Dance through the decades - History of Dance

Celebrating International Dance Day Through The History of Dance

By Move Dance on 29th Apr 2024

This year for International Dance Day we are delving deep into the history of dance. The history of dance is as old as human civilization, with evidence of dance rituals dating back to prehistoric times! Dance has been an integral part of various cultures around the world, serving religious, social, and artistic purposes. Here's a brief timeline of the history of dance:

Where it all began:

The history of dance starts with the Egyptians, Archaeologists have discovered paintings of dancing figures in rock shelters and caves so the first dancers were Egyptians! It was likely performed as part of religious ceremonies or as a means of communicating with the divine. These dances were often accompanied by chanting & drumming. In Ancient civilizations such Egypt, Greece, and India, dance was elevated to an art form. It was here that dance developed into more specific movements with costumes and music.

The Renaissance:

During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in Europe, dance went through big changes. Courtly dances like the pavane and galliard became popular among the nobility, while folk dances thrived among the common people. Dance manuals and treatises were written, documenting various dance forms and etiquette.

Ballet comes into the picture:

Ballet can be traced back to the Renaissance courts of the 15th and 16th centuries,, but didn’t become popular until around 1500. It evolved further in the French courts during the reign of Louis XIV, who established the Royal Academy of Dance in 1661. Ballet became increasingly codified with specific techniques, positions, and choreographic conventions. Ballet is believed to be the main core of every dance style, yes even hip-hop!

The development of Contemporary Dance:

Contemporary dance is a style that combines jazz, ballet, and modern dance. It's said that the first ever contemporary choreographer was Merce Cunningham. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, artists began to rebel against the strict conventions of classical ballet, leading to the start of modern and contemporary dance forms. Dane pioneers like Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, and Merce Cunningham experimented with new movements, music, and themes, breaking away from traditional balletic vocabulary. It is popular among the competitive dance scene today.

Street Dance and Hip-Hop:

Hip-hop dance made an entrance in the 1970s. Urban youth culture gave rise to street dance forms such as breakdancing, popping, and locking. These dances originated primarily in African American and Latino communities and became popularized through music videos, films, and competitions. Hip-hop involves sharp movements.

We hope you enjoyed our brief explanation of the history of dance and learned a few new things about the history of dance. We hope you have a great International Dance Day! To learn more about dance head over to our dancer help page.

Treat yourself for international dance day with some of our stunning dance leotards, dance shoes and dance costumes

The Move Dance Team xx