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DANCE Chapter 10 The Humanities through the Arts

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1 DANCE Chapter 10 The Humanities through the Arts
F. David Martin and Lee A. Jacobus

2 Dance is rhythmic Dance – moving bodies shaping space- shares 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.

3 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.

4 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.

5 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.

6 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.

7 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.

8 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:

9 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.

10 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.

11 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.

12 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.

13 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.

14 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.

15 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.

16 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).

17 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.

18 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.

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.

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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