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DANCE

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DANCE
Chapter 10
The Humanities through the Arts
F. David Martin and Lee A. Jacobus
Dance is rhythmic
• Dance – moving bodies shaping spaceshares common ground with kinetic
sculpture.
• In abstract dance the center of interest is
upon visual patterns, and there is common
ground with abstract painting.
• Dance has common ground with drama,
music.
Subject Matter of Dance
• At its most basic level the subject matter of
dance is abstract motion.
• The medium of the dance is the human
body whose movements produce
sympathetic “movements” in the audience.
Subject Matter of Dance
• Our instinctive ability to identify with other
human bodies is so strong that the
perception of feelings exhibited by the
dancer often evokes something of those
feelings in ourselves.
• The choreographer, creator of the dance,
interprets those feelings.
Subject Matter of Dance
• If we participate, we may understand
those feelings and ourselves with greater
insight.
• State of mind are a further dimension that
may be the subject matter of dance.
• Feelings, of pleasure and pain are
relatively transient, but state of mind
involve attitudes, tendencies that
engender certain feelings.
Form
• The subject matter of dance can be
moving visual patterns, feelings, states of
mind, narrative, or various combinations of
these.
• The form of the dance – its details and
structure – gives us insight into the subject
matter.
Dance and Ritual
• Since the only requirement for dance is a
body in motion and since all cultures have
this basic requirement,
• Dance probably precedes all other arts.
• In this sense dance comes first.
Dance and Ritual
• And when it comes first, it is usually
connected to a ritual that demands careful
execution of movements in precise ways
to achieve a precise goal.
• A favorite shape for the dance is that of
the spiral nautilus, so often seen in shells,
plants, and insects:
INDIAN DANCE
• Some of the most complex and exquisite
dances performed in the world originated
in India.
• Like ballet dancers, Indian dancers follow
set movements, with complex finger and
hand movements, all have significance.
• There are 28 hand gestures called mudras
and the can be combined to produce 800
distinctive meanings.
THE ZUNI RAIN DANCE
• The pattern of the dance is not circular but
a modified spiral.
• The properly costumed dancers form a
line, led by a priest; who spreads cornmeal
on the ground symbolizing his wish for
fertility of the ground.
• The gestures of the dancers, like the
gestures in most rituals, have definite
meanings and functions.
SOCIAL DANCE
• Social dance is not theatrical or artistic, as
are ballet and modern dance.
• Folk and court dances are done simply for
the pleasure of the dance.
• Social dance is not dominated by religious
or practical purposes
• Although it may serve as meeting people
or working off excess energy.
COUNTRY AND FOLK DANCE
• Country dance is a species of folk dance
that has traces of ancient origins
• Because country people tended to perform
dances in specific relationship to special
periods in the agricultural year,
• Such as planting and harvesting.
• Folk dances are the dances of the people
whether ethnic or regional in origin they
are often very carefully preserved.
THE COURT DANCE
• The court dances of the Middle Ages and
Renaissance developed into more stylized
and less openly energetic modes than the
folk dance
• For the court dance was performed by a
different sort of person and served a
different purpose.
• Participating in court dances signified high
social status.
BALLET
• The origins of ballet usually are traced to
the early 17th century when dancers
performed interludes between scenes of
an opera.
• Today there is a vocabulary of movements
that all ballet dancers must learn
• Since these movements constitute the
fundamental elements of every ballet.
BALLET
• They are as important as the keys and
scales in music,
• The vocabulary of tones constantly
employed in most musical composition
shows a number of the more important
ballet positions.
SWAN LAKE
• One of the most popular ballets of all times
is Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake composed
from 1871 to 1877 and first performed in
1894 and 1895 (complete).
MODERN DANCE
• The origins of modern dance are usually traced
to the American dancers Isadora Duncan and
Ruth St. Denis.
• They rebelled against the stylization of ballet,
with ballerinas dancing on their toes and
executing the same basic movements in every
performance.
• Duncan insisted on natural movement, often
dancing in bare feet that showed her body and
legs in motion.
MODERN DANCE
• The developers of modern dance who
followed Duncan built on her legacy.
• In her insistence on freedom with respect
to clothes and conventions, she infused
energy into the dance that no one had
ever seen before.
• Her movements tended to be ongoing and
rarely can to a complete rest.
ALVIN AILEY’S REVELATIONS
• One of the classics of modern dance is
Alvin Ailey’s Revelations, based largely on
African American spirituals and
experience.
• Some of the success of Revelations stems
from Ailey’s choice of the deeply felt music
of the spirituals to which the dancers’
movements are closely attuned.
ALVIN AILEY’S REVELATIONS
• Music, unless it is program music, is not,
strictly speaking a pretext for a dance, but
there is a perceptible connection between,
• the rhythmic characteristics of a given
music and a dance composed in such a
way as to take advantage of those
characteristics.
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