You hear some catchy music. Your foot starts tapping. Your fingers start snapping. Soon your whole body wants to move. What’s going on here? Certain types of music just seem to call for movement. People around the world have used dance for thousands of years to express thoughts and ideas. Dance can tell stories or it can celebrate something, such as independence, spring or a good harvest.
In some cultures, dance is a way of thanking the gods or asking for fortune and prosperity. People dance at weddings, and sometimes even at funerals. Costumes are almost always an important part of dance, and some dancers wear unusual masks or face painting too.
- Bharata Natyam is a traditional Indian dance that has been passed down for centuries. Women perform the dance in tribute to the gods.
- The polka is a lively dance that originated in Central Europe.
- Ballet originated in Italy during the 1500s. This beautiful dance form is used to tell stories, such as “The Nutcracker” or “Swan Lake.”
- Capoiera is an exciting, athletic Brazilian dance that combines dance with martial arts. Traditional Irish stepdancing involves fast, high steps and bright costumes.
- Fortune: good luck
- Prosperity: abundant wealth, food and health
- Express: share, communicate
Question: Where do modern dances like break dancing come from?
Answer: Dance is always changing. People add new steps and ideas from other cultures. Break dancing started in New York City in the 1970s with African American and Puerto Rican teenagers.