Dancing is a way of moving the body in rhythm, usually in time to music. People usually have a natural urge to express the way that they feel through rhythmic movement.
Dancing is an art and also a form of recreation. As an art, a dance may tell a story, set a mood, or express a motion. Some Oriental dances consist of gestures that can tell a story completely through movement. As a form of recreation, dancing has provided fun, relaxation, and companionship. Dancing at a party or other gathering remains a popular way for people to enjoy themselves and make new friends.
Throughout human history, dancing has been used in worship. Prehistoric people probably made up dances to gain the favor of their gods. Many North American Indian Tribes danced in appealing for rain and good crops. The history of dance in America is short and unique. It has marked the development of two idioms, ballet and modern dance.
Ballet began in the royal courts of Italy in the 1400's. Ballet dancers learn how to hold their bodies in the upright posture of ballet. The line of a dancers body is important in both performing and appreciating ballet.
Many ballets of the 1800's told stories of delicate, imaginary creatures. Since the 1900's, the length of ballets is anywhere from short works lasting about half an hour to full length ballets several hours long.
Modern dance developed in the early 1900's. The leaders of the modern dance movement believed that the techniques of ballet were artificial and meaningless. They looked for fresher and more personal ways to express ideas through dancing.
In modern dance, dancers may make patterns with their bodies to form interesting pictures. Dancers may also use movements such as walking that are more natural than the movements used by earlier performers. Today's dances even include tumbling, rolling, and other acrobatics.
Popular dancing is the kind of dancing people do for fun.