History of Dance

Ancient Times: c. 600 B.C.

Dance is believed to have been started as a ritual to appease a spirit or to signify a rite of passage. Many ancient civilizations danced before their gods in temples, especially for sacred occasions.

Ancient Egyptian priests danced to act out the stories of the gods; Egyptian women danced at funerals to convey their sorrow; and ancient Greeks opened their Olympic games with dance.

Dance was also a form of celebration. Ancient Greek villagers would celebrate after harvesting food from their fields with dancing and drinks. And there was much dancing to be had at weddings.

The Renaissance: 16th 17th Centuries A.D.

Dance became a favored form of entertainment in French and Italian the courts. The ballet emerged as a popular style, and the people of the court would perform for the king at banquets and festivals in elaborate costumes.

18th 19th Centuries A.D.

Dance developed into a formal social activity, and elaborate balls were held. Single men hoped to find wives at dances, and politicians held dances to show off their wealth and knowledge of fashionable dances. It became a key part of the elite society and an appropriate way to court a girl/

Since communication was limited, dance was an important, culturally acceptable form of non-verbal communication. Some cultural and religious groups viewed dancing as scandalous and condemned it.

Dance also shifted from courts to theaters.

20th Century Today

Dance became a major form of entertainment on Broadway and around the world. Ballroom dances like the Foxtrot emerged. Other styles also developed, such as modern, jazz and hip-hop.Reality TV shows were created about dance.