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  • Aditi Himatsinghani

Evolution of Dance

Dance has been part of human history since its earliest origins, bringing transcendence to spiritual rituals and creating bonds within communities. Since time immemorial, dance has been involved in ancient ceremonies, social and spiritual gatherings, etc.

Dance styles have changed a lot through the course of history; shaping themselves through different cultures and time periods slowly branching out to give rise to more styles.

It still remains one of the most popular forms of visual arts. The first archeological proof of dance comes from the 9 thousand-year-old cave paintings in India. Dance for purposes of entertainment and celebration was also prevalent in ancient India, a glimpse of which can be seen in the ancient Sanskrit text called ‘Natya Shastra’. Paintings, inscriptions in caves and sculptures also mention the existence of dance among the many gods in ancient Rome and Greece. The history of European medieval dance is fragmented and limited, but it is believed that simple folk dances were widespread among common and wealthy classes.

The arrival of the Renaissance brought many new styles of dance and forms of music. Consequently, a style of dancing known as the “Ballet” became an essential part of the lifestyle of the wealthy upper classes in Europe. Most major dance styles like ballet started off as simple folk dances.

The evolution of styles like ballet gave rise to various styles like contemporary, modern, and jazz. Styles such as Indian classical, hip hop, dance hall, and theater-musical have now emerged as cultures, each witth their own unique style, music, costume, and much more.

Much of the dance created by choreographers and composers is performed as professional entertainment today and has its roots in ballet, hip-hop, and classical.

Different forms of dance from each part of the world are unique in their own way; from the dancers that perform them to the movement, the culture as well as the tradition of that place, or the kind of emotion it brings out in the performer as well as the audience. As a dancer myself, I can conclude that dance is much more than a merry sport or entertainment form; it is an emotion, form of art, self-expression, passion, aesthetic pleasure.

a bharatnatyam dancer

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