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Dance Around The World Essay

1497 words - 6 pages

Dance Around the World

Dance serves as an exposure of expression throughout the world depending on its cultural context and function of either producing a work of art, a way of socializing or its use for ritualistic purposes. Bollywood, one of the most famous styles of cultural dance, in essence is an Indian film dance style modeled on both the traditional Indian classical and folk dance while fusing inspiration from more modern styles, allows the performer to act out the lyrics of a song, fashioning a story. The wild world of African dance on the other hand, represents the fundamentals and belief system of historical Africa, by moving in an expression to their inner feelings. Although these styles of dance may seem to be at either end of the spectrum, each share the similarity of a “mass pattern of dance which may hold a mirror to humanity…functionally allowing the human body to be exposed to the world, communicating in every aspect, whether it is the magnificent art form or the daily movement” (Doris Humphrey). Through analysis and interpretation of both the non-movement and movement components, while examining the function of dance which is present in each cultural art form, the similarities and differences of how they create meaning through dance will be exposed.

African dance provides numerous ways for people to emerge themselves into dance unprofessionally due to its function of being not only social but also historical and ritualistic. By utilizing dance as a way to connect the African community back to their ancestry and nature, each element that formulates each performance is deeply imbedded with meaning and symbols, reflecting back to the traditional lifestyle (Theophile, 2012). In saying so, one of the most important tenets of a traditional African society, is the sense of socializing within the community, thus making dance a fundamental way of expressing certain ideas about important experiences such as births or solemn situations. By “holding a mirror to humanity” (Doris Humphrey) each dance often forms a reflection, on not only the culture but also the communities hierarchical nature. Consequently, by incorporating the community’s way of life within the theme of connection and community, the African dance style allows one to communicate meaning via social express.

An example of a traditional African dance that brings a community together while still maintaining the cultural context is the Adzogbo. The men prior to the departure to enter into combat originally performed this ancestral war dance, indicating strength, grace and agility of African warriors. In order to incorporate the theme of community while still maintaining a strong cultural meaning, this dance is still performed in the same manner, only by men travelling in a circle with movements that resemble scenes of a battlefield (such as throwing a spear). Each locomotor movement, especially stamping, jumping and sliding, is emphasized due to the fast, strong and sharp...

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