Selasa, 17 Februari 2009


German Contributions

Although often considered an American phenomenon, the evolution of modern dance can also be traced to central Europe and Germany, where the most influential was probably Rudolf von Laban. Although there is almost no documentation to describe his choreography, he founded (1910) a school in Munich at which Mary Wigman was one of his students. Exiled in the 1930s, he immigrated to England, where he established (1946) the Art of Movement Studio in Manchester and worked until his death on his system of notation. After studying with Laban, Wigman performed in Germany and opened her own school in Dresden (1920). She became the most influential German exponent of expressive movement and toured extensively. Although her school was closed by the Nazis, she reopened it in Berlin in 1948. Other important and more recent German dancer-choreographers include Kurt Joos and his student Pina Bausch.

The Second Generation in America

At the end of the 1920s those who rebelled against the art nouveau exoticism and commercialism of Denishawn devised their own choreography and launched their own companies. Their dances were based on new techniques developed as vehicles for the expression of human passions and universal social themes. Martha Graham found the breath pulse the primary source of dance; exaggerating the contractions and expansions of the torso and flexing of the spine caused by breathing, she devised a basis for movement that for her represented the human being’s inner conflicts.

To Doris Humphrey, gravity was the source of the dynamic instability of movement; the arc between balance and imbalance of the moving human body, fall and recovery, represented one’s conflicts with the surrounding world. Forsaking lyrical and imitative movement and all but the most austere costumes and simplest stage effects, Graham and Humphrey composed dances so stark, intellectual, and harshly dramatic as to shock and anger audiences accustomed to being pleased by graceful dancers.

Graham explored themes from Americana, Greek mythology, and the Old Testament; she viewed music merely as a frame for the dance. Humphrey experimented more with sound; in a 1924 work she discarded music altogether and performed in silence, and later she used nonmusical sound effects, including spoken texts and bursts of hysterical laughter. Her themes were social and often heroic in scale, e.g., the trilogy New Dance (1935), which treats human relationships. Charles Weidman’s gestural mime of movements abstracted from everyday situations provided a different kind of social commentary—comic satire. Winning ardent devotees, the Graham and Humphrey-Weidman companies dominated modern dance for 20 years; the former continues as a major company today.

Later Dancers

By the end of World War II, young choreographers had begun breaking the rules of the modern dance establishment—creating dances that had no theme, expressed no emotion, dispensed with the dance vocabulary of fall and recovery, contraction and release. Sybil Shearer’s random fantasies, Katherine Litz’s surrealistic vignettes, and Erick Hawkins’s impressionistic soft rhythms changed the emphasis of choreography. They had no desire to uplift or inform.

Foremost of this third generation of modern dancers is Merce Cunningham, whose company bred avant-garde choreographers for more than 25 years. Cunningham freed dance from spatial restraints, eliminating strong central focus from choreographic patterns and devising dances that can be viewed from any angle. He also released dance from traditional musical constraints by using electronic music and other compositions of his musical director, John Cage. In addition, he liberated his own choreography from structural limitations by using techniques of chance, such as throws of the dice, to determine the order in which sections of a work should occur.

In 1957 Paul Taylor, a Cunningham and Graham veteran, presented an evening of minimal dance, which consisted of Taylor standing on the stage alone in street clothes and making only tiny changes in posture to the accompaniment of the recorded voice of a telephone operator announcing the time at 10-second intervals; outraged dance critics deliberately ignored the performance. His company ultimately became one of the most important of the post–World War II troupes. Another of the third generation, choreographer Alvin Ailey, who was influenced primarily by Lester Horton, combined elements of modern, jazz, and African dance in his work. The company he established 1958 has been internationally acclaimed and has brought recognition to many African-American and Asian dancers.

The social and artistic ferment of the 1960s provided fertile ground for even more radical departures into what later became known as postmodern dance. Twyla Tharp did away with any sound accompaniment that might distract the viewer’s attention from the dance itself. She also took dance outside the theater, staging it in such spaces as the staircase of the Metropolitan Museum of New York City and New York’s Central Park. Yvonne Rainer pioneered in the use of improvisations based on ordinary, nondance movements ranging from acrobatics, to military marching, to sports and games. Steve Paxton incorporated even more mundane actions into his dances (e.g., dressing and undressing) and went so far as to perform a duet with a chicken. Paxton, like other dancers and pop artists of the 1960s and 70s, was largely concerned with breaking down the barriers between dancers and audience, between art and life.

The Combining of Forms

By the late 20th cent., distinctions among modern dance, ballet, and show dancing were not as rigid as they once had been. Ballet technique and choreography have remained more formal than those of modern dance, but their themes and stage effects are often similar. Important modern dancers have been invited to perform with and create dances for ballet companies, and in 1990, Mikhail Baryshnikov joined with dancer-choreographer Mark Morris to form a new eclectic dance company. In addition, Paul Taylor performed with the New York City Ballet in a work created for him by George Balanchine, Taylor himself created dances for Rudolf Nureyev, and Tharp’s dancers joined the Joffrey Ballet to perform her Deuce Coupe and As Time Goes By.

Since Agnes de Mille first introduced a dance sequence as an integral part of the plot development of Oklahoma! in 1942, dance has become more than just light entertainment during interludes in the action of Broadway musicals. Anna Sokolow, of the Graham company, brought her modern dance technique to the Broadway stage, as did Hanya Holm, choreographer of Kiss Me, Kate (1948) and My Fair Lady (1956). The dance style that has evolved in musicals usually combines elements of modern dance, modern ballet, and the jazz dance that is based on Afro-Caribbean dances.


See autobiographies by I. Duncan (1927, repr. 1972) and R. St. Denis (1939); biographies of individual dancers; J. Martin, The Book of the Dance (1963); S. J. Cohen, ed., The Modern Dance (1965); D. McDonagh, The Rise and Fall and Rise of Modern Dance (1970); M. Lloyd, The Borzoi Book of Modern Dance (1970); S. A. Kriegsman, Modern Dance in America (1981); S. Au, Ballet and Modern Dance (1988); N. Reynolds and M. McCormick, No Fixed Points: Dance in the Twentieth Century (2003).

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Wikipedia: Modern dance


Main articles: Dance and Concert dance

Modern dance is often performed in bare feet.

Modern dance is a dance form developed in the early 20th century. Although the term Modern dance has also been applied to a category of 20th Century ballroom dances, Modern dance as a term usually refers to 20th century concert dance.



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In the early 1900s two American female dancers, Isadora Duncan and Ruth St. Denis, as well as one German female dancer, Mary Wigman, started to rebel against the rigid constraints of Classical Ballet. Shedding the authoritarian controls surrounding classical ballet technique, costume, and shoes, these early modern dance pioneers focused on creative self-expression rather than on technical virtuosity. Modern dance is a more relaxed, free style of dance in which choreographers use emotions and moods to design their own steps, in contrast to ballet’s structured code of steps. It has a deliberate use of gravity, whereas ballet strives to be light and airy.

Modern dance is approximately 100 years old.

In the United States

In United States Loie Fuller, Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, Doris Humphrey and Martha Graham developed their own styles of dance and laid the foundations of American modern dance with their choreography and teaching.Steffi Nossen was born in Berlin in 1905 and came to New York in 1937. She started dancing ballet at age three and created the longest lasting dance school in Westchester New York. She believed that “Anyone can dance, and everyone should!”. Steffi was associated with many modern dance pioneers. She created a carefully constructed a curriculum that benefits anyone and everyone. The Steffi Nossen School of Dance is filled with traditions and has benefit recitals that the dancers who attend this school put on, along with outside guests to raise money for foundations. Vanessa Williams was a student at this school and has carried on the tradition and had her daughters attend. There is a large percentage of legacy within the dance school. Over the years, the school has opened up to more than just modern dance and ballet, offering classes in jazz, hip hop, tap, and other disciplines.lalalalalalala

In Europe

In Europe Mary Wigman Francois Delsarte, Émile Jaques-Dalcroze and Rudolf von Laban developed theories of human movement and expression, and methods of instruction that led to the development of European modern and Expressionist dance. Their theories and techniques spread well beyond Europe to influence the development of modern dance and theater via their students and disciples, and subsequent generations of teachers and performers carried these theories and methods to Russia, the United States and Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.


Free dance

Main article: Free dance
  • 1891 - Loie Fuller (a burlesque skirt dancer) began experimenting with the effect that gas lighting had on her silk costumes. Fuller developed a form of natural movement and improvisation techniques that were used in conjunction with her revolutionary lighting equipment and translucent silk costumes. She patented her apparatus and methods of stage lighting that included the use of coloured gels and burning chemicals for luminescence, and also patented her voluminous silk stage costumes.
  • 1903 - Isadora Duncan developed a dance technique influenced by the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche and a belief that dance of the ancient Greeks (natural and free) was the dance of the future. Duncan developed a philosophy of dance based on natural and spiritual concepts and advocated for that acceptance of pure dance as a high art.

Fuller, Duncan and St. Denis all toured Europe seeking a wider and more accepting audience for their work. Ruth St. Denis returned to the United States to continue her work. Isadora Duncan returned to the United States at various points in her life but her work was not very well received there. She returned to Europe and died in Paris in 1927. Fuller’s work also received little support outside Europe.

Early modern dance

In 1915 Ruth St. Denis founded the Denishawn school and dance company with her husband Ted Shawn. Whilst St. Denis was responsible for most of the creative work, Shawn was responsible for teaching technique and composition. Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, and Charles Weidman were all pupils at the school and members of the dance company.

After shedding the techniques and compositional methods of their teachers the early modern dancers developed their own methods and ideologies and dance techniques that became the foundation for modern dance practice.

  • Helen Tamiris - originally trained in free movement (Irene Lewisohn) and ballet (Michel Fokine) Tamiris studied briefly with Isadora Duncan but disliked her emphasis on personal expression and lyrical movement. Tamiris believed that each dance must create its own expressive means and as such did not develop an individual style or technique. As a choreographer Tamiris made works based on American themes working in both concert dance and musical theatre.
  • Lester Horton - choosing to work in California (three thousand miles away from the center of modern dance - New York), Horton developed his own approach that incorporated diverse elements including Native American dances and modern Jazz. Horton’s dance technique (Lester Horton Technique) emphasises a whole body approach including; flexibility, strength, coordination, and body awareness to allow freedom of expression.

European modern and expressionist dance

See also: Expressionist dance and Ausdruckstanz

Popularization of American Modern Dance

In 1927 newspapers regularly began assigning dance critics, such as Walter Terry, and Edwin Denby, who approached performances from the viewpoint of a movement specialist rather than as a reviewer of music or drama. Educators accepted modern dance into college and university curricula, first as a part of physical education, then as performing art. Many college teachers were trained at the Bennington Summer School of the Dance, which was established at Bennington College in 1934.

Of the Bennington program, Agnes de Mille wrote, “…there was a fine commingling of all kinds of artists, musicians, and designers, and secondly, because all those responsible for booking the college concert series across the continent were assembled there. … free from the limiting strictures of the three big monopolistic managements, who pressed for preference of their European clients. As a consequence, for the first time American dancers were hired to tour America nationwide, and this marked the beginning of their solvency.” (de Mille, 1991, p. 205)

Development of modern dance

Whilst the founders on modern dance continued to make works based on ancient myths and legends following a narrative structure, their students the radical dancers saw dance as a potential agent of change. Disturbed by the Great Depression and the rising threat of fascism in Europe, they tried to raise consciousness by dramatizing the economic, social, ethnic and political crises of their time.

  • Anna Sokolow - a student of Martha Graham and Louis Horst, Sokolow created her own dance company (circa 1930). presenting dramatic contemporary imagery, Sokolow’s compositions were generally abstract; revealing the full spectrum of human experience reflecting the tension and alienation of the time and the truth of human movement.
  • José Limón - In 1946, after studying and performing with Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman, Limón established his own company with Humphrey as Artistic Director. It was under her mentorship that Limón created his signature dance, The Moor’s Pavane (1949). Limón’s choreographic works and technique remain a strong influence on contemporary dance practice.
  • Merce Cunningham - a former ballet student and performer with Martha Graham, he presented his first New York solo concert with John Cage in 1944. Influenced by Cage and embracing modernist ideology using postmodern processes, Cunningham introduced chance procedures and pure movement to choreography and Cunningham technique to the cannon of 20th century dance techniques. Cunningham set the seeds for postmodern dance with his non-linear, non-climactic, non-psychological abstract work. In these works each element is in, and of itself expressive, and the observer (in large part) determines what it communicates.
  • Erick Hawkins - a student of George Balanchine Hawkins became a soloist and the first male dancer in Martha Graham’s dance company. In 1951 Hawkins, interested in the new field of kinesiology, opened his own school and developed his own technique (Hawkins technique) a forerunner of most somatic dance techniques.
  • Alwin Nikolais - a student of Hanya Holm, not only pre-empted postmodern dance but also dance technology (as did Loie Fuller) before Judson Dance Theater in the 1960s. Nikolais use of multimedia in works such as Masks, Props, and Mobiles (1953), Totem (1960), and Count Down (1979) was unmatched by other choreographers. Often presenting his dancers in constrictive spaces and costumes with complicated sound and sets he focused their attention on the physical tasks of overcoming obstacles he placed in their way. Nikolais viewed the dancer not as an artist of self-expression, but as a talent who could investigate the properties of physical space and movement.

African American modern dance

See also: African American dance

The development of Modern dance embraced the contributions of African American dance artists regardless of whether they made pure modern dance works or blended modern dance with African and Caribbean influences.

  • Katherine Dunham - African American dancer, and anthropologist, originally a ballet dancer she founded her first company Ballet Negre in 1936 and later the Katherine Dunham Dance Company based in Chicago, Illinois. Dunham opened a school in New York (1945) where she taught Katherine Dunham Technique, a blend of African and Caribbean movement (flexible torso and spine, articulated pelvis and isolation of the and polyrhythmic movement) integrated with techniques of ballet and modern dance.
  • Pearl Primus - a dancer, choreographer and anthropologist Primus drew on African and Caribbean dances to create strong dramatic works characterized by large leaps in the air. Primus often based her dances on the work of black writers and on racial and African-American issues. Primus created works based on Langston Hughes The Negro Speaks of Rivers (1944), and Lewis Allan’s Strange Fruit (1945). Her dance company developed into the Pearl Primus Dance Language Institute which teaches her method of blending African-American, Caribbean, and African influences with modern dance and ballet techniques.

Legacy of modern dance

Modern dance often utilizes floor work.

The legacy on Modern dance can be seen in lineage of 20th century concert dance forms. Although often producing divergent dance forms many seminal dance artists share a common heritage that can be traced back to free dance.

Postmodern and Contemporary dance

Both Postmodern dance and Contemporary dance are built upon the foundations laid by Modern dance and form part of the greater category of 20th century concert dance. Where as Postmodern dance was a direct and opposite response to Modern dance, Contemporary dance draws on both modern and postmodern dance as a source of inspiration.

See also: 20th century concert dance

Teachers and their students

This list illustrates the basic teacher / student links in modern dance. For more detailed information see the individual artists entries.

See also


Further reading

  • Adshead-Lansdale, J. (Ed) (1994) Dance History: An Introduction. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-09030-X
  • Anderson, J. (1992) Ballet & Modern Dance: A Concise History. Independent Publishers Group. ISBN 0-87127-172-9
  • Au, S. (2002) Ballet and Modern Dance (World of Art). Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-20352-0
  • Brown, J. Woodford, C, H. and Mindlin, N. (Eds) (1998) (The Vision of Modern Dance: In the Words of Its Creators). Independent Publishers Group. ISBN 0-87127-205-9
  • Cheney, G. (1989) Basic Concepts in Modern Dance: A Creative Approach. Independent Publishers Group. ISBN 0-916622-76-2
  • Daly, A. (2002) Done into Dance: Isadora Duncan in America. Wesleyan Univ Press. ISBN 0-8195-6560-1
  • de Mille, A. (1991) Martha : The Life and Work of Martha Graham. Random House. ISBN 0-394-55643-7
  • Duncan, I. (1937) The technique of Isadora Duncan. Dance Horizons. ISBN 0-87127-028-5
  • Foulkes, J, L. (2002) Modern Bodies: Dance and American Modernism from Martha Graham to Alvin Ailey. The University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-5367-4
  • Graham, M. (1973) The Notebooks of Martha Graham. Harcourt. ISBN 0-15-167265-2
  • Graham, M. (1992) Martha Graham: Blood Memory: An Autobiography. Pan Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-57441-9
  • Hawkins, E. and Celichowska, R. (2000) The Erick Hawkins Modern Dance Technique. Independent Publishers Group. ISBN 0-87127-213-X
  • Hodgson, M. (1976) Quintet: Five American Dance Companies. William Morrow and Company. ISBN 0688080952
  • Horosko, M (Ed) (2002) Martha Graham: The Evolution of Her Dance Theory and Training. University Press of Florida. ISBN 0-8130-2473-0
  • Humphrey, D. and Pollack, B. (Ed) (1991) The Art of Making Dances Princeton Book Co. ISBN 0-87127-158-3
  • Hutchinson Guest, A. (1998) Shawn’s Fundamentals of Dance (Language of Dance). Routledge. ISBN 2-88124-219-7
  • Kriegsman, S, A.(1981) Modern Dance in America: the Bennington Years. G K Hall. ISBN 0-8161-8528-X
  • Lewis, D, D. (1999) The Illustrated Dance Technique of Jose Limon. Princeton Book Co. ISBN 0-87127-209-1
  • Long, R. A. (1995) The Black Tradition in Modern Dance. Smithmark Publishers. ISBN 0831707631
  • Love, P. (1997) Modern Dance Terminology: The ABC’s of Modern Dance as Defined by its Originators. Independent Publishers Group. ISBN 0-87127-206-7
  • McDonagh, D. (1976) The Complete Guide to Modern Dance Doubleday. ISBN 978-0385050555
  • McDonagh, D. (1990) The Rise and Fall of Modern Dance. Chicago Review Press. ISBN 1-55652-089-1
  • Mazo, J, H. (2000) Prime Movers: The Makers of Modern Dance in America. Independent Publishers Group. ISBN 0-87127-211-3
  • Minton, S. (1984) Modern Dance: Body & Mind. Morton Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0895821027
  • Roseman, J, L. (2004) Dance Was Her Religion: The Spiritual Choreography of Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis and Martha Graham. Hohm Press. ISBN 1-890772-38-0
  • Sherman, J. (1983) Denishawn: The Enduring Influence. Twayne. ISBN 0-8057-9602-9
  • Terry, W. (1976) Ted Shawn, father of American dance : a biography. Dial Press. ISBN 0-8037-8557-7

Howdy all

Im so glad to made this my first blog…and im so appreciated for it

my name is GHEA TAHARA ,I come from indonesia and i was 16 years old



Traditional Dances of Pashtoons

ده پشتنو روايتي اتنړ

With Credits to Pashto Academy

Pashtoons possess a rich culture with all the ruggedness on the one hand and all the softness, romance and beauties on the other. The Pashtoon dances have been defined as a symbol of courage and heroism and present the desire and readiness of a tribe to go into a battle field for Jehad. With heavy and insistent drumming, the dancers who are always male move with uniform rhythm and steps. They dance usually in circles or columns holding different items of daily life (swords, guns, handkerchiefs, etc.) in their hands and mix the crude sounds of their possessions with the rhythm of drums and surnayi (flutes).

Among the dozens of different folk dances known as Atanrh, some are as follow.

Khattak Wal Atanrh

This is a dance of the Khattak tribe and now it is the Pakistan national Dance. It is completely men dance. It is originated from the ancient war exercises by the Khattak tribe. Before going to the battlefield the warrior, Khattak used to dance as their warming up. It is danced with the drumbeat in a particular rhythm. First, the drummer starts with a slow tune, and the dancers hawing swords in their hand come and start dancing in a circle slowly. After some time one large circle is formed, or two circles, whirling swords in their hand and step on according to the beats of the drum. They step on in a circle. It requires the highest skill. The sword of the nearby dancer can injure anyone. As the circle completes, the beats of the drums raise high and the steps and movement gets momentum in the second phase of the dance. In the third phase, The beats go fast and high and so is the dancer till the time of a wonderful jubilation. Then both the teammates sit on ground and the saraki or captain of a team starts running in along circle. He is chased by two players of the opponent DANGAI and try to catch him and make him fall. If they succeed in making fall the running player, he is given out. During the running, the first running player tries to hit the chasing player with his hand. If he succeeds in touching the chasing player, then they are given out, by successfully completing his running to the place where his teammates are sitting. Another of his team player starts running the same way. In the game one of the team losses all the players in this way. Those who get out one by one are the losers and the other is winner. It is a very interesting game and requires complete physical fitness. Elderly people and the persons with less stamina are withdrawn one by one, to the outer circle they retire and the dance is going on. Those who can step properly to the beat of the drum in fast moving and can artistically move back and forward and get round about remains. After getting tired, this practice is not carried on further and the person sits and is replaced by the other. It is an artistic as well as exertion game, requiring dance and needs complete command on foot and hand and head. Because rhythmic movement of the head is also part of the dance.

Zulfiqar Khan of the Daily Dawn Islamabad describes the Khattak Dance in a very interesting manner in his article which was published in a special edition of the newspaper.

Mahsood Wal Atanrh

It is too a warrior dance and is special among the hard Mahsood tribe. Originally it is used to dance at the time of war, but latter on became a cultural dance. They dance empty handed and require only large drums. The dancer shows a tremendous jubilation while dancing. Nowadays it is danced with the guns in the dancers hand; loaded guns are taken in one hand, up to the beat of the drum the dancers move forward in a circle. After taking two and half steps each dancer return go turn about, and make up the gun and is caught with the other hand. All the dancers do this in a uniform manner and by completing the turning steps they fire in the air simultaneously. The sound of each of the guns goes on one time and seems to be single big bang. It is a thrilling dance and requires complete skill and practice for stepping as well command on rifle or gun, otherwise humiliation is faced by those who are unable to go with these thrilling sounds.

Shah Dola

Shah Dolla is the name of the dance specified for the Pashtoon tribe of Yusufzai. It is purely a dance for happiness and merriment, often danced at some happy occasion. It is too danced in a circle around the drummers. According to the beats of the drum the dancer move forward in a circle. With the first beat they open the hands and bring one foot back, with the succeeding beat both the hands are brought together, so is the back foot. With the third beat of the drum the hands clapped and head bowed to the inner side of the circle. The clapping of hands and putting the foot back are done together, so that to make a tune with the sound of the clapping and drum beat. It is too an artistic dance and requires complete timing of the clapping.

Taleban Atanrh

Nowadays the tradition of dancing by the Taleban has reduced to a considerable extent. The religious students studying in the religious schools perform a dance which they called the Atanrh of the Taleban. Those Taleban who lived in the boarding houses in religious schools used to have this dance for entertainment, before going to bed. With rhythmic clapping of hands they used to dance together disorderly or in order. This was just like exercise but had rhythm in it specially the clapping of hands and foot work.

Waziro Atanrh

Waziristan is a large area and has particular Pashtoon culture. Wazir dance is popular among the Wazir who are warrior-like tribe but Wazir dance is beautiful cultural phenomenon. Two drummers and a flute player play a particular tune. All the Wazirs standing around them. Two persons leave the circle; go dancing towards the drummers, and come back dancing in the same manner. During performing both the persons turn around two times at a time once towards each other facing face to face and once keeping faces in opposite direction. After doing this separately they march while dancing to the assembled crowd. As they reach the circle another pair of the performers start and moving forward in the same fashion.

Logari Atanrh

Logaray is a very artistic dance one person or two or more can dance together to the tune of orchestra. Actually Logaray is the name of the area in Afghanistan where this special tune is played by a large traditional orchestra. Boys or girls dance to this tune. It is a beautiful dance because so many variations occur in it in the drum beat. The moment the drum and other instrument are given a pause the dancer sits, by starting again slowly. The dancer slowly rises from the ground and again starts dancing with the tune. Sometime abruptly sitting and abruptly starting of the tune gives appears attractively. Besides the drum beat the harmonium is also used to provide tune to the dancing.

The dance of the Logar Valley is renowned throughout the Pashtoon lands. It is famous for its shy yet coquette nature in which the dancers freeze suddenly during the dramatic stops in the music. The main musical instruments are the stringed Rabab and the ceramic chalice drum Zerbaghalai. The rhythm is sometimes accentuated by bells on the ankles of the dancers.

Marwat Wala Atanrh

Marwat too is a large tribe of the Pashtoons. They have a particular cultural dance of their own, very much resembling the Wazir dance but can be dance for played one by one and by a large number of participants in a circle. The participants grow their hair long enough so that they can be tossed from side to side while they are turning their heads around in violent jerks. This is also done by the Wazir and the Mahsud tribes.

Bhittani Atanrh

The Bhittani Tribe’s dance is truly a sight to see due to the colorful jackets with gold embroidery and the white clothes that the dancers wear. The Shirt is a long gown which is like a swirling top when the dancer turns around and around. In his hands, the dancers will hold red, green or blue clothes. Bhittani Tribesmen dance in round circles with elegant footwork combined with colorful wavering of their large colorful clothes.

Chitrali Atanrh

Chitralis love to sing and dance. Though ethnically not Pashtoons, they have adapted their own form of Atanrh known as the Chitrali Atanrh. Any Chitralis can sing and dance but there are also some “experts ” that form a group and gather whenever there is an occasion. These people are not professional musicians but mere music lovers. Usually the group consists of 8-10 persons: one or two singers that sing the verse alternatively, a sitar player and a jerrican player. The rest will clap their hands and dance one by one.

Whenever a song starts, a dancer steps in the middle and starts to dance. He will dance very slowly taking small steps and arms spread wide. Gradually, the steps increase speed and finally he will spin round and round encouraged by the clapping of the hands and enthusiastic shouts made by the audience. The dancer is empty handed most of the time but on special occasions, he might be brandishing a sword. The Chitrali Atanrh is very focused upon the movement of the shoulders and the elegant moves of the wrists.


Balbala is a Pashtoon cultural dance and common every where but is mostly played and danced in southern tribes. Drummers and flute players in the center play a particular tune and the persons go dancing around them. In the start it is slow but gets moment fast with the drum beat. They whirl and move fast in the circle. It is a cultural dance and performed by the youth on some happy occasions. Apart from these dances, which are called Atanrh, other cultural dances are also performed by the professional or non-professional dancers. One or two professional female dancers dance on different occasions. The times for different dances are specified.

Spin Takray

Speen Takray is a dance performed by a single professional female dancer. In this dance, a special tune of orchestra is played on. This is a saz particular for Pushto cultural folk songs. The dancer wraps with shawl and hides the face and head. Then he dances like a newly wedded bride.



Dance gurus Darian Parker, Gobind Singh, and drum gods Sunny Jain and Eddie Jones anchored the drenching dance class.

I also taught a section, Guinea’s Sinte, and realized I truly workship Parker and Singh’s astronomical dance intelligence and the mixed sound of Djembe and Dhol drums.

The ladies of Orisha Dance Company, a Pan-African dance troupe I co-founded at Columbia University, organized the event with me and they full-proofed the program — securing space, attendants, and the love and energy that kept us moving for 2 and a half hours!

At first, I wanted the workshop to be a dance and talk forum, primarily to discuss the importance of multi-cultural relationships and the intersections of African and Asian histories and identities.

But our bodies, in full conversation with the music and each other, spoke more to the need for people with the right goals to just DO! and Talk Later!

Together, more than 40 of us, started much more than a hot dance class that night.

Unlikely friendships were discovered. Hidden possibilities were ignited.

A world uniquely human and empowering was born.

Now I’m in India, and my Orisha crew is marching ahead, running the best dance team on a college campus!

I’m 24. I’ve got my master’s, I’ve got my future. I’ve got my flickering desire to dance in a new world order.

The distance between New York, Africa, and India is great. So is the journey from war to love, from cynicism to hope.

But in one night, we traversed continents. Hope and love are waiting at the next stop!




In the Spirit of Dene Dance: Our Dances Today

By Ghea Tahara

The Dene no longer perform some dances. Missionaries from the south came and preached about religions and faiths different from those the Dene knew. The missionaries told the Dene people to stop the ceremonies, songs and dances. One Gwich’in Elder from the Mackenzie Delta, Elizabeth Colin, says that in Fort McPherson no one has held a traditional Dene dance since 1860, but she does remember hearing her mother and grandmother talk about some of the dances.

She says she knows the Handkerchief Dances, but not many others. “The only dances I know are the Tea Dance, the Line Dance and the Partner Dance. You know, that’s one thing that I always think about,” Colin says. “Why did we listen to the missionaries and let it go? Now we don’t have our drumming or dancing.”

Two Metis Elders from Fort Resolution in the South Great Slave Lake region (who chose not to be identified) also say their community history does not include the Dene dances. For one thing, the community is Metis, not Dene. But, for nearly 100 years, the missionaries have forbidden it.

Ironically, they say the first time they remember seeing a Dene dance in Fort Resolution was in 1952 during a celebration to honour the missionaries’ first century in the community.

“The old people said: ‘Oh, they’re having a drum dance,’ when they heard the drums beating in the distance.” “But the priests used to try to bust the drums and throw them over the fire and say it was the devil’s work. It was especially the old priests that had their old ways from the old country that they came from.”

“Young people who went to school in the United States and southern Canada came back North in the 1960s and brought with them new ways to dance from the Cree down south and from other groups. It’s not ours; it’s the south, but some of our dance is now mixed with theirs.”

But occasionally the people danced even in the 1930s. One of these informants recalls: “Way back when I was growing up there were celebrations for Treaty Days and they would have a big gathering of people from all over.” “They had hand games and drum dances. But nothing today. Since then, some people try to start it up again but it falls back down and now there’s no drum dances in the community. Sometimes they bring in drummers from Rae, Dettah or Hay River but nothing from around here. It’s a sad thing because it’s our culture and our life.”

In the Deh Cho (”Deh” means “moving river,” “Cho” means “big”) region of the South Slavey, resident Mike Cazon told a reporter, Derek Neary, in 1999 about drumming and how the drum is important to Dene dance: “It’s a way of restoring balance; a way of nurturing your spirit. If there’s lots of people dancing, it kind of gives you feedback and makes you want to sing and play harder.”

The reporter also interviewed Gerald Antoine. “It really helped me to fulfill that vision I had for myself being able to sing,” Antoine says. “It was quite emotional for me at that time. It’s something that I really treasure in my heart. It is something that has been given to the Dene people and it’s something they need to utilize to enhance their way of life and relationship with the Creator.”

Neary writes: “Cazon noted that the group is still learning songs and the meaning of them. He says they recently traveled to a gathering in Meander River in northern Alberta and saw a variation of drum dancing where people gathered three-by-three. They have also learned a great deal from other drummers and Elders from groups such as the Haida and Squamish.”

The situation varies from one area of Denendeh to another, but the Dene say the most important reason why they continue to dance is for their children. “It is hoped that if our children are given Dene perspectives to guide them in establishing good relationships with the land, the spiritual world, other peoples and themselves, not only will our identity be maintained, but we will all be closer to survival,” says F. Taddi in a Feb. 6, 2002 Dene Kede Mission Statement. “In the final analysis Elders were telling us as individuals, as a people, and as a species, we must become ‘capable’ in order to survive.”

The ceremonies with song, drums, dance and feasts honour the child, the young woman, and the young hunter. They also sanctify the marriage of two people who birth children, then grow to become Elders. In the Northwest Territories, the people over the years have lost some of the Dene culture, yet traditional knowledge about Dene dance still survives today.

The Dene tell their children the stories about the people’s way of life and why they must keep the culture alive in today’s society. For the Dene, re-telling the experiences of one person leads to the remembrance of many people’s lives.

The Elders also share their stories about ceremonies, songs, drums and the Dene dances for all people who read or listen. The Elders say they tell stories the old way, so that Dene dances will always be living histories that build a stronger future.



History of dance
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Veiled dancer, terracotta figurine from Myrina, ca. 150–100 BC. Louvre Museum

Dance does not often leave behind clearly identifiable physical artifacts. that last over millennia, such as stone tools, hunting implements or cave paintings. It is not possible to say when dance became part of human culture. 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 Bhimbetka rock shelters paintings in India and Egyptian tomb paintings depicting dancing figures from circa 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. [1]

Another early use of danc 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.[2]

Sri Lankan dances goes back to the mythological times of aboriginal yingyang twins and “yakkas” (devils). According to a Sinhalese legend, Kandyan dances originate, 2500 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 dances.

An early manuscript describing dance is the Natya Shastra on which is based the modern interpretation of classical Indian dance (e.g. Bharathanatyam).

The ancient chronicle, the Sinhalese (Sri Lankans), the Mahavamsa states when King Vijaya landed in Sri Lanka in 543 BCE he heard sounds of music and dancing from a wedding ceremony. Origins of the Dances of Sri Lanka are dated back to the aborginal tribes. The Classical dances of Sri Lanka, Kandyan Dances features a highly developed system of tala (rhythm), provided by cymbals called thalampataa.

In European culture, one of the earliest records of dancing is by Homer, whose “Iliad”; describes chorea (khoreia). The early Greeks made the art of dancing into a system, expressive of all the different passions. For example, the dance of the Furies, so represented, would create complete terror among those who witnessed them. The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, ranked dancing with poetry, and said that certain dancers, with rhythm applied to gesture, could express manners, passions, and actions. The most eminent Greek sculptors studied the attitude of the dancers for their art of imitating the passions.

* Go here for a history of pointe shoes and technique (ballet)

[edit] Late 20th century
Please help improve this section by expanding it. Further information might be found on the talk page. (September 2008)
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It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Modern dance. (Discuss)

After the explosion of modern dance in the early 20th century, the 1960s saw the growth of post modernism. Post modernism veered towards simplicity, the beauty of small things, the beauty of untrained bodies, and unsophisticated movement. The famous ‘No’ manifesto rejecting all costumes, stories and outer trappings in favour of raw and unpolished movement was perhaps the extreme of this wave of thinking. Unfortunately lack of costumes, stories and outer trappings do not make a good dance show, and it was not long before sets, décor and shock value re-entered the vocabulary of modern choreographers.

By the 1980s dance had come full circle and modern dance (or, by this time, ‘contemporary dance’) was clearly still a highly technical and political vehicle for many practitioners. Existing alongside classical ballet, the two art-forms were by now living peacefully next door to one another with little of the rivalry and antipathy of previous eras. In a cleverly designed comment on this ongoing rivalry the brilliant collaboration of Twyla Tharp (one of the 20th Century’s cutting edge Dance avant gardist\(Contemporary) and Ballet dance was ultimately achieved. The present time sees us still in the very competitive artistic atmosphere where choreographers compete to produce the most shocking work, however, there are still glimpses of beauty to be had, and much incredible dancing in an age where dance technique has progressed further in expertise, strength and flexibility than ever before in history.

At the same, mass culture experienced expansion of street dance. In 1974, famous group Jackson 5 performed on television a dance called Robot (choreographed by postmodern artist Michael Jackson). This event, and later Soul Train performances by black dancers ignited street culture revolution, which later formed break dancing rocks dance. For the emergence of 20th century modern dance see also: Mary Wigman, Gret Palucca, Harald Kreutzberg, Yvonne Georgi, and Isadora Duncan.

Hip-hop dance started when Clive Campbell, aka Kool DJ Herc and the father of hip-hop, came to New York from Jamaica in 1967. Toting the seeds of reggae from his homeland, he is credited with being the first DJ to use two turntables and identical copies of the same record to create his jams. But it was his extension of the breaks in these songs - the musical section where the percussive beats were most aggressive - that allowed him to create and name a culture of break boys and break girls who laid it down when the breaks came up. Briefly termed b-boys and b-girls, these dancers founded breakdancing, which is now a cornerstone of hip-hop dance. [3] Tap,Ballet,jazz and lyrical are now the most popular dances

[edit] References

1. ^ Nathalie Comte. “Europe, 1450 to 1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World”. Ed. Jonathan Dewald. Vol. 2. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2004. p94-108.
2. ^ Guenther, Mathias Georg. ‘The San Trance Dance: Ritual and Revitalization Among the Farm Bushmen of the Ghanzi District, Republic of Botswana.’ Journal, South West Africa Scientific Society, v30, 1975-76.
3. ^


Dance (from French danser, perhaps from Frankish) is an art form that generally refers to movement of the body, usually rhythmic and to music,[1] used as a form of expression, social interaction or presented in a spiritual or performance setting. Dance is also used to describe methods of non-verbal communication (see body language) between humans or animals (bee dance, patterns of behaviour such as a mating dance), motion in inanimate objects (the leaves danced in the wind), and certain musical forms or genres. In sports, gymnastics, figure skating and synchronized swimming are dance disciplines while martial arts kata are often compared to dances.

Definitions of what constitutes dance are dependent on social, cultural, aesthetic, artistic and moral constraints and range from functional movement (such as folk dance) to virtuoso techniques such as ballet. 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, such as in ballet or European folk dance, or have a gestural vocabulary/symbolic system as in many Asian dances. Dance can embody or express ideas, emotions or tell a story.

Dancing has evolved many styles. Breakdancing and Krumping are related to the hip hop culture. African dance is interpretive. Ballet, Ballroom, Waltz, and Tango are classical styles of dance while Square and the Electric Slide are forms of step dances.

Every dance, no matter what style, has something in common. It not only involves flexibility and body movement, but also physics. If the proper physics is not taken into consideration, injuries can and are likely to occur.

Choreography is the art of creating dances. The person who creates (i.e., choreographs) a dance is known as the choreographer.

Many early forms of music and dance were created and performed together. This paired development has continued through the ages with dance/music forms such as: jig, waltz, tango, disco, salsa, electronica and hip-hop. Some musical genres also have a parallel dance form such as Baroque music and Baroque dance whereas others developed separately: classical music and classical ballet.

Although dance is often accompanied by music, it can also be presented independently or provide its own accompaniment (tap dance). Dance presented with music may or may not be performed in time to the music depending on the style of dance. Dance performed without music is said to be danced to its own rhythm.

Ballroom dancing is an art although it may incorporates many fitness components using an artistic state of mind.

In the early 1920s, dance studies (dance practice, critical theory, Musical analysis and history) began to be considered an academic discipline. Today these studies are an integral part of many universities’ arts and humanities programs. By the late 20th century the recognition of practical knowledge as equal to academic knowledge lead to the emergence of practice research and practice as research. A large range of dance courses are available including:

Professional practice: performance and technical skills

Practice research: choreography and performance

Ethnochoreology, encompassing the dance-related aspects of anthropology, cultural studies, gender studies, area studies, postcolonial theory, ethnography, etc.

Dance therapy or dance-movement therapy.

Dance and technology: new media and performance technologies.

Laban Movement Analysis and somatic studies

Academic degrees are available from BA (Hons) to PhD and other postdoctoral fellowships, with some dance scholars taking up their studies as mature students after a professional dance career.

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