Dance has been a part of human history since the earliest records of human life. Cave paintings found in Spain and France dating from 30,000 -10,000 BC. have vivid drawings of dancing figures in association with ritual illustrating the pesents of dance in early human society. Many people around the world see life as a dance from the movements of the heavens and the turn of the seasons to the unique dance of every creature. The history of dance reflects the changes in the way people see the world, relate to their bodies and experience the cycles of life. In India among the Hindus, the Creator is a dancer who dances the world through the cycles of birth, death and rebirth. In the early churches of Europe, Christian worship included dance while at other times in western history dancing was outlawed and banned.
In Ancient Egypt, ceremonial dances were enacted by the pharaohs as a dancing priest- king representing his people. These dances, culminating in ceremonies representing the death and rebirth of the god Osiris became more and more complex until ultimately they could only be performed by a highly valued professional class of dancers. In Ancient Greece, Egyptian dance influences were carried over by Greek philosophers who went to Egypt for general study.
The dance rituals of the Gods and Goddesses of the Greek pantheon are recognized as the origins of contemporary Western theater. Around Dionysus, the god of transformation and generation celebrated through wine, grew a cult of primarily of women followers known as the maenads who worshiped with captivating dance. These dances eventually evolved to include praise songs and myths that were enacted by trained dancers and actors. By the end of the 5th century BC, these dance dramas were part of entertainment and provided social and political commentary on the times.
Amongst the Romans, dance waxed and waned in acceptance by the powers that ruled. Until 200 BC, dance brought life to Roman processions, festivals and celebrations. However, in 150 BC all of the dancing schools were closed as Roman nobility considered dance as suspicious and even dangerous activity of the masses.
Dancing has come a long way since ancient times. But there are still some similarities. When people thought up these dances they were trying to express themselves, their emotions, their problems and beliefs. Today we do the same thing. We make up dances according to our attitudes, beliefs, thoughts and feelings. The future will also contain dances that will reflect that society.
There are many different kinds of dances. There is ballet, line dancing, slow dancing, the list goes on and on. Some of these dances are slow. Some of them are fast. They all use different type of instruments. Each dance representing a time, an event, an expression or feeling. Each dance expressing something different.
Dances will never die. They are too interconnected in the world’s society. They will live. They will show the generations ahead what the “ancient 90s” were like. Through dance our culture and society will be remembered to the end of time.