Folk, ethnic and ceremonial dances are performed at social functions, generally by people with little or no professional training, often to traditional music or music based on traditional music.
New dancers usually learn informally by observing others and/or receiving help from others.
Folk dances are not generally meant for public performance or the stage, although traditional folk dances have been arranged and set for stage performances. Many folk dances, such as the waltz, have evolved into ballroom dances.
Did you know that clogging, the official state dance of Kentucky and North Carolina, gave birth to tap dancing? The evolution to tap dancing seems clear - but the suprise to me was the connection to the Industrial Revolution. Workers in the new textile mills preferred to wear wooden clogs because the floors were kept wet in order to keep down the air borne lint - and then it it surmissed that the wooden clogs made noises similiar to the rhythm of the looms and ... ta-dah - a new dance.
Belly Dancing, featuring hip movement by an independent solo dancer, is the western term for traditional Middle Eastern and North African dances, known as ciftetelli, a Greco-Turkish name, or the raqs sharqi (Arabic).
Instruction and costumes for learning belly dancing are available online.
Maypole dance is a folk dance performed as dancers circle a decorated pole, or twine a pole with garlands and ribbons. It is thought that the roots of the maypole may go back to ancient fertility symbolism, thus creating controversy at various times in history.
Flamenco music and dance are native to many regions of Spain; Gypsy, Byzantine, Sephardic and Moorish elements have often been cited as influences to Flamenco. The dance includes handclaps, taps on shoes and the use of castanets.
Cecil James Sharp, a musician and composer, documented the traditional English folk songs and dances in the early 20th century. He and Maud Karpeles (1885-1976) also traveled to remote areas of the southern Appalachian Mountains to document folk music brought by early English and Scottish settlers; Karpeles later visited Newfoundland for the same purpose.
Igor Moiseyev was a choreographer of “character dance”, a style similar to folk dance but with more professionalism and theatrics for the Theatre of Folk Art. One of Moiseyev's choreographed dances is known as the Bulba (potato), based on Belarusian folk dance moves, became the national dance of Belarus.
Moiseyev was a graduate of the Bolshoi Theatre ballet school in 1924.
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