mating dances. Definitions of what constitutes dance can depend on social and cultural norms and aesthetic, artistic and moral sensibilities. Definitions may range from functional movement (such as folk dance) to virtuoso techniques such as ballet. Martial arts kata are often compared to dances, and sports such as gymnastics, figure skating and synchronized swimming are generally thought to incorporate dance. In some cases, the motion of ordinarily inanimate objects may be described as dance (the leaves danced in the wind). There are many styles and genres of dance. African dance is interpretative. Ballet, ballroom and tango are classical dance styles. Square dance and electric slide are forms of step dance, and breakdancing is a type of street dance. 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, as in ballet or European folk dance, or have a gestural vocabulary or symbolic meaning as in some Asian dances. Choreography is the art of creating dances. The person who creates (i.e., choreographs) a dance is known as the choreographer. Terminology The term "folks 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. There are a number of modern dances, such as hip hop dance, that evolve spontaneously, but the term "folk dance" is generally not applied to them, and the terms "street dance" or "vernacular dance" are used instead. The term "folk dance" is reserved for dances which are to a significant degree bound by tradition and originated in the times when the distinction existed between the dances of "common folk" and the dances of the "high society". A number of modern ballroom dances originated from folk ones. The terms "ethnic" and "traditional" are used when it is required to emphasize the cultural roots of the dance. In this sense, nearly all folk dances are ethnic ones. If some dances, such as polka, cross ethnic boundaries and even cross the boundary between "folk" and "ballroom dance", ethnic differences are often considerable enough to mention, e.g., Czech polka vs. German polka. Not all ethnic dances are folk dances; for example, ritual dances or dances of ritual origin are not considered to be folk dances. Ritual dances are usually called "Religious dances" because of their purpose. [edit]Europe Origins and history Main article: History of dance Ancient Greek bronze statuette of a veiled and masked dancer, 3rd - 2nd century BC, found in Alexandria, Egypt. 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. Joseph Jordania recently suggested, that dance, together with rhythmic music and body painting, was designed by the forces of natural selection at the early stage of hominid evolution as a potent tool to put groups of human ancestors in a battle trance, a specific altered state of consciousness. In this state hominids were losing their individual identity and were acquiring collective identity.[1] Jonathan Pieslak's research shows, that some contemporary military units use loud group singing and dancing in order to prepare themselves for the dangerous combat missions.[2] According to Jordania, this trance-inducing ability of dance comes from human evolutionary past and includes as well a phenomenon of military drill[3] which is also based on shared rhythmic and monotonous group activity. 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 c. 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.[4] 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.[5] Sri Lankan dances goes back to the mythological times of aboriginal yingyang twins and "yakkas" (devils). According to a Sinhalese legend, Kandyan dances originated 250 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 dance. A Ball de bastons stick dance from Catalonia Cyprus folk dance with glasses in Paphos Types of European folk dance include: Polonez (Polish), clogging, English country dance, Barn dance Ceilidh international folk dance, Irish dance, Maypole dance, Morris dance, Turkish dance, Welsh Morris Dance, Nordic polska dance, Ball de bastons, square dance, and sword dance. Sword dances include Longsword dances and rapper dancing. Some choreographed dances such as contra dance, Scottish country dance, and modern Western square dance, are called folk dances, though this is not true in the strictest sense. Country dance overlaps with contemporary folk dance and ballroom dance. Most country dances and ballroom dances originated from folk dances, with gradual refinement over the years. People familiar with folk dancing can often determine what country a dance is from even if they have not seen that particular dance before. Some countries' dances have features that are unique to that country, although neighboring countries sometimes have similar features. For example, the German and Austrian schuhplattling dance consists of slapping the body and shoes in a fixed pattern, a feature that few other countries' dances have. Folk dances sometimes evolved long before current political boundaries, so that certain dances are shared by several countries. For example, some Serbian, Bulgarian, and Croatian dances share the same or similar dances, and sometimes even use the same name and music for those dances. International folk dance groups exist in cities and college campuses in many countries, in which dancers learn folk dances from many cultures for recreation.