Merce Cunningham: Symbolism in Dance

Merce Cunningham is one of the pioneers in the field of dance and choreography. He had been a mentor to most of the choreographers who have now become major names in modern times. In addition, there are certain body movements and symbolism in his dancing techniques that make him a distinctive pioneer in choreography; also, there are numerous choreographic pieces by Merce Cunningham that are still being imitated by many choreographers of our present time. Most importantly, I have analyzed the dancing techniques, music, costumes, and movements in certain dancing pieces by Merce Cunningham. The choreographic pieces that I have analyzed for this purpose are “Changing Steps,” “Deli Commedia,” and “Beach Birds for Camera.”

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The choreography piece “Changing Steps” profoundly reflects the true geometrical dancing manner of Merce Cunningham. As per my analysis, Merce Cunningham had made use of steps and body gestures in the form of dance to reflect movement. I observed that Merce Cunningham has been successful in highlighting that subtle and weightless footwork has been used to form the dancer’s movement. Moreover, when the dancers change their body gestures quickly, that left an impression of light weighted foot stepping. Additionally, I have also observed that in order to create extensions to the movements of the body, special focus has been made on certain movements, such as the physical contact among the dancers during the sequence (Merce Cunnigham Dance Company).
In my view, the highlight of the dance sequence is that it is another successful collaboration of music and choreography by John Cage and Merce Cunningham respectively. The work done by the cooperation of both invites the spectators to experience something that has never been focused on before; which is the way the collaboration had presented joy and freedom through the context of the dancing steps of the dancers. I believe that the collaboration of John Cage and Cunningham is the success factor as the dancing language of Cunningham is independent, but somehow John Cage’s music is irreplaceable. I also think that John Cage’s music in the dancing piece works as a catalyst. In addition, I would also like to mention that the wider acclaim to the dance sequence “Changing Steps” is increased because of the three-dimensional gesture stepping. Three-dimensional gesture stepping means that three dancers collaborate and make body movements that together make up a three-dimensional posture (Copeland).
Furthermore, the costumes used in the choreography sequence have been designed by Mark Lancaster. The colors of the costumes are single toned and darker colors. The costumes in the three-dimensional stepping had been used in a way that two of the dancers wear the same colored costume while the third dancer wears another color (Merce Cunnigham Dance Company).
My experience with the dance sequence “Changing Steps” has been full of delight. The dance sequence greatly reflects an entirely new idea and form of dance. The usage of the title perfectly suits the dancing sequence, and as viewed in the sequence, changing in steps has been quite swift, thus, the title also elaborates the same idea. Also, the flow of stepping in the dance sequence of “Changing Steps” is so powerful that the spectator would feel that he or she is actually dancing with the dancers. I observed that in the beginning of the dance sequence the choreography has been done in a way that makes a rectangular box and further forms a curved structure of stepping and to me, the setting appeared to be something that I did not expect in a dance. In addition, I think that the union of dancers after every three-dimensional stepping of feet appeared to be amazingly active and fresh.
Moving on to another great piece by Merce Cunningham entitled “Deli Commedia.” “Deli Commedia” is another accurately choreographed piece that represents the legacy of his contributions to the dance. He contributed in the field of dance by introducing the concept of geometry in his dance sequences. For instance, I have observed the concepts of geometry when one dancer stood perpendicularly while other dancers made curves through molding their bodies into an arch-like structure. Moreover, the costumes which have been used in the dance sequence were rather colorful, which exactly matched the theme of the stage. The usage of colors such as blue, yellow, green, magenta etc. is catchy which creates a distinction every time a new fragmentation is made while dancing. “Deli Commedia” reflects the collaboration of the musician, John Cage as the music played during the sequence holds beats in a synthesized manner (Ib50ib50 Channel). “Deli Commedia” managed to impress me as the dance sequence was filled with fragmentation and quick body movements, and I also liked the colorful costumes of the dancers which made use of the stage distinctively.
Last but not least, the choreography sequence of “Beach Birds for Camera” illustrates the movement of coastal areas. The inspiration that I got from such a dance piece is freedom because the stepping of the feet and hand gestures are more bird-like movements. Birds usually symbolize freedom and the basic intrigue that one would get by applying the dancing gestures as in “Beach Birds for Camera” explains the Eastern dance themes. I also noticed that the theme of Eastern dance is evident from Cunningham’s dance sequence because Eastern dancers perform in a way that is apparently similar to that of dancers of Beach Birds. Most of the Eastern dances are especially choreographed in outdoor locations reflecting nature (Copeland). The idea of stepping that illustrates the scenario of beach birds gives a joyful awakening in the field of the dance. “Beach Birds for Camera” is another victorious teamwork between Merce Cunningham and John Cage. According to my perspective, the music and choreography had complimented the theme of the ocean as the dancers use fragments imitating the effect of water, also the music of the dance sequence sounds like rain drops, or drops of water (Ib50ib50 Channel).
If I compare “Beach Birds for Camera” and other dance sequences by Merce Cunningham, I have observed here that the fragmentation is used lesser in this sequence, and the layering of the body gestures is most prominent, which is something that I have liked, and what I mean about the layering of the body gestures is in terms of the postures the dancers take where they come in contact with other dancers through leg touch, or back touch. Also, the change in directions is more obvious than in any other dance sequence making the spectators navigate towards the dancing steps more (Merce Cunningham Dance).
Moreover, the costumes designed by Marsha Skinner are according to the theme of the dance sequence. The costumes are especially made black and white in order to reflect the color of coastal birds; also, the use of black and white enhances the body gestures used in the fragmentation manner (Daly). I believe that costumes greatly suited the main theme of the dance sequence.
Through my analysis of the three dance sequences by the collaboration of Merce Cunningham, the choreographer, and John Cage, the musician, it comes to my understanding that the field of dance had been made wide because of the legendary collaboration. In addition, being a spectator of such dance sequences helped me observe the development that has taken place in terms of the dance. I would also say that the development which had taken place in dancing by the advent of geometrical dance sequences by Merce Cunningham in 1956; also, making Merce Cunningham a legendary figure in making use of fragmentation, body gestures in a layering manner, and foot stepping. Overall, my experience of watching dance sequence by Merce Cunningham was joyful and thoroughly entertaining.
 

A History of Dance Through the Ages

Dance and communications
How dancers have related and communicated with their environment throughout time. Please write about the change of dance and communications using examples of primitive and tribal communities, and throughout biblical societies, to the present day – how this form of spiritual and natural form of communication with a connection to the natural environment and (the divine) has been lost due to Industrialisation and become a commercial form of communication. (Add aspects of dance as a healing method and dance and communications).

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ABSTRACT
This project carries out an investigation on how dancers have related and communicated with the environment throughout time. The importance of dance in religious and magical gatherings is probably older than its use for recreation and entertainment. There is little doubt in many scholars mind that for the primitive man, dance was integrated in everyday activity expressing every kind of conceivable emotion; from the hunter dancing around his prey, to the prospect of war against another tribe and to the ritual ceremonies performed in dedication to the Gods.
It was only as a result of when more difficult social and economic structure; (invasions and urbanisation) did dance become commercialised as a source of entertainment.

Table of Contents (Jump to)
CHAPTER 1:  Introduction

Project Aims
Project Objectives

CHAPTER 2: History of Dance

Dance
Dance in the Bible
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Greek Mythology
The Christian era
Oriental Dancing
Ancient Belly Dancing
Evaluation of Ancient Dance

CHAPTER 3: Tribal Dance

Kerala
Bangladesh Tribal Dance
Anlo-Ewe Tribe
The Sun Dance
ABAKUA
Tribes in existence today

CHAPTER 4: Development of Dance

Muslim Influence
The Gypsy Movement
Shugendo and nomai Dance
Persian Heritage
Black Dance
Australian Dance

CHAPTER 5: Effects of industrialisation

Africa
Changes in Western Societies


CHAPTER 1: Introduction
1.1 Project Aims
History shows that dance was used as an expression of how our ancestors would communicate with the divine. It was used as a fundamental part of life in healing, worship, family and connection to the natural environment. The use of dance in religious and magical gatherings is probably older than its use for recreation and entertainment. Research has shown through ancient archaeological findings how dance was an essential part of everyday life. It was only when industrialisation and urbanisation emerged did it now became a commercial form of communication.
The aim of this project is to investigate how dance was used as a method of communication throughout biblical societies, to this present day using primitive and tribal communities as examples. This project explores the history of dance from ancient to modem and how dance has changed dramatically due to industrialisation, highlighting whether any of these tribal dances are still in existence today, died or have been transformed with society
1.2 Objectives

Introduction to the meaning of dance in history and how it has changed through modernisation. Look into ancient tribal societies and how they lived their lives.

A look into biblical societies, how dancing was used as an expression of joy, thanksgiving and enhancing their relationship with the divine.

Provide information on how primitive and tribal communities used dance as a spiritual method to connect with the natural environment.

The foundation of modern dance and whether any of it has derived from old tribal sacred dance that related to the communication of the divine.

How the natural form of dance used for communicating with the natural environment has been lost due to industrialisation becoming a commercial form of communication

Finally, a conclusion of whether dance in its natural form still exists in some parts of the world and how its being preserved through commercialisation,

CHAPTER 2: HISTORY OF DANCE
2.1 Dance
Dance can be described as artistic form of non communication or to move in a graceful or rhythmical way. Its origins are lost in prehistoric times, but, from the study of many primitive tribes and ancient cultures, both men and women danced as a form of spiritual release intertwining the environment and the divine.
History shows that there are two types of dances that evolved as cultures developed; Social dance and spiritual dance. Social dances are those used on occasions that celebrated birth and commemorated deaths whilst magical or religious dances were used as an active worship to communicate with the Gods as well as to cure the sick. In religious dance, the medicine men of primitive cultures were believed to have powers that invoked the assistance of a God and were both feared, respected and were considered by many to be the first choreographers, or composers of formal dances.
 
2.2. Biblical dance
The bible is known as the sacred writings of the Christian religion which tells the faith and history of ancient Israel. It dates back many centuries ago and is believed to be the eldest book that dictates how the first human beings from this world lived their lives.
In this book, dance is said to play a prominent role in communication and the expression of emotions to the divine. The bible was originally written in Hebrew, Greek and some bits of Aramaic language which resembles Hebrew. Some of the original Hebrew words in the Old Testament were kheel or khool meaning to twist or writhe, raw-kad meaning to jump or stamp and kaw-rar meaning to whirl. In the New Testament, the Greek term kheh-om-ahee means a circular motion. Like other historic religions, dancing was used to communicate with the divine
Many biblical passages show how the people of Israel danced as expressions of happiness, gratitude, and praise for the higher being:

Ladies dancing in the vineyard to celebrate the yearly festival – Judges 21:21-23
Jephtah’s daughter dancing and playing the tambourine – judges -11:34
Miriam led dancing and singing and praise to the lord – Exodus 15:20-21
David danced before the ark of the lord to honour the Lord…
King David dancing and jumping around in his sacred dance – 2 Samuel 6:14-23

The bible emphasises dancing only to be used as a religious rite that was to be practiced for joyful occasions, national feasts and victorious battles. Males and females usually danced separately, not as form of courtship which is now seen in the modern society. Any form of dance not used for the glorification of the high being was regarded sinful. The only records in the bible of dancing for social entertainment were those of ungodly families who spent their time in luxury who’s end was believed to eventually come to a sudden destruction (Job 11:11-13); and the dancing of Herodians which led to the murder of John the Baptist. (Matthew 14:11) Hebrew words that have meanings related to physical movement were translated into English as rejoice.
Every instance of dancing in the bible that was acceptable was done in worship and in praise to the God of Israel. It was a way to express the emotions and keep in contact with the divine one.
2.3 Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was the birth place of one of the world’s first civilisations. This advanced culture rose 5,000 years ago. It thrived for over 2,000 years and so became one of the longest lasting civilizations in history.
Dance was an essential part in ancient Egyptian culture. According to Wendy Burk, [1] it evolved from the simple rituals used by hunters to find their prey. Performing the dances was believed to help in later hunts. A leader, called a priest-dancer, was responsible for seeing that the dances were performed correctly so that the hunt would be successful.
Eventually these dances were separated from their ritual and became an art of their own. This development paralleled the emergence of Osiris as Egyptian’s most important God. He was the symbol of a more developed civilisation on Earth, and belief in him guaranteed everlasting life. Dance was a crucial element in the festivals held for Osiris. These occurred throughout the year—in the summer, for instance, when the river Nile began to rise and the corn was ripening, and in the fall on All souls night—the ancient ancestor of Halloween. Egyptian art shows that Men and women never danced together, and the most common scenes depict groups of female dancers were often performing in pairs.
 
Dancing within the ancient Egyptian culture could be spontaneous as were orchestrated for religious festivals:
“All the people of all the dwellings of the court heard (of the coronation of Hatshepsut); they came, their mouths rejoicing, they proclaimed (it) beyond everything, dwelling on dwelling therein was announcing (it) in his name; soldiers on soldiers […], they leaped and they danced for the double joy in their hearts.”
James Henry Breasted Ancient Records of Egypt, Part Two, § 238
As true in most primitive cultures, music was a part of these celebrations but not as important as the dancing itself. Egyptians had developed stringed, wind and percussion instruments as well as different sorts of whistle and harms in order to communicate with their Gods.
2.4 Ancient Greek mythology
Research shows that dance was used by the Greeks to honour their Gods and therefore used it for religious, fellowship and worshiping ceremonies. They believed the Gods offered this gift to some selected morals only who in return taught the dancing to their fellow men. The following exerts that talks about the origins of dance comes from H.B. Cothherhills book on Ancient Greece who’s extensive research talks about the origins of dance in ancient Greece.
“Every fifth year the birth of the twin deities was celebrated with magnificence, amidst a great concourse, vividly described in the ancient hymn to Apollo: ‘hither gather the long-robed Ionians with their children and chaste wives. They wrestle, they dance they sing in memory of the God. He who saw them would say they were immortal and ageless, so much grace and charm… ”
Ancient Greece: A sketch of its Art, Literature and philosophy
Book by H.B Cotterill, Goethe, Milton, Virgil; Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1913
In the classic Greek song, Apollo, another one of the Gods who is son to Zeus is regarded as the dancer. Zeus is regarded as the the God of medicine, music and poetry. In a Greek line Zeus himself is represented as dancing. In an ancient province in Greece known as Sparta, Apollo was worshipped through the Gymnopaedia festivals and celebrations. They were performed by young boys, mature men and old men who focused on performing in a very dignified manner.
As well as for religious ceremonies, dance was also used for education. It was thought to promote physical health and encourage education positively. Aristotle, a famous philosopher in Greek history, born in Greece (384-322) B.C, studied philosophy, taught that education should be a blend of music and gymnastic training in order to improve moral training. Socrates who also is an ancient philosopher in Greece said that dance should be taught even more widely than it already was. He said that those honouring the gods most beautifully in dance were those who were the best in war; he claimed that to sing and dance well was to be well educated. As with the Jewish festivals described in the bible, Greek dances were not based on the relationship between men and woman but were either performed either my males or by the females.
2.5 The Christian era
As the Christian faith grew, along came dramatic rituals to be used for prayer. It came along with the Latin mass were dance was included along with the music and drama. Performed were what was known as miracle plays, mystery plays and morality play that taught the Church’s lesson in a theatrical manner. It became a form of entertainment rather that just part of a ritual practice. Both dance and song were used to communicate and express a full range of emotions.
Other dances that evolved in the era were the sword dances that were performed in Germany, Scotland and Western Europe. This was most likely due to the Vikings. Sword dances link the swords to form a pattern or lock and in some dances a man enacts a ritual beheading.
2.6 Oriental dancing
In various parts of Asia, traditions of dance date back to many thousands of years. Most theatrical dance forms of Asia were performed originally as parts of religious worship. Many folk dances also developed in Asia, but modern social dances reflect western influences. In some Asian dances, slight movements of the upper body, especially facial expressions and hand gestures communicate the message of dance. Many dances describe through gesture a historical event, a legend or a myth.
One particular dance in the Hindu religion that showed expression of spirituality and deep commitment to the environment is known as the Bharata Natayam. This dance was originally performed in the temples of India and combines rhythmically complicated dancing with Hindu legends told in a song.
The dance has been described:
“…an offering of one self to the divine used by the devotee to connect with the supreme”
Vasanthi Srinivasan: Teacher of the Bharata Natayam
This particular type of dance dates back to second century AD., and was performed by young women who were offered to the Gods of the temple. According to Vasanthi Srinivasan, this type of dance fell into dispute with Islamic law which came about as invasions from the Muslim community who outlawed it. The Bharata Natayam was originally used to pay homage to the Gods but as a result of invasions, it now emerged as a state art form and has never left the hearts and minds of the Hindu people. [2]
Despite the modernisation of the Bharata Natayam, the dance still shows its dedication and honour to the natural environment and divine in its movement.
“Before the dance starts, the earth on which it is to be performed is sanctified. And since dance is like trampling on the earth, the dancer asks permission of the mother earth to trample on her. In this way, the dance bears similarities to other native and indigenous dances. The dancer dances in her bare feet out of respect for mother earth.The Bharata Natayam is a narrative type of dance. The dancer uses hand and body gestures put to music to tell a story. The stories are traditional ones based on nature and human emotion. There are two primary texts from which the stories are drawn: the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. The Mahabharata is about two fighting cousins, similar to the Greek Iliad. The one who brings about resolution is the Lord Krishna. The Gita, a special chapter in the Mahabharata representing the song of the Lord, is an elaboration of a moral code.”
Mei-Lin Stichbury
 
Dance in the Hindu scriptures show how the manifestation of the whole universe was brought into existence by the dance of the supreme dance Nataraja. It is part of a sacred temple ritual were they pay homage to the divine. The temple dance had now evolved to what is known as the Hindu classical dance however as shown in the Bharata Natayam, still preserves many ritualistic ideology of Hindu worship.
China
The ‘Sun Chia Chai’ one of the first most significant forms of Dance found in ancient China. Archaeological findings show pictures of dancers that were in the middle of a mimetic process connected to their hunting. Early writings show how dancing was incorporated within every aspect of Chinese culture since the beginning of civilization.
As described by Yaron Moargolin, many can still feel the spirit of the ancient dances.
In those, the dancers describe the course of the stars in the sky and bring the idea of heaven. In the dance known as the “yangoo” we can see the great movements of the dancer’s hands and legs which express the admiration to the universe. Those mimetic expressions has developed during the passing years and become an important part of everyday life in china. The dance was inspired by everyday relations between the regular Chinese man and his emperor, his friends or his body. It became very physical and after a while the classic dance came out of this. Until now, we saw only the happiness and joy in the ancient dances, but there were also bad feelings as fear and evil, which were expressed through dances. It was a war inspiration.
http://www.israeldance.co.il/dance
By Yaron Margolin
Ancient paintings and pottery show that there are believed to have been two types of dances that emerged, one being the military dance, this dance is highlighted with dancers holding their sticks full of feathers. There were also amour, flags, hunting and fishing equipments that were used in the dance. The second kind of dance was the religious dance to communicate with the earthly surroundings and to honour the environment. These worship dances were believed to have been developed through hunting. [3]
2.5 Ancient Belly Dancing
Belly dancing is a very ancient form of dancing. It retains its connections to the cycles of nature, the celebrations of fertility and light. It started out just as the many other historic dances began, a religious rite, it then evolved into folk art and through modernisation turned into a form of lascivious and entertainment. Belly dance is identified by swaying hips, undulating torso and articulated isolations employed in a range of dynamic and emotional expressions. The focus is on isolated movements of individual parts of the body with little notice given to footsteps.
During its history, belly dancing was performed as a separate dance between the sexes. To them, women were the goddesses who created the mystery of life through their bodies. The rolling of the stomach imitates birthing contractions and the kneeling of the floor is similar to how women of more earthly, primitive cultures would squat to give birth rather than lying on their backs in a hospital bed [4]
2.7 Evaluation of Ancient Dance
Dancing was sacred to the people who performed these acts. It was mainly used in worship rites. and served as a meditating force between people and the world of Gods. Prehistoric people made up religious dancing to gain favour of their Gods. In many of these cultures, dancing provided on of the most effective and personal methods of communication. It was used to express feelings such as joy, anger or happiness without saying a word
CHAPTER 3: TRIBAL DANCE
A tribe can be described as a unit of socio-political organisation consisting of a number of families, clans or other groups who share a common ancestry and culture and among whom leadership is typically formalized or neither permanent. For many tribes, dancing was very much their way of life, where each tribe has its own distinctive dance traditions that were interwoven with life. In some secret societies in Africa, a special initiation dance is known only to its members. When new members learn the dance, it represents their acceptance into the group.
This chapter explores how tribes used dancing as an effective way of communication and whether any of these tribes still exist in our society today or have been lost due to the forces of industrialisation and modernisation.
3.1 Kerala
Kerala is now known as a popular holiday resort state in India, however early archaeologist findings show that the first citizens of Kerala were hunter-gathers. These people still inhabit the mountains of southern Indians today. The next race of people in Kerala is believed to be the Austriches. The Austric people of Kerala are of the same stock as the present-day Australian Aborigines. They were the people who laid the foundation of Indian civilizations. They also introduced snake-worship in Kerala. Traces of such worship and ancient rites have been found among the Aboriginal tribes of Australia. Austric features can still be seen fairly and clearly among the people of Kerala today
The tribal inhabitants of Kerala are believed to be about two hundred thousand years old. There are roughly about 35 different types of tribal chiefs among them. Centuries have failed to change them completely. They have been described as
“A unique example of communities in isolated existence, still preserving their life, customers and manners almost untarnished by the advancing waves of urban civilization. Though adapted to different dialects and customs, their artistic expression evidently reflects the distinct, secluded and primitive social structure and nature of people and it still survives as virile as state as ever in the tribal hamlets of the hilly tracts.”
http://www.kalakeralam.com/visual/tribaldance00.htm
The tribes of Kerala have its own distinct dance traditions, like all tribal arts the dancing is the most direct expression of the innermost spirit. One type of ritual dance performed by is known as the Gadhika. The performance can be done as a ritual for having the safe delivery of a child. It begins with the principle performer invoking Lord Shiva for his help to cure the patients. Central to the belief is that a person falls sick when the Gods are angry. The participants of the dance involve both sexes whose function is to welcome both the Gods and Goddesses.
3.2 Bangladesh tribal dance
Tribal dance in Bangladesh regions were based on their customs and beliefs. Before they will go on a hunt, hunters would draw pictures of their prey and dance in a body imitating a hunt. The hunter for example will dance around his prey and even at times donned the fur of his prey. With the evolution of society, human activities have undergone many changes resulting in different dance styles. Tribes in Bangladesh that still exist include the Santals, Oraons, Murongs and Chakmas. They live in the hilly regions of Bangladesh and although some changes have taken place in the livelihood and religious beliefs they still tend to follow their ancestors in various religious and cultural festivals.
 
The Garos tribe perform their dance through what is known as a Nokma, [5] which is pleasing to the leader of the community. The dance is intended to express joy. A dance known as jariyali is also quite common in this region. The technique of picking fruits from the trees has been converted into a dance by the Garos. Dances are even based on the daily lives of pigeons. Thus, one dance shows how pigeons collect their food, feed and fondle each other.
The Chakmas are known to celebrate a religious fair called the Mahamuni. At the beginning of the festival the statue of Mahamuni (the great sage) Buddha is placed at the temple. Then the young men and women perform together in a dance which is inspired by deep devotion. In addition, dances are performed by Chakmas [6] to have a good harvest and rainfall, and sometimes just for entertainment. The dance arranged for rainfall is participated not only by young people, but also by the older members of the community who come forward with full pitchers to spray water on the young ones
A dance popular by the Oraon tribe is the karam dance which is performed on the occasion of planting and harvesting. It’s possible for this dance to last for a number of days and nights. Also the jhuma dance is performed for harvesting and the increase growth of crops. It is a unique and integral part of their social life. It begins with the dancers paying tributes to the god of crops with the dancers raising their hands and kneeling down to express their love and devotion to the Gods and Goddesses. [7] Through the dance they beseech the God to make them happy throughout the whole year to let them have better crops and to prevent them from various epidemics.
Tribal dances for the Bangladesh people were traditionally performed without any stage, makeup room, lighting etc. They were mainly to pay homage to the Gods and communicate through the environment. The musical instruments used could merely be a pair of bamboos. Television and tourism have had an impact on tribal dancing, and stage, musical instruments, lightning and makeup have all become made more elaborate.
3.1 Anlo-Ewe Tribe
The Anlo Ewe tribe is based in the southern east of Ghana in Nigeria. They are believed to have settled there in the 15th century (1474). For this tribe, dance drumming is an integral part of community life and an important necessity in the pursuit of the collective destiny, perhaps essence of their shared experience. For the Anlo-Ewe Tribe everybody must participate in dance. According to CK Ladzekpo
Non participation amounts to self excommunication from society as a whole and carries with it severe consequences in a similar manner as non performance of some civic obligations in other cultures of the world. The most severe penalty for non participation is to be denied a proper burial. Receiving a good burial is extremely important to the Anlo-Ewe. In contrast to other societies of the world that demonstrate the importance of having a good burial by buying funeral insurance from commercial funeral homes, the participation of the Anlo-Ewe in the collective and shared experiences of the community is the only insurance towards receiving the proper burial. CK Ladzekpo
http://www.africaguide.com/culture/tribes/anlo_ewe.htm
This describes how essential it is for the Anlo-Ewe tribe to belong to a good dance group as way of communicating its social culture with other members. An old Anlo-Ewe proverb translates “You should join a dance group before you die.” Dances such as this are a non profit venture as seen in western society. [8] You don’t receive monetary compensation in the manner that hired musicians or dancers receive.
3.4 The Sun Dance
On of the most sacred ceremonies practiced by the north American Indians is known as the Sun dance. This ceremony was practiced by many different tribes but shared many things in common, such as dancing, singing, experience of visions, vows and for some tribes self torture. Those who participated in the dance would have believed to have a sense of well being, contentment and harmony with the environment. Animals such as buffalos and eagles were also incorporated in the ceremony to act as the communicator between man and the spirit.
“Common elements of the Sun Dance ceremony involves a pledger who makes a vow to perform the dance as a result of a dream or vision, a sweat lodge purification, the building of the Sun Dance lodge, smoking the sacred pipe, and the actual dance itself…Participants dances while gazing at the sun and blowing eagle-bone whistles, while attached to the sacred pole by thongs and skewers through chest the muscles and pulled outwards until the muscles tore free. The original sun dance was an occasion when all the tribe would gather to reaffirm their basic belief about the universal and the supernatural through ceremonies, words and symbolic objects.”
The Native American Sun Dance Religion and ceremony Philip M. White
 
The buffalo was the symbol of life, some attached the buffalo’s skull to their back. This form of self torture was considered highly honourable to the participants. The dance was a celebration of the generative power of the sun. It was important to their spirituality and a significant part of their life. It was only after intervention from the American government they banned the dance as it was seen insignificant to the new life of the west and they were repulsed by this new form of self torture inflicted. There were many who tried to bring the sun dance back to its original form and meaning but have not been successful.
3.5 ABAKUA Dance
The term Abakua dance comes from a secret society in Cuba. The Abakua tradition relates back to the African slaves brought to Cuba in the 18th century. The Abakua society was founded in Havana Cuba by the Efik, a subgroup of the Ibibio tribe.
Their dance consists of basic motives: self expression and physical release. One of the most basic motives of dance is the expression and communication of emotion. These motive forces can be seen not only in the spontaneous skipping, stamping and jumping movements often performed in moments of intense emotions, but also in the more formalised movement of “set” dances such as tribal war dances of festive folk dances. Yvonne Daniel (Rumba Dance and Social Change 1995, p36) describes the legacies in secret society coming from Africa being transported, replicated and transformed to a certain extent to fit the social environment of Cuba. Their dancing often re-enacts stories of mysterious beings who communicate through postures and gestures and the use of spirit masks. Here the emotions help generate emotions as well as communicate them through to others.
The Abakua dance (founded October 2000 by Franke Martine) company try’s to portray this in their performances. They are made up of both dancers and drummers, the percussion marking out of the rhythm helps intensify the emotion. Frequently the dancers take turns performing, and there is usually a great deal of informal communication among the members of the stage.
3.6. The Tribes in existence
Present in our society today, there are a few tribes who keep their dance culture of paying homage to the Gods and divine. There are also some who use it as an aspect of healing and the preparation of a hunt. Despite all this, it does not seem to be an essential way of life as it was used during those times. Many have now been marked to entertain and impress the public.
The next chapter will now attempt to investigate these chang
 

Dance as Part of a Religious Ceremony

Dance as Part of a Religious Ceremony

Garba is a religious dance that is performed in the Indian culture. While Garba can be performed during  joyous occasions including weddings, it is most commonly celebrated during Navratri, a nine day festival that honors and celebrates Goddess Durga. The religious dance is often performed after reciting prayers at the temple or mandir. The principle movement includes circling around a statue or a picture of Goddess Durga, in most cases. Often times, there are concentric circles due to limited space (“Garba”). This is simply the fundamentals of Garba. Unique elements are added such as clapping, twirling, and stepping back and forth with the net movement being forward. The Garba dance is performed in a circle as it represents time, the cycle of birth and death. The dance encircles Goddess Durga as she embodies the divinity of the female, the one responsible giving life. Sometimes Garba encircles a lit lamp known as a garbha deep which translates to “womb lamp.” It emphasizes the fetus in the womb of a female, once again representing life (“Garba: The”).   

Patel, Heenal, Kapadia, Payal. “Aerial View of United Way of Baroda garba (considered one of the largest garba events in the world).” 28 June 2018. Online Image. Lincolncenter.org. 19 Feb 2019.

The costumes for Garba are extremely colorful and vibrant. Women often wear chaniya choli, which is a three-piece outfit including: a chaniya which is a long skirt similar to the white skirts of the Whirling Dervishes, a blouse, and a choli or dupatta which is a similar to a scarf. Women may also accessorize with bangles and other jewelry. The men wear a Kediyu which is comprised of a short, yet flared top with pants. They may also wear a turban known as a pagadi. Both outfits have intricate and colorful embroidery. There is no symbolism behind this costume. The outfit is worn because of the visual appeal of the flared outfits when dancing in a circle (“Garba: The”).

“Garba Dance (Image: Mera events).” Online Image. Utsavpedia.com. 19 Feb 2019.

Both the dance and the outfits can be clearly seen in this video that illustrates the traditional Garba dance encircling Goddess Durga:

Traditional Garba-Raas at Gujarat Kharva Samaj Porbandar. 28 June 2017. Youtube. Web. 19 February 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_85fuwfxi58.

Garba is a very energetic dance. The instruments that often used are dhol, a dholak, cymbals, and shennai. Modern additions include the synthesizer and the harmonium. The dhol and dholak are double sided drums and the shennai is a wind instrument with a double reed (“Garba”). In addition, if you consider the voice to be a musical instrument, there are also singers that sing Navrati songs. From my personal experience, I find the music that accompanies Garba almost takes over you. Personally, I found that the speakers in most of the halls are very loud, thus when the musician plays the dhol and dholak, I can almost feel my heart beating to the sound of the percussion. Overall, the music is very energetic and joyous. You always get this overwhelming feeling to join the dance.

Shah, Aksha. “Other Percussion Instruments for dance accompanying music in India.” 20 July 2011. Online Image. NrityaDhol.com. 19 Feb 2019.

When the Cem and Semah are juxtaposed with the preceding prayers and Garba in the Indian culture, there are many similarities and differences. Primarily, Garba can be performed anywhere similar to the Semah as “The importance is the intention… any space can be converted into a worship place” (“Cem Rituals of Alveli”). In fact, in my community, we usually hold Navrati festivals in our local high schools and the piece of land behind our temple (mandir). However, unlike the Cem where the location is not important, the prayers that honor Goddess Durga, also known as an aarti, are held in a mandir. In addition, the aarti is neither interactive nor do they function in solving dispute like the Cem. The prayers are similar to that of the Sunni Muslims, “alone with God himself…” and we face the statues of our Gods, similar to how the Sunni Muslims face the mihrab. Although, we often do use instruments such as the tabla and the harmonium during our aarti similar to how the Cem uses the baglama saz. In addition, the Semah and the Garba are similar in that they both form circles. However, the circles represent different meanings: in the Semah the circle means unity with God, whereas in the Garba the circle represents time. Also, the Semah dance consists of three parts, whereas that is not the case for Garba. Anyway, they both entail turning and emphasis on hand and feet movement. Both men and women are allowed to participate in the Garba and Semah. However, unlike the Semah which can only include 2-16 dancers, Garba can include an infinite number of dancers. Whoever wishes to participate can do so in Garba, unlike the Cem in which those who are excommunicated cannot unless forgiven. Personally, I think the Semah is more strict than the Garba. While there is no talent and dress code required similar to Garba, there are certain rules such as not turning your back to the çeregthati and how if one is tired he or she may invite someone else of that gender. There is no such rule for Garba. Overall, the juxtaposition of both religious rituals does show interesting similarities and differences.

Works Cited

“Garba.” The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 19 Feb 2015. Web. 19 Feb 2019.

“Garba: The Significance of Garba Forms in Navratri.” Utsavpedia. Utsavpedia. Web. 19 Feb 2019. https://www.utsavpedia.com/cultural-connections/garba-a-colorful-tribute-togoddess-shakti/.

Ersoz, Ayrin. “Cem Ritual of Alevis.” Dance in Instanbul Online. Rutgers Online. 19 Feb 2019.

Ersoz, Ayrin. “Semah dance.” Dance in Instanbul Online. Rutgers Online. 19 Feb 2019.

Patel, Heenal, Kapadia, Payal. “9 Things to Know about Garba (and Raas).” Lincoln Center. Lincoln Center Programs, 28 June 2015. Web 19 Feb 2019.

Analysis of the Social Dance

Dance appreciation begins with looking at dance as an art, which typically relied on its preservation by being passed down through observation and oral traditions (Allison Cartegena, 2018). Social dances have influenced or been influenced by society, the way people dance is dependent on the time period and what is culturally acceptable to that particular group of people. (Kassing, N.D.) The social dances of focus for analysis are morris dances, flamenco, waltz, and tango. The Laban Movement Analysis will be the benchmark for how each social dance is evaluated and how they will be compared and contrasted. An aspect of dance that is important to convey is why does this dance matter, and also how did it affect the group of people directly or indirectly involved. Although social dances can break down barriers between different cultures, some have caused controversy and scandal by being subversive and suggestive.

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Flamenco dance is a highly-expressive, Spanish dance form. The flamenco is an individual dance characterized by hand clapping, rhythmic footwork, and intricate hand, arm, and body movements (Bedinghaus, 2018). This social dance is a combination of dance steps “with the Andalusian folklore, folk songs, and instruments of Mozarabic origin. Instruments like tambourines, finger cymbals known as ‘Castanets’, and other tuneful musical instruments are also an integral part of the dance form” (“Fascinating Facts about Flamenco,” 2018). This richness makes flamenco an extremely passionate dance form, which touches the deepest of human emotions. Flamenco has more than 50 musical styles known as “palos,” classified on the basis of their rhythmic patterns, modes, geographic origin, chord progression, and the formation of stanzas (“Fasinating Facts about Flamenco,” 2018).

Watching flamenco is a mesmerizing experience, the video of the Spanish gypsy dancer (Il Vagabondo, 2012) performing in a small intimate venue showcased the powerful free flow and changes between sudden and sustained movement related to the tempo of the music. The female dancer wore a proper flamenco dressed named ‘Bata de Cola’ in an exquisite purple/pink lilac color with white polka dots, her facial gestures and hand motions are a defining, unique quality to flamenco dancing. The spotlight of flamenco is the stomping of the feet in a rhythmic matter, it is evident as the dancer is holding her dress to the side so the audience can view the rapid movement of her feet. (Il Vagabondo, 2012) The dancer uses axial movement with the viewers focus on the body shape of the dancer as a whole and looking at her wrists flicking in a sequential pattern as they move from her upper to lower body then quickly whip both arms out simultaneously. Incorporating space with direct pathways as she dances along the small floor space the focus of the dancer is mainly straight ahead with no eye contact with the audience, although at specific points the dancer’s focus will lash to her feet as she is pouncing out to the floor with heavy weight in terms of effort. Another example of flamenco dance is of the Youtube video filmed at “Flamenco Dance Show during dinner at El Palacio Andaluz, Seville, Spain” (Ling Daisly, 2011, Youtube), a professional concert performance with stage lighting and a larger music band. The use of small castanets by the female dancer adds an elegant layer of melody to her dancing. The change from active to passive weight in tandem with the live music helps to invoke emotion in the audience as well as keep them engaged in the performance. This video stood out to me because of the dancer’s use of her peripheral kinesphere by drawing out her arm and holding the position to the beat of the music was fantastic artistry.

“When the waltz first whirled through the ballrooms of Vienna, it caused an outrage and marked a decisive shift in European social customs,” (Del Hierro, 2017) what a surprising fact to learn because in the present day the waltz seems formal and only used in setting of grand display of provenance. Its name comes from walzen, “to turn” in German and may have developed out of the folk music of Austria’s simple village peasants. By the late 1700s the waltz spread throughout Europe, with the dance being particularly popular among young people from the wealthy middle classes, a sharp departure to the minuet dances of the time period where, dancers would be an arm width apart and had strict rigid choreography. (Del Hierro, 2017) The waltz is a smooth dance that travels counter clockwise around the dance floor with a ¾ music speed with some variations going quicker or slower.  (dancetime.com, ND)

Concentrating on the origins of the waltz, the video of a group of people dancing in couples showcases the Viennese waltz which it can be clearly seen how up close the dancers are to each other. (Aaron1912, 2010) The waltz is a dance that has a lead and a follow, mainly male and female taking those roles respectively. The lead stands straight up with the back erect and their gaze looking away from the partner usually turning it the direction of movement. The follow holds onto the lead while leaning away and tilting the head to show submission to the lead.  Elements of the shape of the waltz is best described as pin like movements with rising and falling motions. It can be seen that the waltz needs a large dance floor because of how long the strides are taken by the dancers, this is important to note due the distinct locations people had to go to in order to participate (ballrooms). The quality of the kinesphere is traverse because the arms of the dancers are held out but not fully extended therefore emphasizing the in between space. (Aaron 1912, 2010)

The origin of Morris dancing is not known, attempts to discover the origins of the dances suggests, is that they are of pagan origin performed as part of ancient fertility rites. The music and dances were perhaps intended to attract beneficial influences, while the bells, fluttering handkerchiefs, and clashing sticks served as the means to scare away malevolent spirits. (Cole, Britainnia, 2015) It survives today as a form of folk dance performed in the open air in villages in rural England by groups of specially chosen and trained men and women. (Cole, Britainnia, 2015) There are many types of morris dancing varying on the region of England that the dance is from, the general form is a group dance of people wearing bells around their calves, as well as holding a stick they are both used to interact with one another in the group. ([Videowl HD], 2013) The dance is done in simultaneous movement with galloping and hopping in direct and indirect pathways. There is usually a live band playing folk instruments, so the dancers can follow to the music.

Tango, the music and the dance, has a complex history, its development follows the social and economic growth of Argentina and Uruguay, in particular the area of Rio de la Plata and its triangle of Buenos Aires (Cecolli, 2013). Eloquently stated by Cecolli (2013) on the history of the tango, “Its roots seem to date back to the 1870’s when a version of it was danced by Black slaves to the fused rhythms of Habanera (Cuban) and Candombe (Afro-Uruguayan) music.” It was the dance of the poor, and marginalized, danced in the outskirts of the cities, and not accepted in upper classes. (Cecolli, 2013) They came from Italy, Spain, Germany, Poland and Greece, and settled in the edges of Buenos Aires. According to Cecolli (2013) tango was raw and sexual, as the connectedness of limbs representing the sexual encounter. With few women around tango dancing moved to brothels, where women choose clients by dancing with them, the male had three songs to prove himself worthy (Meier, 2015). Men had to dance with each other in order to refine their tango skills as it became a type of social currency. (Meizer, 2015) The music orchestra was based on the instruments; guitar, violin, harp and flute and the later incorporation of the piano and the Argentine bandonion (a symbol of tango).  In tango there is a leader and a follow, roles that traditionally have been assigned to the man and the woman respectively (Cecolli, 2013). Although, tango was initially danced between men who alternated roles, so it really is about masculine and feminine energies in communication, no matter the actual gender of the dancers (Cecolli, 2013). Adding to that evidence, “This requires physical awareness and sensitivity, a subtle exchange of mutual understanding through the embrace that literally moves the center of balance from two separate individuals to one-the couple” (Cecolli, 2013), emphasizing the immense exchange that happens between both dancers.

The tango became a world-wide sensation in 1910 when wealthy sons of Argentina shared the dance form with Parisian elite who adamantly fell in love with it (Meier, 2015). Once that happened high class Argentines accepted the tango and it became accepted (Meier, 2015). Attire worn by female dancers were long skirts with slits, that may have had fringe on the bottom and the iconic nylon stockings with high heels that had two straps, one around the ankle and the other down the top of the foot (Meier, 2015). It is customary to wear a flower in the hair if it is a special occasion or show. Male dancers wear silk dress shirts and cuff-less trousers, so the female’s heel will not get caught in the cuff, and dress shoes (Meier, 2015). Imagery of tango dancing that is common to the public, is the woman fallen over with the man holding her tightly, this has multiple meanings such as, that the woman is suddenly in “fallen in love” with the male due to the connection shared, that the woman has been killed by revenge (“she has fallen”) because the male had unrequited love by the female choosing another man over him ([Geobeats], 2011), and lastly for the female brothel worker as her position is society as a “fallen woman” (Meier, 2015).

Argentine tango can be stylized by either an open or closed embrace with the dancers’ chests being closer together than their hips. There are three steps that develop, the lead initiates the dance to begin, the follow takes a step backward, while the lead steps forward. This is evident in the YouTube video of street Argentine tango uploaded by Olivier Frelastre. The movement of the feet of the dancers’ is a brushing of the floor with their feet as one leg passes the other in a counter-clock wise fashion (Meier, 2015). In the video (Frelastre, 2014), the free flow and sustained movement captivates the audience, and held up pin shapes to a gliding dip that changed briefly a wall shape form, makes the dance entertaining to watch.

The power of social dance in history and society cannot be more apparent as they are constantly influencing one another. Each social dance detailed so far has a key similarity that they all are the most authentic when live music is played as the dancers perform. The tango and waltz have the similarity because both dances require a partner, and the way the dancers stand in a close embrace is also the same. As for morris dance and flamenco, they differ from the waltz and tango by one being a group dance and the other a single person dance. A striking similarity between the tango and flamenco is that the origins of the dances are credited to marginalized and impoverished people. Dances across history have caused controversy because the upper class viewed the dance as vulgar and unrefined this is true for the waltz, tango and flamenco, these dances were slowly accepted over time as more people were exposed to it which meant the elite would dance it. A difference between flamenco and tango, is flamenco uses intricate feet stomping variations that change with the music tempo and tango motions of the feet are sustained and utilize a dragging and brushing motion across the floor that also are changing with the timing of the music. The way waltz and morris dance can be compared is that the effort is direct movement with galloping and hopping motions, both dances emulate a feeling of cheerfulness.

The social dances analyzed, the waltz, the tango, flamenco and morris dances have all contributed to society today as they are all remembered to varying degrees. The dances have been informative to the time period each pertains to. The dances provide insight how people viewed the dance and therefor social norms, what was ok to do in public and what viewed as subversive. Reflecting on how society views dance today and many of these dances are not seen in the same bias, it begs the question, what social dance(s) do we in the present day accept and disapprove of.

Reference Page

Aaron1912. (18 July, 2010). The Viennese waltz. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1AkeBpyDsY

Beinghaus, T. (28 April, 2018). Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-flamenco-dance-1007433

Cartagena, A. (n.d.) Module 1. Retrieved from https://riohondo.grtep.com/index.cfm/decipheringdance/page/module1

Cecolli, V. (10 May, 2013). Tango: A feeling that is danced. Retrieved from http://psychologytomorrowmagazine.com/tango-a-feeling-that-is-danced/

Cole, S. (3 January, 2015) Morris Dancing. Retrieved from http://www.britannia.com/wonder/modance.html

Daisly, L. (9 November, 2011). Flamenco dance, Seville, Spain [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNhfV_53W7A

Dancepoise.com. (16 February, 2018). Fascinating facts about flamenco dancing you were not aware of. Retrieved from https://dancepoise.com/flamenco-dance-facts-about-flamenco-dancing-in-spain

Dancetime.com, (n.d.) Waltz dance history. Retrieved from https://www.dancetime.com/dance-styles/waltz/

el Hierro, M. (20 December, 2017). The elegant waltz was once Vienna’s forbidden dance. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/archaeology-and-history/magazine/2017/11-12/history-waltz-dance-vienna/

Frelastre, O. (8 June, 2014). Argentina-Buenos Aires-street Argentine tango. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gcs4LY_ljQk

Geobeats, (11 April, 2011). Tango meaning  dancing. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvCJ-bT1qn0

Ilvagabondo, (15 May, 2012). Flamenco dance by Spanish gypsies part 1. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLFH01qJT3k

Kassing, G. (n.d.). Discovering cultural dance. Retrieved from https://us.humankinetics.com/blogs/excerpt/discovering-cultural-dance

Meier, C. [Carol Meier Narrator-revoeciov] (2015, August 5) Tango its not just a dance-history documentary. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqfyhDeuX0w

Videowl Fine HD Production. (17 June, 2013). The morris dance. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNiCCqxkgvU

 

Michael Jackson Approach To Dance Drama Essay

World-renowned for his influence on the international music and dance scene, Michael Jackson is an iconic figure in the entertainment industry. His talent in being able to fuse his music and dance style together so seamlessly was probably one of the reasons for his booming success as an artist. The transformation and influence that he had brought about in the entertainment industry, dance included, might very well be the greatest legacy that any solo artist had ever left behind.

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Michael Jackson, as great a dancer as he was, had surprisingly no formal dance training throughout his career. He was completely self-taught and worked very much in isolation when it came to perfecting many of his famous dance moves (Beers). He had a strong ability as a child to absorb and imitate what he saw quickly. Lacking a formal education, as Michael went around performing, he learnt by watching. Michael Jackson said that “the greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work” and that was what he did, making the best of his circumstances as a child. He was a perfectionist in many aspects, including dance, spending hours refining his steps and moves till they were flawless before they were presented on stage.
Michael Jackson’s dance style was influenced by a wide range of people and styles, from R&B artists to ballerinas, from jazz to street dances and African-American indigenous styles. He was creative in the way he brought different techniques of various dance forms together, taking whatever he saw and liked in other dances and making them his own (Roy). Eventually, the dance style that became uniquely his spanned a wide range dynamically, from fluid, smooth dance movements to sharp, angular and accented ones. His smooth dance style was visually appealing in that his movements were so connected they just seemed to flow from one to another. At the same time, his signature movements, such as the moonwalk, posed a sense of mystery to the audience as to how it could be done, especially since he seemed to be able to do it so effortlessly. What made the moonwalk so intriguing was that walking, which we are all so familiar with, lifting one foot and putting it in front of the other, could in fact be done without lifting a foot off the ground at all. Perhaps it was the desire of uncovering the “mystery” and mastery of his steps that sparked off so much interest in learning them. At the opposite end of the spectrum was his strong accented style of dancing, like that of the robot dance. The movements were a lot less connected and much more punctuated. His accented style of dancing involved intricate bodywork and precise isolation.
Even with such a range of movements in his dance vocabulary, there was a certain consistency in his dance style: visual appeal. Though many of his movements and lines were angular and not exactly beautiful and sophisticated like ballet was deemed, there was something about them that was captivating. Despite the seeming simplicity in some of his movements, there was a certain groove and swing in his steps, emphasized by his music that made him such an amazing performer. As a result of his talent in both music and dance, his music and dance style complemented each other to bring out the uniqueness of his style that made him stand out as an artist of his time.
Michael Jackson was born with a talented and creative mind. His creation of dance movement was closely intertwined with his creation of music. In his movement creation, he not only goes with the music, in some cases, he goes against the music as well, giving diversity to the fusion of music and dance. He varies his movements and music in terms of rhythm, for example syncopations, or differing emphasis in music and movements. For example, he chooses to do many short and sharp movements during the silence in the music. His accented movements are usually done along with the bass beat of the drums in his music but sometimes, he chooses to leave out certain accents and hit only some of them. On the other hand, sometimes when there are many accents in his music, he chooses to do the opposite with his movements, changing to the smooth style of his dance rather than the accented style. His choreography also catered very aptly to the lyrics and content of his songs, exemplified by the movements that likened to zombies choreographed for the song “Thriller”. This is an example of versatility in his choreography to suit his music and probably was an added factor to success. Such an integration of choreographic movements and music allows the essence of Michael Jackson’s style, both in music and dance, to stand out and complement one another at the same time.
Another element that he incorporated into his music and dance was the element of theatre or drama. In his music videos, he combined song, dance and drama together such that many of his music videos had storylines, almost like a miniature movie or musical, as in “Smooth Criminal”. If it was a live concert, he used over-the-top costuming, massive visual elements and even incorporated acrobatic stunts such as having aerialists in his performances. All these were technically complicated and required much technical support (Jackson). As an artist, Michael Jackson strived for perfection by always pushing the limit of complexity and intricacy in what he did and produced. He worked and created with the aim of wanting his audience to feel a sense of awe and wonder watching his works, live or on film. One of the moves he was best known for, the anti-gravitational lean, was one of the stunt that achieved that aim and was evidence of his strive in his artistry. The uniqueness of his works was in the perfection he desired in every aspect of his art form, music, theatre, dance and acrobatic elements.
Michael Jackson’s approach to dance was a relatively holistic one, he incorporated various diverse elements to enhance the effect of his dance. His career, being a singer, songwriter, dancer and actor, created the platform for him to develop dance, not as an isolated entity but as part of a larger picture that included music, drama and other visual elements.
Its Relation and Impact on Dance
Michael Jackson was one of the pioneers who paved the way for dance on film, introducing the commercialization of dance in the later part of the twentieth century. Though dance had already existed in other films such as “West Side Story” and “Singin’ in the Rain”, Michael Jackson’s music videos markedly pushed dance in film to the next level through the exploration of camera movement and video-editing skills in the developing computer age (Genne 140), along with his extensive use of props, over-the-top costumes and sets as well as dramatic effects. Before Michael Jackson’s music videos, camera movements were limited to a planar view and kept mostly to one level. Michael Jackson’s videos introduced a 3-dimensional view with varying camera movement, along with explorations of different levels. In some of Michael Jackson’s videos, some of the screenshots were pulled as high as a few storeys. The video-editing skills required to produce the dramatic effects that his music videos had were also considerably phenomenal, when put in contrast to what had been produced in the past. These progresses enabled audiences to see a fuller picture of dance on film as it was now less 2-dimensional and somewhat closer to seeing it in real-life.
With the social and political climate of America at that time, street dance had become popular as a form of self-expression. America was still experiencing the aftermath of World War II and undergoing social changes. Advances in civil rights were taking place and African-Americans began to rise in society as the number of black members in Congress increased. Street dance was generally associated with the African-Americans and was an expression of the freedom from discrimination that they were slowly experiencing. Such dances began to appear on film, taking dance beyond the studios and even beyond the streets. As Michael Jackson’s works gained popularity, his music videos added new dimension and development to the existing dance on films as he was an African-American himself and represented not only the rising of the African-American population but also the coming of a new genre of dance on film, street dance or what is now called hip-hop.
In many of Michael Jackson’s dances, he incorporated strong elements of popping and locking, as well as isolation techniques. These have very strong influences on the hip hop genre of dance that we know of today. At that time, when Michael Jackson first commercialized the technique of popping and locking, it was coined the term robot dance and was very popular amongst the audience. The unveiling of Michael Jackson’s robot dance gave new vocabulary to street dance, which eventually gave rise to hip-hop. Hip-hop today has opened up into several different genres such as popping and locking, and break-dancing, all of which still have tinges of Michael Jackson’s influence visible in their styles.
Michael’s success as a musician and singer attributed to his worldwide influence.. The style of his dance complemented his songs so well that these two elements came together as a package for Michael Jackson as he built his image as an artist. This was possible due to his success in commercializing his music videos which included the aspect of dance. His works were so well-received globally and many sought to imitate what Michael Jackson was capable of doing. His works tug at the heartstrings of audiences and convey Michael Jackson’s emotions genuinely through his songs and dance. Moreover, through his years of experience, he recognized what audiences wanted through a performance. “They (referring to the audience) just want wonderful experiences, they want escapism. We want to take them to places they’ve never been before, we want to show them talent like they’ve never seen before.” says Michael Jackson. He realized what his audience wanted and sought to deliver exactly that, setting him apart from the other artists of his time.
 

Isadora Duncan And Modern Dance Drama Essay

During twentieth century, there was a new dance form that was appearing in American, which was modern dance. It was to have a significant influence on the dance education. Modern dance has broken the rule of classical ballet. “The theme of modern dance works might encompass Greek mythology; Ancient or modern poetry or other literary works; American folklore and legendry; major social issues; interpersonal relationships approached psychoanalytically; historical events; or, simply, abstract and lyrical works that had no theme or story line.” (Kraus, Richard. Page, 114) “Modern dance beginning with Isadora Duncan,”(Kraus, Richard. Page, 112) “she believed that dance should come from and be an expression of the spirit, inspired by nature; anything else was stilted and artificial.” (Brown, Jean Morrison. Page, 7)
Isadora Duncan was born in San Francisco, California in 1876. (Foster, Susan Leigh. Page, 116) Her family was artistic, her mother taught music, and young Isadora studied ballet. (Kraus, Richard. Page, 116) According to Richard Kraus, Isadora began to give dancing lessons at an early age. “At the age of eighteen, she left for Chicago;
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then she gave concerts in New York at the Carnegie Hall in Greek vases and statuary.” (Kraus, Richard. Page, 117) However, she soon broke away from the classic dance form, which did not suit her spirit. (Kraus, Richard. Page, 116) “Isadora Duncan proclaimed a new era of dance beginning in 1903.” (Foster, Susan Leigh. Page, 145) Her first appearance in Russia, in 1905, stimulated a controversy between the traditional balletomanes and critics and those who proposed reform of the ballet. (Kraus, Richard. Page, 117) “Duncan’s choreographic vision did not depend as much on an understanding of Greek culture or mythology as on her conception of the Greeks’ ideas about the soul and the body.” (Forster, Susan Leigh. Page, 145) She danced barefoot in simple, Greek tunics and scarves, and threw away the dancer’s costume, such as corsets, tutus, and ballet slippers at that period. Therefore, her performance was not in the sense of characterization and told a story.

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At that time, people took the Greek idea of perfection of body line, the gesture of classical ballet was limited and rigidly, such as feet turn out and arms holding position, controlling legs and turns in the air, or dancing on the pointes. “Duncan reproached the classical ballerina with a false consciousness of the mechanical origin of movement that ballet was not only wrong about the body, it was unsyntactical, noncumulative, each action was an end, and no movement, pose or rhythm was successive or could be made to evolve succeeding action.” (Kracauer, Siegfried. Page, 7) “In nothing does Nature suggest jumps and breaks, there is between all the conditions of life a continuity or flow which the dancer must respect
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in his art, or else become a mannequin-outside nature and without true beauty” (Brown, Jean Morrison. Page, 8)
On the other way, Isadora Duncan’s movement found in nature, such simple action could influence her imagination to created steps. For example, she said: “I was born by the sea, my first idea of movement of the dance, certainly came from the rhythm of the waves.” (Brown, Jean Morrison. Page, 8) The majority of her picture shows, her dance movements were looks like quit simple and without brilliant dance technique, the arms were free flowing and extended, the gesture was freedom and no limited position. “It was more a harmonious plasticity, swinging, swaying, flowing rhythms, with no marked dissonances, no little vibratory movements.” (Constance, Garcia Barrio, Page, 19-22)
Moreover, Duncan’s personal life was almost approach to her dance choreograph. Claiming she did not believe in marriage or monogamy. Duncan brought her feminist consciousness to the dance stage and introduced the soloist performance to dance audiences. For example her solo, “Mother”, “illustrates how the play of idol and fetish becomes activated in the service of an essentialized female role.” (Franko, Mark. Page, 10) “Her efforts to reform the constricted movements of women’s bodies in daily life and in theatrical self-display had meaning both externally for social life and internally for dance history.” (Franko, Mark. Page, 2) “She transferred the idea of a soul in physical form to the syllogism: female body equal to nature, nature equal to dance, therefore: female body equal to dance.”
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(Franko, Mark. Page, 1 0) “Duncan’s dancing presented woman as close to nature, emotion, and the unconscious while also enshrining nature in the solar plexus.” (Franko, Mark. Page, 10)
In my opinion, between ballet and modern dance, except gestures and movements different, there was another difference, which was performance stage. “Palais Royal developed manner of the new Italian theater; it had an elevated stage on which the action took place at one end of the hall beneath a proscenium arch during 16 century.” (Kraus, Richard. Page, 74) We can clearly see that ballet steps almost facing frontal since 16 century. This was easily for dancer only focus on one direction of audience, rather than on three sides of audience. That was why the dancer’s feet and leg became more and more turn out, instead of straight forward. Therefore, the performer separated from the audiences.
On the contrast, the stage of modern dance could set something, sometimes the performer had interactive with audiences, audience could go on the stage, and saw the performer from difference direction. Maybe the dancer of modern dance does not care their back or bum facing to the audiences. “Duncan on stage was notably austere; St. Denis often created opulent sets with sculptures and scenic backdrops to simulate exotic locales like Egypt or India. (Foster, Susan Leigh. Page 148)
In conclusion, Isadora is known as the mother of “modern dance,” not only she found a new form of dance, but she also brought a new idea to dance movements. Her choreograph was expressing an inner feeling about life and without discipline, and
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provide an unlimited imagination space that dancers could find our own style and translate our own feeling and character to dance movement.
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Analysis Of Various Dance Styles Drama Essay

Rumba is the most sensual and most romantic of all Latin dances. It’s a dance that tells a story about love and affection between a male lover and a bashful teasing woman. The Rumba is a slow dance that is said to be the “Grandfather “of the Latin dances and the dance of love. To pull off a great rumba dancers must show a very soft hip. When dancing this dance dancers must never do heels leads all steps are taken using the balls of the feet and the walks should be strong and straight. The original Rumba originated from African slaves during the 16th century but during WW2 another dance known as “The Son” became popular in Cuba it was still the Rumba but slower.
Paso Doble
“Paso Doble” meaning double step in Spanish is the most masculine and dramatic dance of all Latin dances. Traditionally the Paso Doble is about the matador killing the bull in which the man is the matador and the women is either the cape or the bull. This dance is different from other Latin dances because it didn’t come from Latin America it originated from southern France but it is modeled after the drama, movement and sound of the Spanish bullfight, because the dance came from France the steps are in French. In Paso Doble there has to be tension between the dancers and dancers take strong steps forward and include artistic hand movements.

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Samba is a fun, fast and energetic party dance from Brazil’s Rio Carnaval. This dance not like the other ones is made up of different South American dances incorporated into one. It requires a lot of hip action and is meant to look bouncy and effortless. It is the hardest dance of all Latin dances. Samba begun in Brazil in the 19th century and it is performed as a street dance at Brazil’s carnaval. Samba is very popular in Rio and in the United States. It was first introduced in the U.S in 1933. Samba is danced by using the balls of the feet. Many samba dances include a move called Botafogo. The basic step is called a Volta.
Mambo
Sensual, Passionate, fast and all about the hips the Mambo is a fun dance that has Cuban and African rhythms. It originated from the Haitians living in Cuba. Mambo is popular around the world as both a competitive and social dance.
 
 
Waltz
The Waltz is danced all over the world whether in weddings, parties or competitions. It is a very elegant dance that is meant to look effortless and graceful. In Waltz your posture, frame, and foot work have to be excellent to make it look pleasant. Throughout the dance couples must rise, fall, and turn while keeping a closed hold. The character for this dance should be romantic, smooth, and gentle. The word Waltz comes from the German word “Waltzen” which means to turn. The Waltz originated in the 17th century in southern Germany and then became popular in France and England.
Tango
Tango is one of the most intriguing Ballroom dances. It’s a very passionate and very seductive dance. Tango is one of the most common and classic ballroom dances worldwide. Most people that watch the tango get easily confused with the argentine tango. Even though the tango is inspired by the argentine tango they are both completely different dances in which the argentine tango is more passionate and fiery while the tango is a more progressive dance. The Tango originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina in the late 19th Century. The story behind the tango is that the Gauchos would ride their horses all day and later would go to the bar and dance with the ladies and since they hadn’t showered they would usually dance with their faces away from each other.
Foxtrot
The Foxtrot is a very classy and very elegant dance. It is similar to the quickstep but slower. It is one of the most popular ballroom dances in history. It’s known for its smooth style. The foxtrot was developed in the 1920s in the United States. It was invented by American vaudeville actor Harry Fox who performed it with his wife regularly at shows in New York. As a result People fell in love with its smooth movements. In Foxtrot the slow steps are performed with the heel while the quick steps are performed with the toe. The timing in foxtrot is very important.
 
Quickstep
The Quickstep is a fast and happy dance with difficult footwork. It is the fastest ballroom dance but fun and easy to learn. This dance originated in a place that doesn’t exist now-a-days, called Black Bottom in Detroit. During the 1920’s while people danced the foxtrot many bands would play the music too fast for them to keep up and then eventually over time a fast version was formed. Like the Foxtrot Quickstep is elegant. In Quickstep in must include fast kicks, and smooth gliding action. The basic feel of the Quickstep is Slow-Quick-Quick-Slow where the “Quick” is performed on the balls of the feet and the ‘Slow” on the heel. To make this dance look effortless dancers must be light on their feet.
 
The costumes in dancing are as important as the dance. And like the dance the costumes are complex.
If you have the right music and the right choreography but the wrong costume the whole dance is going to look completely off. The costumes should help tell the story of the dance.
Dance costumes have changed so much since the 19th century women’s dresses have gotten shorter, more revealing and are showier. And men’s trousers were more fitted.
The costumes in dancing take a while to design and make as they are so difficult and often have a lot of patterns and sequences. So shows like Dancing with the stars, strictly come dancing and many more usually design their costumes at least 6 months in advanced. Latin and ballroom dance costumes are completely different from each other. Ballroom dance costumes men were tuxedos sometimes with tails and women wear long-mid half dresses because ballroom costumes can’t be flashy but have to be light, long, and not glitzy so it can highlight the story and style of dance. While the Latin dances have to be short, exotic, and glitzy to show how spicy the dance is. For this type of dance women wear short colorful dresses with a lot of sequences and rhinestones while the men wear shirts and trousers.
The make-up is also important. In ballroom is soft but in Latin it’s more dramatic
 
 
 
 

Benefits of Dance for Child Development

Children all have innate abilities to dance, there are many examples of infants dancing you just have to search YouTube. A fun example I found is https://bit.ly/2kh0vdr . This video in particular not only shows the child moving to the music when he hears the change in volume and tempo but also the way in which he reacts when the music volume is lowered and when the song ends. He is beginning to understand the way in which his body can move as well as understand that he is moving for an outcome, in his instance happiness. Dance embodies one of our most primal relationships to the universe, children find it innate and move naturally because it is the beginning before words can be formed and is evoked when thoughts or emotions are too powerful for words to contain, as seen by the boy. Dance is a natural method for learning and a basic form of cultural expression. It is seen that all cultures shape movement with rhythm into a form of dance, it is fundamental that education provides our children with the developing benefits and learning opportunities that are unique to dance to form an artistic understanding of Dance (INDEO, 2019). 

Throughout this essay I will further explore the connections between dance and the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of children as well as how it is placed within the framework for Early Childhood Education and the role that educators play in facilitating the dance opportunities for children.

Dancing supports many areas in a child’s development including academic, social wellbeing and emotional wellbeing. Dance is not only essential for children’s learning but can also be a key tool in helping children who are Gifted and Talented overcome and move past barriers they may face.

Dancing involves body awareness, in order for a child to have good body awareness the brain must receive messages from the senses in order to create a map of the body and understand its relationship to space. This awareness is gained through activities that stimulate the inner ear; balance activities are key to this. Body awareness affects motor development which leads to poor thinking and moving. Children whom which have to concentrate on moving fingers to write their spelling and access to other key learning areas are delayed. Whether or not they understand concepts they will struggle academically in relaying in writing what they know. Body awareness activities support all learning from early childhood and beyond, for a child to learn how to cross their midline is needed in order to learn how to write in Western cultures from their left to right across a page (Roy, Baker & Hamilton, 2019). 

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Lobo and Winsler (2006) explains that the aptitude for children to achieve social goals, engage effectively in complex social interactions, make and maintain friendships, gain entry to social groups and achieve peer acceptance, is an extremely important domain of child development. Peer groups are one of the most important social settings that children are involved in, however, children who don’t have or have very poor social skills are at risk of experiencing a variety of problems throughout childhood and beyond, including rejection, behaviour problems, school failure, and low self-esteem. The preschool, early childhood period is a particularly important time for the development of social skills, at this time in development children begin to develop their social interactions beyond their parents and care givers and take on the task of building relationships and acceptance with their fellow classmates. Dickinson and Poole (1998) (as cited in Lobo & Winsler, 2006) found that creative dance improved children’s co-operation skills, communication skills, their ability to belong to a group (a key aspect of the EYLF), ability to follow and the awareness of others. They suggest that creative dance promotes a connection between children through the sharing of ideas, the physical space and the acceptance of individual differences. This may help young children to be impulsive and creative leading to increased leadership and communication skills. Creative dance enhances social development through enhancing imaginative play and co-operative activities.

Emotion regulation, or the ability to control emotional affect and expression, is a characteristic of social-emotional capability. As children age, they become competent to regulate their own emotions. This ability is in turn associated with improved functioning and ability to adjust over time. Several studies have arisen that focus on the connections between the arts participation and emotion regulation in children (Menzer, 2015). It is seen in Menzer (2015) that toddlers whom have been integrated into an arts program made up of daily music, creative dance, and visual arts showed improvements in positive and negative emotion regulation over the course of the school year compared to others (Brown & Sax, 2013 as cited in Menzel, 2015). Its seen that Infants who participated in a six-month “active” music group with singing and dancing had better outcomes for emotion regulation behaviours than did infants in a six-month “passive” music group just listening to background music.

Dance plays a key role in how many children will learn to use motor skills as well as how to socially and emotionally engage and regulate these skills using dance as an outlet. As well as being able to see how dance can support these areas of development in children, there are many theoretical and philosophical theories in how dance can be implemented successfully into Early Childhood centres and classrooms and the roles in which educators have in the children’s explorations of creative dance.

Sööt & Viskus (2014) states that the pedagogical practice of dance education has, changed considerably, it has habitually followed a “transmission” model to teaching, where the students learn by copying specific movement phrases demonstrated by a skillful teacher. This is unfortunately still the way many teachers feel the most comfortable when teaching dance, although it is now widely accepted that the content knowledge of dance, in order to be transformed for knowledge across other Learning areas needs to involve far more than just dance technique and control. Teachers need a variety of teaching strategies to motivate and engross their students.

As Stinson (1985) states, that Piaget (a key contemporary theorist for dance) splits development of children into four stages the first two being important for Early Childhood educators to understand the abilities of dance. The Sensory-Motor Stage, this stage is from 0-2 years, children become able to explore movement, imitate and invent it, and solve problems using it. Early in infancy, at about one to four months, the child moves just because it feels good.

Piagets next stage is the Pre-Operational Stage, from 2-7 years. Piaget sees that there are significant developmental traits of this age that can impact the teaching of dance during this stage. Egocentrism, the child cannot see the viewpoint of another, rules in the dance setting should be kept to a crucial minimum, and teachers should be supporters as much as facilitators in the class. Centration, the child is unable to see the “whole picture.”, for example a group of children aged 3 cannot form a circle without direction, children of this age struggle to individualise themselves and also picture themselves as a part of a group in a circle at the same time. The child’s inability to use transformation; a child can imitate one position and then another, but the individual will not remember how he or she got the new position, a key aspect in dance when forming patterns and routines. The fourth major obstacle seen by Piaget is the child’s inability to reverse mental operations, which here refers to the inability of doing and undoing, the inability to reverse operations means that at this stage we would not expect the child to be able to follow more than one direction at a time in order to create a pattern of movements.

A pedagogical approach to dance to aid the teacher through these stages is a Holistic approach. Teachers in a holistic dance environment sees the person in its whole, uniting the body and the mind, the curriculum and the community, so that they could address the human as a whole. Gilbert (2005) (as cited in Sööt & Viskus, 2014) states it is important that dance teachers are responsible for student progress as dancers (technique), as dance-makers (creation), and as appreciators of dance as an art form (understanding of dance in society). Children even in the beginnings of dance during Early Childhood need to be introduced not only to the joy of moving one’s body but to also understand how dance can symbolise cultures and the ways in which it can be used to explore their own communities and environments. Holistic dance teachers introduce their personal human design, increasingly more attention must be paid to the human being and to the communication with its surrounding environment, understand one’s role in the process and be ready for change (Sööt & Viskus, 2014).

The role of the educator is to encourage and engage children in creative dance to be immersed into a new form of language that for some children is the only way in which they feel the most comfortable to communicate through. Movement is creative expression and plays an important part in building self-image, self-awareness and self-direction. Educators key role in dance is to remember the child as a whole and not just their body. As previously explained in this essay the educator needs to see the child in its holistic view. The role of the educator is to understand each outcome that the EYLF (DEEWR, 2009) has outlined for the Early Years and know how dance can help each of them to include all children in completing the outcomes. it is essential for teachers to understand the many ways of learning and how they should incorporate them into their teaching as children all learn in a diversity of different ways. It can be seen that the arts can be an effective way to enable to be inclusive and engage all students within the classroom, approaches need to be thoughtful to the outcomes of the lesson and classroom environment just as I have previously outlined by using a holistic approach (B. Roy, Baker & Hamilton, 2019). Learning needs to be student driven to as each individual needs to be understood in their own contexts and worlds in order to enhance their knowledge and understandings. As Bennett (n.d.) explains dance cannot just depict meaning by itself; place, costume and other props need to be present in order to create the ‘atmosphere’ in which creativity and meaning derives the way in which we intemperate the movement. Children need to draw upon many ways of learning to be able to fully immerse themselves within dance and its true abilities to communicate. Each outcome in the EYLF (DEEWR, 2009) involves an aspect that can be explored through dance to have a strong sense of identity one first needs to understand their movements and body, dance enables one to be connected and contribute to their world as they discover and learn about different styles of dance and the cultures they come from. Dance as talked about previously in this essay can give children a strong sense of wellbeing, allow them to be confident involved learners, and be effective (non-verbal) communicators.

 

To sum up this essay Dance allows children to explore all aspects of themselves and their lives, enabling them to understand and have an awareness of themselves, attain social skills control and express themselves emotionally. Dance in embedded into many cultures and normally to relay to others information and knowledge to be passed down, dance at its core enables a form of communication that allows all children the opportunity to learn. Dance is connected to all aspects of a child life from their beginnings of feeling joy to the first movements they make with their arms to non-verbally communicate. A quote from Stein (n.d.) that outlines the sole purpose of dance and all Creative Arts in classrooms, “Children are born Musicians, Dancers, Artists and Storytellers and the opportunities for healthy development are endless. We just have to provide the canvas, the paper, the paints, the materials and the welcoming environment, setting the stage for creativity, learning and fun”.

References

Bennett, K. (n.d.). The Language of Dance. Universidade de Lisboa. 56-67.

DEEWR (2009). Belonging, Being & Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework. Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workforce, 38-44.

INDEO. (2019). Philosophy Underlying the Standards for Dance in Early Childhood. Retrieved from https://www.ndeo.org/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=893257&module_id=55419

Lobo, Y. B., & Winsler, A. (2006). The effects of a creative dance and movement program on the social competence of head start preschoolers. Social Development, 15, 501–519.

Menzer, M. (2015). The Arts in Early Childhood: Social and Emotional Benefits of Arts Participation. National Endowment for the Arts, 1-21.

Roy, D., Baker, W., & Hamilton, A. A. (2019). Chapter 4: Learning in Dance. Teaching the Arts: Early Childhood and Primary Education. (3rd Ed.) (p.94-120). United Kingdom, Cambridge University Press.

Roy, D., Baker, W., & Hamilton, A. B. (2019). Chapter 10-11: Organisation & Diverse Learners, pedagogy and the Arts. Teaching the Arts: Early Childhood and Primary Education. (3rd Ed.) (p.275-334). United Kingdom, Cambridge University Press.

Sööt, A. & Viskus, E. (2014). Contemporary Approaches to Dance Pedagogy – The Challenges of the 21st Century. Procedia – Social and Behavioural Sciences, 112(4), 290-299.

Stein, G. (n.d.). Quote. Retrieved from http://www.fusionkids.com/2015/02/06/quote-for-today/

Stinson, S.W. (1985). Piaget for dance educators: A theoretical study. Dance Research Journal, l7(1), 9-16.

 

Dance In The Curriculum Drama Essay

Dance as a discipline is marginalised in academic discourse as an ephemeral, performance-focused subject, its power articulated through the body. In UK schools it
is a physical subject with an aesthetic gloss, languishing at the bottom of the academic hierarchy, conceptualised as art but located within physical education in the national curriculum (Downing et al, 2003; Brehoney, 2005). Placing additional emphasis on performance at A level also undermines the development of dance studies more widely within a subject hierarchy that places literacy, rather than embodiment, as a key factor of high-status knowledge.

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Beyond the confines of the dance curriculum, these changes illuminate Foucault’s assertions that power and knowledge are interconnected and that power produces knowledge (1979, 1980b). He outlined three core processes for exerting disciplinary power: observation, examination and normalising judgement. Bentham’s Panopticon, a prison with cells constructed around a central tower, demonstrates how discipline and control can be transferred to the prisoners themselves. The inmates are always potentially visible to the guards and so must behave at all times as if they are being watched. They are their own guards, controlled by the gaze: ‘Just a gaze. An inspecting gaze which each individual under its weight will end by interiorizing to the point that he is his own overseer, each individual thus exercising this surveillance over, and against, himself. A superb formula: power exercised continuously and for what turns out to be minimal cost’ (Foucault, 1980b, p. 155). Foucault’s second disciplinary technology, normalisation, is the way in which behaviour can be aligned with society’s standards, to correct what is seen as deviant. The third,
examination, is the combination of the other two and exemplifies ‘power/knowledge’ as it both establishes the truth and controls behaviour. This article illustrates how these processes work in the context of dance in education. Taking into account Foucault’s suggestion that the traditional way of describing power in negative terms as something that ‘excludes’ or ‘represses’ should stop, that it is the productive aspect of power that creates reality, the article explores how dance in education
might be seen as both literate and a physical activity suitable for anyone, and thus to have more power in the twenty-first-century curriculum.
Yet dance is more than just performance: to dismiss it as purely bodies in action is to ignore not only the language of its own structural conventions but also the language in which it might be recorded. Currently there is little indication in school that dance, like music, has its own complex systems of notation. The current discourse of dance in education has normalised it as an illiterate art form and the removal of the notation component at A level has entrenched that perception. Furthermore, the idea that dance studies is solely about ‘beautiful bodies in motion’, the exclusive pursuit of slender, flexible females, is an unhelpful blueprint at a time when there is a need to
encourage more physical activity to combat rising levels of childhood obesity. So if students are not to self-exclude from dance whether on grounds of perceived body type, gender or lack of academic currency, then there needs to be a more inclusive, valued and thus more powerful form of the subject in the curriculum.
Dance in the Curriculum: an overview
Dance developed as a part of public education in the UK during the 1880s when Swedish educator Martina Bergman Osterberg brought Ling’s physical education ideas to London. Physical training
was introduced in 1909 into what were then called elementary schools to improve fitness levels and encourage discipline and cooperation in young men. The dance aspect was perceived as an exclusively female pursuit (Brinson, 1991). Western dance tradition is still strongly associated with the female; as Ferdun points out, ‘the term “dance” is usually associated with girls and feminine qualities by a significant portion of the dominant culture. Labelling dance as female prevents it from functioning fully as an educational medium. It limits participation by anyone, male or female,
who does not want to be associated with stereotyped gender images and practices’ (Ferdun, 1994, p. 46). Whilst dance still remains a part of the PE curriculum, McFee (2004) argues for the distinctive nature of dance as an artistic activity, for its value in the curriculum within an education system that demands accountability. He adopts a personal enquiry view of education which stresses the importance of personal development. Drawing on the work of Lawrence Stenhouse (1975) and David Best (1991), he argues that dance is a ‘suitable medium’ for such an educational endeavour. However, whilst for McFee dance should be treated as an artistic activity that has intrinsic value, the notion of dance being understood in such a way as to make it accountable is at the heart of his text. His emphasis on accountability resonates with arguments around high-status knowledge and with the need for robust assessment in public examinations. Dance can be assessed as a sub-section
of physical education and is also available as a separate subject at GCSE (usually taken age 16 at the end of compulsory education) and at GCE A level (advanced-level subjects, taken two years later, which usually form the basis of university entrance).
Articulating the Power of Dance: Ideology into Practice
Dance requires the development of physical skills just as other sporting activities do, but differs in that technical skill is not the end in itself. That skill must be used to create meaning; its main concern is aesthetic experience. Unsurprisingly, as McFee (2004) points out, many PE teachers have little interest in teaching dance. Not only does it require an understanding of dance technique if it is to embrace ‘masterworks’ – that is, known works in current repertory – but it also has an aesthetic aspect that makes it distinctive. Indeed, when combined with the particularly female orientation of dance, it seems somewhat ironic to place it within a department that is
culturally perceived as masculine and essentially in opposition. But in spite of the implication that to put dance with PE is to fail to emphasise the subject’s aesthetic qualities, the dance as art model has become the predominant way of studying it. And this is a central problem for dance in education: the aesthetic dimension inherent in dance as an art form and expected by the national curriculum, at GCSE and at A level, leads to this subject having no obvious department in which to sit.
All dance examination syllabi in school reflect the dance as art model. As well as having traditional written aspects, GCSE and A level have a practical component, carrying 70% and 55% of the total marks respectively (AQA, 2009). When first examined in 1986, the A-level syllabus required candidates to show ability to choreograph; to perform; to be able to read and use notation; to show knowledge of the constituent form and features of dances and their historical and
social contexts; and, finally, to be able to interpret and evaluate dances (University of London Schools Examination Board, 1986). Changes to the syllabus in 2008 resulted in dropping the notation requirement; they also streamlined the choreographic tasks and placed an added emphasis on health and safety in training and performance. The specification also removed the technical study and instead assesses technical competence through the solo choreography task. The power of the dance itself is examined through students’ ability to analyse the choreographic structure of
masterworks in essay form and to use defined compositional structures in their own choreography. It is also assessed through their ability to perform. The proportion of marks allocated for the practical components at both GCSE and A level reflects the need not only to understand dance in theory but also to use that knowledge in practice. It also points to the centrality of the body as the instrument through which the power of dance is articulated and made accountable through assessment. But examination is, in Foucault’s terms, under the power of the gaze. The gaze, whether on the dance itself or on the wider notion of dance studies in the academic hierarchy, influences what is seen, what is valued, what is deemed to have power. It influences the kind of inspection itself. If literacy is valued in the academy, then how might dance be written, read, considered and ‘interiorised’ under its inspecting gaze?
Dance is a language with its own systems expressed through choreography and performance. The word choreography itself derives from the Greek, choreia, meaning choral dance, and graphia, meaning writing. But if, as Cohan states, ‘dance speaks in a very special language, both to the doer and the watcher. It speaks of things “read between the lines”, things that are impossible to put into words’ (Cohan, 1986, p.10), how can school students articulate those ‘impossible’ qualities, have
the power to express them in a way that is accountable, to use McFee’s (2004) term? Not just toread and write about dance, but to read and write dance itself? Foster states: ‘Literacy in dance begins with seeing, hearing and feeling how the body moves’ (1986, p. 58). From the high culture of classical ballet to the nineties’ revival of Lindy Hop, from contemporary technique to street dance, the dance ‘reader’ must recognise the qualities of those movements, consider their features, remember and identify patterns. The syllabus, whether at GCSE or A level, refers to constituent
features and compositional devices that should be understood, and later ‘read’ in the masterworks studied for the latter. These include movement components (action content, dynamics and spatial arrangement); dancers (numbers, gender, physique, role); physical and aural setting; and the development of dance ideas. Choreographic devices such as motif development, variation and transition are also required.
The cultural perspective
Reading dance is not only about its internal structure, it is also about its place within
culture: it is complex. The reader must understand the ‘choreographic codes and conventions that give the dance its significance’ (Foster, 1986, p. 59). This complexity is reflected in the way choreography is examined, for example, at A level. The written papers ask both for discussion of the component features of a dance, but also to demonstrate how the dance relates to its cultural context. In other words, the papers ask the candidate to be able to ‘read’ the dance in terms of form and context – for example, to understand not only how Christopher Bruce creates the power of
‘Ghost Dances’ (1981) through technical means, but why such a powerful and searing indictment of political oppression, the disappeared of Pinochet’s Chile, was significant. The practical examination calls for the student to ‘write’ dance, to compose both solo and group choreography. The compositional components described above are to be used in this writing. But as Adshead (1986) points out, dance composition, where the elements of dance are put together in a recognisable construction, is only the beginning of choreography. ‘Understanding the
crafting of the piece only takes us so far and while it might in principle be the aspect of choreography most understood, dances are imaginative constructions designed to do far more than string steps together in a neat and tidy way, or even in an untidy conglomeration of movements’ (Adshead, 1986, p. 20). The power of choreography is not just about using form correctly, it is about creating meaning and its effective communication to the audience. Dance in education, then, as examined at GCSE and A level, requires students to ‘read’ dance through understanding its own language of compositional devices, making reference to the cultural context of the practitioners and masterworks studied. There is also the requirement to ‘write’ dance using those same compositional structures, and the solo must reflect the characteristics of a
specific practitioner. Having envisioned and created meaningful artistic relationships derived from knowledge about dance, the student must have the technical skill to realise them in practice. Those qualities have to be conveyed to the observer through the dancer’s instrument, the body. Young observed that ‘it is power, not knowledge, that counts in education’ (Young, 2008, p. 94). And power can be constructed as the power of Foucault’s gaze (Foucault, 1980b). Dance knowledge encapsulated in its internal concepts of literacy may not have status in the eyes of those who have the power to create the curriculum and endorse its values; it has little power as academic
currency. Dance as articulated through the body is similarly problematic: Shilling (2004) develops Bourdieu’s conception of the body as physical capital which needs to be ‘converted’ into other forms in order to have value. But according to Foucault, the body itself has a complex relationship with power.
As former ballerina Jennifer Jackson notes, ‘The focus on the body, as against the person who dances, links standards of perfection to the instrument of the dance rather
than the dancer or the dancing itself’ (Jackson, 2005, p. 32). Dance in education does not immediately appear to share this professional obsession with technical perfection either in the national curriculum or at GCSE and A level. Syllabus documents
make no reference to technical excellence; no statements are given to indicate standards by comparison to technical qualifications. The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) mark scheme for the 2009-10 choreographic section of the GCSE level paper which asks candidates to show ‘appropriate and sensitive use of dancers’ skills and attributes to communicate the dance idea’ (AQA, 2009, p. 4), and my discussions with practical examiners reiterate the notion that dancers are
used to ‘illustrate’ the choreography, that their performance is not assessed, for a choreographer’s skill is, in part, to use what abilities the dancers have. In this view, the body is pushed aside, as if dance can simply be reduced to representation, not embodiment. But this is disingenuous: the power of dance is inevitably mediated through the body and the body cannot be removed from that representation, leaving embodiment and representation in irresolvable tension. A professional choreographer can indeed ‘tailor’ the dance to the strengths of the performers, but those dancers will already be in possession of the docile body created through years of
technique classes. School-level student choreographers creating dances for examination have to work with dancers who might – but equally might not – have technical skill. And so the technical skills of the dancers available to the candidates will affect both their choice of steps and the aesthetics of the performance. As one dance teacher colleague observed, ‘I am sure you could look
at a dance performed by two different candidates and think that one was better because you are more impressed by the performance of one – because she was a better dancer, or slimmer, or more elegant’ Even with the best intentions, it is very difficult to remove the effect caused by a poor performance and a body that does not conform to normalised expectations because the two are so inextricably linked. And so the self-correction of the docile body is not limited to technical excellence but is also
affected by the expected body shape, even at school level. Foucault describes the ideal body of the soldier, the muscular physique and bearing that replaces the ‘peasant’. In dance, as in society, there is an ‘ideal body’ myth, the normalised body
constructed as the aesthetic standard, the object of the observer’s gaze. Following Foucault, Green (2002) describes the ideal body of the female dancer as seen by her student participants, the long legs, the flexible, skinny body with no curves, thin face, long hair. An ideal, constantly striven for, self-policed, ‘light as a feather. Never eat sweets’ (Green, 2002, p. 135), emphasising the sentiments of students and teacher referred to above. The self in the mirror is not checked just for technical accuracy but for any excess fat. The skinny dancer, existing on caffeine and cigarettes, is part of the
dancing myth, if struggled against in reality. But the importance of – indeed obsession with – maintaining the perfect dancing body can lead to a range of eating disorders (Thomas, 1995). Perhaps addressing this concern might be one of the ‘benefits’ referred to in the restructured GCSE specification – that is, an understanding of health and safety in dance. Additionally, seeking to question the objectification of the body can result in a deeper understanding of the nature of dance and of its role in society (Shapiro, 1998, p. 10).
The male professional dancer’s body is more contested, especially within the essentially patriarchal structures of ballet. In the nineteenth century he was caught between two competing discourses: if he looked muscular, strong and vigorous, he appeared too contrasting to the sylphlike ballerina who took the central role. But if he looked too ethereal and aesthetic, anxiety was generated in the theatre-going public through perceived homosexual overtones, a link that still persists whatever the reality. Male dancers in the contemporary idiom are perceived as more masculine than their classical counterparts, in part emphasised through the differences in classical
and contemporary technique and choreographic principles, yet doubts regarding sexual orientation still remain in popular thought (Burt, 2007). The film Billy Elliot, in which Billy struggles to be permitted to dance, illustrates this perfectly: boys should play football or learn boxing – dancing is for girls.
What is more, in theatrical dance, the body is on view – and most frequently a female body – and with it historically, a link with moral laxity. The female body has long been regarded as a source of discord and danger to the patriarchal order, through ‘distraction from knowledge, seduction away from God, capitulation to sexual desire, violence or aggression, failure of will, even death’ (Bordo, 1993, p. 5). Churches preached against social dance on grounds of immorality in the close physical proximity of male and female bodies, whether it was the introduction of the waltz in
Victorian England or the perceived depravity of the tango and Charleston in the 1920s (Brinson, 1991). The theatre itself was the domain of women of questionable morals. Foucault saw the body to be central in the operationalising of power. Since the female body is repressed in a patriarchal culture and cultural representations of it (Fraser & Bartky, 1992) – that is, it is seen as the ‘other’ to be controlled by the male, the relationship between dance and gender is influential in articulating the power of dance. The female body can be seen in terms of competing discourses and social
control. If the power of dance must be expressed through the body, and that body is female (or if male, then with potentially homosexual overtones), then the dance expresses not power but subservience within that patriarchal hierarchy. And in the school curriculum, the body is similarly positioned and manipulated, its realities hidden (Oliver & Lalik, 2001).
Bakhtin (1968) argued that these ‘impure’ meanings around embodiment could be
overturned. Taking the world of medieval and Renaissance carnival as depicted in Rabelais’ novels, he showed how the worldview was upturned, where usual power structures were inverted and the boundaries between what was considered pure or profane could be crossed. The body image itself moved to a celebration of the grotesque but at its extreme – ‘it never presents an individual body; the image consists of orifices and convexities that present another, newly conceived body. It is a
point of transition in a life eternally renewed, the inexhaustible vessel of death and conception’ (Bakhtin, 1968/1984, p. 318). But carnival is transitory: participants can only be temporarily free of Foucault’s disciplinary technologies. In professional dance, the power of the choreography is essentially expressed through performance, and – outside a carnival world view – the lithe, trained dancer is considered uniquely able to interpret the choreographer’s ideas with the docile body.
Dance and the Curriculum 2: Notating Dance
But if in school the choreography is merely to be ‘illuminated’ by the performer, then perhaps an alternative way of dealing with the potential interference from the use of (inadequately) docile bodies would be to ask dance candidates to write down their intentions, to allow the power of their choreographic choices to be examined in isolation from the power of the performing body. The question then arises of how this might be achieved in a curriculum that does not acknowledge the existence of dance notation.
There are two main systems of notating dance, Labanotation and Benesh. Labanotation, devised by the influential dance figure Rudolf Laban, was published in 1928 and is used to record movement across a range of dance styles. Without notation, there is little chance of being able to accurately reproduce the movements; one can only know about the dance and its role within that particular culture. In spite
of its availability, notation was used very little, with a resultant lack of documented dance scores (Redfern, 2007) although the number of scores is now gradually increasing. In the United States, for example, the Dance Notation Bureau, located at the University of Ohio, uses Labanotation to create a record of dance works, so that dance scores can be accessed and used in the same way as music scores. Other institutions in Europe and elsewhere are similarly collating notated dance
works. These works are then available for interpretation, as are other art forms. And, as Redfern (2007) points out, increasing the number of interpretations of an art work increases its stature; the power of the dance can be enhanced by inviting different ‘readings’ of its texts. As well as creating records of dance, notation use can also have learning-outcome implications. Goodman’s (1976) theory of notation suggests that the created score defines a body of knowledge. Warburton (2000) goes on to argue that trying to express that knowledge verbally can be counterproductive because of what he refers to as the ‘ambiguity and redundancy’ of spoken
language. He illustrates this by explaining how the verbal description ‘to glide’ for a ballet step called a ‘glissade’ sets up expectations of the kind of movement to be completed – that ‘gliding overlaps the meanings of travelling and leaping … moreover, to tell the dancer to perform a travelling-leaping-action-that-skims-across-the-floor permits a variety of interpretations’ (Warburton, 2000, p. 195). The anecdote he tells goes on to explore the problems of description and how one particular ballet mistress resolved this by demanding repetition until he performed the step properly – the power of the dance expressed through the body, not through words. But although a dance step is a bodily experience, rarely conceptualised in terms of its component parts,
notation, he asserts, might provide the means for this conceptualisation in a way that language cannot. He concludes that ‘if the goal of dance education is to help dancers increase their abilities to use dance concepts, to “read, write, and dance” dance, then notation-use is a good tool for doing so’ (Warburton, 2000, p. 210), since it enables movement, concept and notation to be linked, which improves learning.
Dance notation has never been a requirement for access to dance courses, whether at degree level or for professional training. Few institutions offered the particular AQA specification in which it appeared, and so many potential students would have been unable to study it. It is available for study in professional training courses at specialist dance schools and also features in some dance degree courses as an option. But at school level, the situation is rather different. From its inception in 1986 until restructured and examined for the first time in its new format in 2009, notation was a
part of A-level dance, both for conveying the technical study to the teachers and their students and also as a separate test. Originally, according to one examiner, it was included at A level, ‘for mainly cultural reasons. Dance has been regarded as an illiterate art for too long. There are few scripts or records of materials, so dance is seen as a time-based art, disadvantaged in comparison with drama or music. We wanted to help bring it into line with the other arts’ (Ridley, 1992, p. 37). Literacy, as
used here, can be defined by the ability to read and write dance scores using either Benesh or Labanotation. At that time, the latter was the dominant choice of candidates; later examiners’ reports note the ability of students in both forms (AQA, 2008).
The first – and rather indirect – test of notation skills at A level was through sending the compulsory technical dance study to centres in notated form. However, unless the students were extremely confident with notation, above the standard required for the exam itself, they were unable to read the complex scores themselves and thus were reliant on their teachers for their choice. This had important repercussions. Perhaps the first classical study might be slow, a piece of adage requiring balance, control and strength, whilst the second might emphasise speed, elevation and intricacy, a piece of allegro. Dancers tend to be more comfortable, and thus more competent,
in one rather than the other. If the teacher decided to teach both studies then candidates would be able to choose their preferred option; if not, then some students would have to learn, perform and be assessed on a technical study which did not reflect their best performing ability. One solution was the option to buy video recordings from the National Resource Centre for Dance at the University of Surrey. However, this raised a further problem: any performance is inevitably an
interpretation of the notation, not the definitive answer. The Resource Centre attempted to minimise this by offering a male and a female interpretation of each piece, but the essential problem remained. Students therefore copied the interpretation when perhaps they could have offered an equally valid, or possibly even better, interpretation from the score itself. The power of the dance as notated and to be interpreted was subsumed into copied technical performance. The specific notation component was also examined practically: students were tested in groups of six, each candidate having a different dance score. They were given sixteen bars of their
chosen notation (either Benesh or Labanotation) to decode and perform. The bars were repeated in performance, to create a thirty-two-bar sequence. Thirty minutes were given in which the notation not only had to be understood but also memorised, then fitted to music and a creditable performance rendered which was itself graded. Candidates had to cope with distraction as well as having to race against the clock: the music was played periodically during the thirty minutes, which was potentially distracting if, at that moment, the individual was not ready to put the steps to
music but was perhaps decoding a specific section. The memorisation aspect also meant that whilst a candidate might be able to read the notation and perform it with score in hand, marks would be lost if they could not perform it accurately without the score. If notation is a tool of dance, a way of recording movement, then memorisation and performance can hardly be a fair test of the ability to read it. One could read a poem for a test, but just because those lines were not remembered accurately would not be a reason to assume the person could not read. This memorisation aspect
shifted the emphasis from reading the notation to one of demonstrating that understanding by way of perfected performance. The task was not a straightforward test of notation literacy but rather one of memorisation demonstrated through bodily skill. The power of dance was once again articulated through the performing body.
Nevertheless, successive examiners’ reports throughout this period indicated the increasing familiarity of students with notated scores, and hence an increasing ability to cope with them. For example, in 2008, the report noted: ‘As stated in previous years, some candidates are to be congratulated on their achievements. It was pleasing to see a number of candidates dance the whole 32-bar score and gain high marks in this component of the Unit 5 examination. This continues to be a positive progression over the past couple of years, indicating an increasing confidence in preparing reconstruction skills’ (AQA, 2008, p. 4). Yet the restructured 2009 A level removed the examined notation component completely. AQA suggested a ‘summary of benefits’ of the new syllabus, which included encouraging critical engagement with dance as an art form, providing a suitable foundation for pursuing dance in higher education, providing experience of choreography and performance, and, finally, encouraging a healthy lifestyle (AQA, 2008). However, according to the National Dance Teachers Association (NTDA), the notation component was dropped because AQA was concerned about the ability of teachers to deal with this aspect of the course. ‘Too few teachers were able to teach notation to a high enough standard and … examiners had seen too many crying candidates attempting the notation part of unit five. It seems that we as teachers have failed to meet the standards required to deliver this part of the course successfully’ (NDTA, 2008, p. 13). Those teachers trained to use the system acknowledged the difficulties it posed, but nevertheless the outcome can only be seen as a retrograde step. Rather than calling for an improvement in teaching standards, this significant aspect of dance scholarship was dropped. The gaze of the literate hierarchy was rejected, not interiorised. So whilst schoolchildren may routinely be expected to understand that music has its own form of language –
that is, music notation – there is no such expectation for dance; dance in schools is taught as if it were an ‘illiterate’ art form – that is, as if its notation does not exist. An unfortunate effect of this is, as Redfern (2007) points out, that ‘a lack of interest in dance scores is perhaps what makes for, or at least reinforces, the tendency to concentrate on performance rather than the work; and this absence of a tradition of studying a dance script in the way that it is imperative for musicians or actors to study their scores or texts means that relatively little has been expected or demanded of
the dancer in respect of interpretational ability’ (Redfern, 2007, p. 197). Notation is thus important for the development of dance studies. It allows dance works to be
recorded and studied other than during the performance itself, giving dance a language equivalent to music. It can also enhance learning. But reading and interpreting through notated scores (however unskilled) is no longer a possibility at school level, and whilst writing scores was expected only at a very basic level, this too has gone. In addition, complex and analytical notation gives academic weight to a subject so often seen as unsuitable for serious study. It is also assessable in a
way in which the more ephemeral aspects of the subject are not. The absence of notation at A level cannot help but reinforce
 

A Review of The Fall Dance Concert

The performance that was observed was not lively as evidenced by the various features. The performance did not make most of the people in the audience to scream. Even the crowd was not cheerful as the performance went on and it showed that the crowd was not moved by the performance. However the dancers looked organized from the way they were entering the stage. I expected a more lively performance that could ignite the audience from the beginning to the end.

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This piece had both men and women with different costumes that also differentiated them. The dance had a total of five dancers and they were dancing to some sort of soul music beats. The music lacked vocals. The stage was brightly lit such that the movement of each dancer could be noticed easily. The color of the costumes could easily be differentiated. The dancers had good costumes with the men having blue trousers and black tops. This made a common costume for the two gentlemen. The ladies costumes were not similar as in the case of the men. They wore shorts of different colors one with white and the other two with black .The ladies top costumes were sleeveless and off different colors for instance yellow light blue and violet. The theme that ran throughout the dance was acrobatic in outlook or some dance competition. From the type of song that was chosen to the costumes and the movements, the dancers express some sort of acrobatic presentation that can entertain the audience. This is a typical dance for music and drama festival events where the dancers are competing against other participants. This has been articulated by the nature of their costumes and the coordinated moves that were being made by the male and female dancers. Such a dance can be compared to the TV show dances that bring out talents in dancing. Movement such as the downward spin has become very common amongst the young dancers. The costume is also typical of the mode of dressing that has characterized TV competition dances.
The movements of the dances were unique and uniformed. Both the men and women were making similar movements with their bodies. The up movements with legs apart was very common followed by the downward spins that were well executed by both men and women dancers.
From my evaluation, the dance was well executed and the dancers had mastered their movements. They were all going with the same rhythm during the dance. The costumes of the ladies however could have been matched in a better way. As evidenced in the dance, their movements are an illustration of common choreographic movements that have become common in competitions today.
Incline
The dance had a total of ten dancers who participated in pairs of two. The stage was not lit well and it was difficult to see the faces of the dancers but their movements could be seen. The costumes of the dance were characterized with official wear consisting of shirts and long trousers for the male dancers. The color was dominated by black and white. There was no uniform color in the costumes of the dancers. This was of a formal dance with invited guest. There were different shades of color both in the male and female costume. The lady dancers were dressed in red and white dresses with a wide conical base. The dancers were responding to the classical music that was being enjoyed by most of them. The dance was rather slow and smooth with the male dances holding the female dancers and turning them round. The theme that dominates the entire dance is that of partying or some sort of celebration. This has been depicted by the nature of their costumes. The dancers seemed to be in a partying mood. For instance this is typical of marriage celebration dances with partners holding each other and turning around to the slow and smooth music from the background.
The movements that were being made by the dancers were not coordinated as in the case of competition dancers. Particularly, the male dancers seemed to be relaxed and did not make much movement without the lady dancers. At some instances the male dancer was observed holding the female ones suspended in the air. This is a very common style of dancing for party dances and has featured in the dance. Such a style has been observed quite often in the TV and in movies. Mostly in the soap operas, the dancing style is common during party and celebration scenes.
In my evaluation I can point out that the dance was well executed. The movements of the dancers seemed to be right although the male dancers were almost appearing stationary. Most of the movements are done by the lady dancers. The costume was ok considering that the dance might not be for competition but rather for religious or other celebration. Even though the dancers were not consistently in the rhythm of the classical music, they have depicted good movements such as the rotations that make the dance livelier. The dance was simple and can even be perfumed by the older people. However what can be looked into in the costumes in the color choice that seemed not to be reflecting consistency especially with one dancer in red and others in white and black costumes.
Overall I did not enjoy the dance to the fullest, though it was a bit entertaining with some of the unique movements depicted. The music played was not my favorite hence it determined my attitude towards the dance. This is definitely not what I expected in the concert because I did not witness the dancers swing to my favorite tunes. To make it worse, in the first dance, there were just beats only and no vocals. The concert is a reflection of what has been covered in the lectures specifically on the part of costumes, music and the theme. From the lectures it has been possible to make an interpretation about the themes that are portrayed by the two dances in the concert.