Unique and interesting dance styles from around the world

As Martha Graham once said ‘Dance is the hidden language of the body and of the soul” and while I completely agree as verbal languages change with country so too does the language of the body and soul. So here we will look at some examples of particularly flamboyant and unusual examples of how people express themselves through the art of dance.

Capoeira (Brazil)

Capoeira is a fusion of a kind of martial art and an energetic and highly acrobatic dance, born from the trouble and strife in Brazils history and was first concived as a means of survival for escaped slaves, who may have had to fight to escape their pursuers.  Its practical use was so effective that the Portuguese authorities tried to suppress and ultimately ban the practice to no avail. Today it is primarily just used as an entertaining and exhilarating dance and is performed as a reminder and legacy of Brazils history.

Bharata Natyam (Southern India)

This colorful and vibrant dance form is considered a way of uniting the community and providing social interaction for individuals while also praising and thanking the Hindu gods from which this dance is derived. Bharata Natyam was born from the ancient and venerated Hindu book of the performing arts called “Natya Shastra” and the earliest records of its performance stretch back as far as 500BCE. The dance has many different stages which all have a unique meaning . It is a performance piece that  requires a performace group made up of musicians, singers and most importantly one solo female dancer.

Polka (Europe)

The Polka dance has its roots European folk music and was actually attributed to one woman Anne Slezáková who on one occasion happened to dance a certain way to a popular song of the time. It then spread throughout most of eastern Europe and then into the USA with the advent of eastern European migrants in the 20th Century. Traditionally performed as a large group of friends and family at special occasions it has now become something of a legacy tradition of the descendants European migrants.

Lion Dance (China)

The Lion Dance has been a staple of Chinese Culture for thousands of years, traditionally being performed at weddings, Funerals and New Year celebrations. Rather like the famous Dragon Dance a Lion costume is operated by two people and a dance routine mimicking and enacting the movments of the lion is performed, The difference being that the Dragon must be operated by many people and is held up on poles allowing faces to be seen underneath, the Lion costume is exclusively operated by two and is an all encompassing costume which hides the face.  The practice has also spread to many other Asian and South East Asian nations including Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Vietnam.

I think what Martha Graham said about dance being the language of the body was very poignant and it goes to show that as you change borders you discover a world of culture completely alien to your own. And dance is probably the most visually expressive of them all. To explore the world of dance please check out sydney dance lessons.