Why is the study of dance history important?
To fully understand the history of dance we must look at what dance means to us today in our every day lives. How does dance influence what you do on a day to day basis, how has it shaped who you’ve come to be. I see dance today as both an art form, and something used socially to draw people together usually for celebratory purposes. Living in New York gives you the opportunity to come across various forms of dance. You could be taking the train and encounter break dancers giving you a performance, expressing themselves in order to survive. You could go to virtually any park in the city and encounter spontaneous dance shows of people showcasing their talents to the public. You also run into many informal versions of dance that still allow people a form of expression indoors, whether its at a party, a club, a theater, school, at home. All these versions of dance we encounter everyday and they shape our everyday lives. We as a society rely on dance as a form of entertainment, making a living, gathering socially, self expression, celebration, even can be used as a form of argument or protest. For some dance plays some of these larger roles and for some the latter, yet I can with confidence say dance plays a role in everyone’s lifetime, and therefore we should find importance in its study. This is why I think the study of dance history is important. Studying how dance has become such a vital part to our everyday lives, finding when and where its made the biggest social and political impacts. How each and every culture we encounter encounters dance in their lives as well. Dance seems to me to be a universal experience for everyone; it may not be any one form of dance, but dance itself that can bring us together. It also helps us understand what influences are in our forms of more modern dance, did these moves just appear or have they adapted from other historical forms of danced and have helped evolve into a new form of dance. Do modern day dances pull influences from past cultural dances. One form of dance that really grew fast, that is performed both professionally, and in our own homes, that truly can be seen as a realistic form of expression is hip-hop.
Hip-hop and its influence on our ideas of personal identity
Hip-hop has helped form ideas about race and class, in a time period that was also politically reforming these ideas. Hip-hop originated in New York in the 1960’s and 70’s in New York, more specifically in areas of financial squalor, and mainly originated form African American people. It could be seen as way for people to express themselves. Hip-hop wasn’t formed racially specific though, in a sense anyone who could do the dance would it wasn’t a way to show that one race was better than another. It was just a form of dance that became popularized because it didn’t require any formal training to be good at it, you could perform virtually anywhere and everywhere and it would still be considered a form of art, your audience didn’t have to be in a theater. This shows that any class of people whether you had money or not could be good at this. Hip-hop was a dance for everyone not one specific group or race or class, it was basically for anyone who was good at dancing to show people just how good they were. Another aspect of hip hop that was culturally different in the identity of people was that it had no set moves or restrictions. It was mainly freestyle, with influences form many other dances, and often used as a form of competition. Hip-hop really gained ground and popularity in the 80’s and 90’s. The reason that hip-hop became more of a universal dance, one that didn’t have to be seen as racially specific, is because in a sense it was a nonviolent way to bring on a new cultural beginning where equality was beginning to take place, society had to recognize that things would be different, Hip-hop grew because of its diversity, it included influence from all forms of...
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