Dance is a type of art that generally involves movement of the body, often rhythmic and to music. It is performed in many cultures as a form of emotional expression, social interaction, or exercise, in a spiritual or performance setting, and is sometimes used to express ideas or tell a story. Dance may also be regarded as a form of nonverbal communication between humans or other animals, as in bee dances and behaviour patterns such as a mating dances. Definitions of what constitutes dance can depend on social and cultural norms andaesthetic, artistic and moral sensibilities. Definitions may range from functional movement (such as folk dance) to virtuoso techniques such as ballet. Martial arts kataare often compared to dances, and sports such as gymnastics, figure skating andsynchronized swimming are generally thought to incorporate dance. In some cases, themotion of ordinarily inanimate objects may be described as dance (the leaves danced in the wind). There are many styles and genres of dance. African dance is interpretative. Ballet,ballroom and tango are classical dance styles. Square dance and electric slide are forms of step dance, and breakdancing is a type of street dance. Dance can beparticipatory, social, or performed for an audience. It can also be ceremonial,competitive or erotic. Dance movements may be without significance in themselves, as in ballet or European folk dance, or have a gestural vocabulary or symbolic meaning as in some Asian dances. Choreography is the art of creating dances. The person who creates (i.e., choreographs) a dance is known as the choreographer.
Ballet is a type of performance dance that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century and later developed into a concert dance form in France and Russia. It has since become a widespread, highly technical form of dance with its own vocabulary. It has been globally influential and has defined the foundational techniques used in many other dance genres. Ballet may also refer to a ballet dance work, which consists of thechoreography and music for a ballet production. A well-known example of this is The Nutcracker, a two-act ballet that was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a music score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Stylistic variations have emerged and evolved since the Italian Renaissance. Early variations are primarily associated with geographic origin. Examples of this are Russian ballet, French ballet, and Italian ballet. Later variations include contemporary ballet and neoclassical ballet. Perhaps the most widely known and performed ballet style is late Romantic ballet (or Ballet Blanc), which is a classical style that focuses on female dancers and features pointe work, flowing and precise acrobatic movements, and often presents the female dancers in traditional, short white French tutus. Ballet dance works (ballets) are choreographed and performed by trained artists, and often performed with classical music accompaniment. Early ballets preceded the invention of theproscenium stage and were performed in large chambers with the audience seated on tiers or galleries on three sides of the dance floor. Modern ballets may include mime and acting, and are usually set to music (typically orchestral but occasionally vocal). Ballet requires years of training to learn and master, and much practice to retain proficiency. It has been taught in ballet schools around the world, which have historically used their own cultures to evolve the art. Ballet is the foundation of many types of dance.
The word ballet comes from the French and was borrowed into English around 1630. The French word in turn has its origin in Italianballetto, a diminutive of ballo (dance) which comes from Latin ballo, ballare, meaning "to...