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