After we’ve talked about photographers, 100-year-old legends, opera plays, and Chinese instruments, today we’re presenting you the top 7 most famous dances in the world. We’ve comprised the subcategories in their respective parent category to help you understand where it’s all rooted. As a musician, your personal mission should be to continuously educate yourself on related topics. You never know when you’ll find yourself at an event where a dance unknown to you is performed and you can’t keep a conversation because of your weak general knowledge. As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
7. Pop Locking
Popping is a street dance whereas Locking is a funk dance. They’re two different styles. The blend between is called pop-locking or popping and locking. Both come from the Golden State with the first originating in the mid-1970s in Oakland and the second in the 1960s in Los Angeles. Animation, Boogaloo, and Tutting are all variations of Popping.
6. Belly Dance
Arabic nations prefer calling it Oriental Dancing. Originating in Egypt, belly dancers are thought to have come to Europe, and more specifically Spain, from Lebanon in the time of the Phoenicians (11th Century BC to 5th Century BC). The torso and hip movements are no easy feat and take from several months to years to perfect.
5. Indian Folk
With about 40 variations to it, Indian Folk dances are hugely popular throughout the world and while the steps are simple, they usually convey specific symbolism behind them and are performed regularly to celebrate new seasons, childbirth, weddings, festivals, and other social occasions. The oldest variation, Odissi, is thought to have originated all the way back to 500 BC.
Dating back to the early 1970s, breakdancing swiftly gained masses of fans first in United States then worldwide. However… the origins of it are unclear as historical data points to even older traces such as John MacGregor’s 1877 book ‘Rob Roy on the Baltic’, Thomas Edison filming Walter Wilkins perform a breakdown in 1894, and a local development in Kaduna, Nigeria in 1959.
Based on partner dancing, ballroom actually comes from a rather elitist culture. The rich and privileged got together to engage in these social dances while leaving the folk dances to the masses. The earliest writings that attest to the incipient phases of ballroom date back to 1588 when Jehan Tabourot published Orchésographie, a study of late 16th-century French renaissance social dance. As you surely know, the variations are wide, numerous, and enjoyed in present-day both at social gatherings and competitions. Top famous ballroom dances: waltz, tango, salsa, cha-cha.
2. Tap Dance
In case you didn’t know, tap dancers have metal pieces attached to both the heel and toe of shoes so that upon hitting the ground it creates a percussion sound. They’re just as much musicians as they’re dancers by definition. There are several variations of tap dance with jazz being the top famous one. Its history dates back to the mid-1800s during the rise of minstrel shows in US. Yup, racist entertainment. Thankfully with the dissolution of racism and stereotypes, many black entertainers went to become worldwide tap dancing phenomenon.
Like ballroom, ballet commenced its worldwide influence during Rennaisance in the 15th century. While highly regarded as the top-of-the-food-chain form of entertainment in Russia for example, in Europe and the US, contemporary ballet and neoclassical ballet are much more predominant. The latter draws on the advanced technique of 19th-century Russian Imperial dance, but strips it of its detailed narrative and heavy theatrical setting while retaining many key techniques, such as pointe technique.
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