What is Folk Dance

In any of your trips to the Orient or the Dark Continent, you will find an interesting array of people. Stop in for some conversation and you will be delighted to find that they can speak and behave like the Westerners. However, if you are trying to know more about their culture and customs, there is no better way than to attend their rural and traditional rituals and customary practices. You can see how such people like to celebrate certain events with pomp and show. They would put on fairs and feasts. However, they would also go in for some entertaining and lively folk dances. These performances would be the highlight of your journey.

Folk dance could be the word for any dance that prizes customs more than choreographed movements. Folk dance is usually performed by the women of the community on auspicious or festive days. However, sometimes, even the men may join in the celebrations. The folk dances are associated with a mood of general and riotous celebration and rejoice. However, they may be merely ritualistic for some communities as well.

What are the essential characteristics of any folk dance? One is that, as I said, it is a celebration of sorts. The different religions, races and communities celebrate festivals and occasions according to their traditions. On these days, the men and women would wear their traditional outfits and clothes. Then, they would dance to the tune of their folk music. Sometimes, the festivals are big and pompous. On other occasions, the significance is deeper but hidden. In places like India, the folk dances are organized by many communities to celebrate harvests of crops and food grains. These folk dances are a form of rejoice for such people, who till the land.

The folk dances are usually accompanied with some music. The music could be composed with taps of feet, clapping hands, chorus of voices and other such miscellaneous sounds. The dancers usually perform against these sounds. In many folk dances, the music is also composes with the aid of basic and rustic musical instruments. In some forms of folk dance, the music would comprise of ballads and hymns. These are sung by some of the dancers and the remaining dance to the changes of rhythm in these folk songs and ballads. Such dances can also be seen in many European countries and regions, as well as in Asian and South American countries.

In many countries and regions, the folk dances would also be accompanied with the use of accessories and props. For instance, the sword dances are performed by almost every major community in the world. These dances would involve the use of the swords and such weapons. The folk dances have become a popular means of entertainment as well. Many of the musicians working for films and theatre have taken inspiration from the traditional folk dance forms. Ever since then, many songs have been composed and staged in a manner similar to that of the folk songs of some communities and races.

Common Dances from the 1950s

The art of dancing is based on creative movements of body shaped in typical and organized format to represent various emotions of inner self of an individual. With advancement in fashion trends and liking of people, the dance industry has also noticed plenty of changes over the years. The typical traditional dancing accounted in 1950s, which represented dance as a passion and desire. In 1950, American youth took the initiative to sprawl their rebellion attitude through dancing and singing mode. Musical talents supported and accompanied several different styles of dancing at that time by the voices of Fisher, Elvis and Andrews and the dances of that time represented these popular voices with command.

Much to disbelief of many American parents dances of that time that accounted on songs of Elvis Presley became the trademark of youth and are still followed sometime. The so-called Dirty Dancing became quite popular as Elvis came on stage people used to start shouting on his hip moves and this was copied by so many youngsters and became revolution in youth. Some of the popular dance of that time which made that era famous for dancing are Sock Hop, Hora, Graceland and Re-Create dances. Dance became popular with start of Saturday nights as number of young girls and boys along with older ones at times joined these buzzing parties to dance on passionate musical numbers.

The places that accounted these dance were zones for stoppage or collection of youngsters, teenagers, and the reason behind drop of such dances over the years is advancement in TV industry, which overtook this Saturday night style of dancing. This style and way of dancing gave rise to culture of clubs, bars and pubs that has now groomed in to disco theatres. All these places in 1950s remained crowded with people of all age groups and such place of dancing became meeting zone for friends and family members. With rise in popularity, the dancing started in other countries also and these places became the hub of business.

Some of the famous style of past that are still copied with slight changes today are Cha Cha, Bosa nova, Jive, the Mombo, The Stroll and the West Coast Swing. There were other traditional dances also like foxtrot, the waltz and the Jitterbug, which became popular with new dances in 1950. The old age people who were young when these dances initiated or came in market tells that dancing on those tunes at fabulous places were a real fun as they did it once or twice a week. After the addiction by Elvis, the Rock and roll became the slogan of youth and changed the entire picture.

Common Dances from the 1960s

Many of the dances that dominated musical scenes in the 60s were very unique in that one would dance alone and enjoy the beat to the fullest. From the available records, there were hundreds of dance styles that were common in those years and every person had his or her favorite move once on the dance floor. The twist remains to be one of the best dances from those years and it traces its background to a song composed and released by musician Hank Ballard. As years went by, this song that came with a similar name was redone by several artistes who helped popularize twist among the dance styles of those times.

Mashed potato was furthermore a common dance from the 1960s and its popularity is attributed to songs released by singers like James Brown and Steve Alaimo whose beats went down well with the dance moves. Even though it came with very many variations on how it was worked out, mashed potato mainly involved having the arms placed in the front part of the body with alternate grinding of the feet. The main impression that this dance aimed to bring out was that of a person crushing potatoes with the feet which it managed to achieve effectively and to the satisfaction of every person.

Another of the popular dances in the 60s was the monkey which was a pure imitation of the animal’s habits. In this, people on the dance floor would face each other and start to wave their arms as well as nodding of heads in a systematic way to come up with a consistent rhythm. This would be accompanied by some few actions of hopping and scratching which were very instrumental in making the dance a success. It found its way into the entertainment scene back in 1963 when famed singer Major Lance released his hit song the monkey time which not only generated a lot of musical heat but helped take this dance to another level.

Apart from these, there were very many dances that dominated the entertainment industry in 1960s some of which were influential and others contentious in equal measure. Among them you would find the duck, hanky panky, locomotion, do the Freddie and camel walk. All these dances were very popular owing to their simplicity mode and suitability to all ages of people. Whether young or old, male or female; any dance would fit you well thus one had several choices to choose the best one from. Their movements were furthermore vey simple thus one had not to sweat it out in making a dance move work.