A display of rhythmic bodily movement performed with the intention of arousing primordial emotions.|
After a long summer of irrigation against the drought and vigilance against the pestiferous legions,
few cultivators of the soil deny themselves a little jig of delight once the harvest is successfully in.
Preferably in groups and best with musical accompaniment, a co-ordinated skipping from one foot to the other
gives expression to the deep and primitive satisfaction of having grown and stored a life-sustaining crop.
Arms linked, circling and turning, forward and back, the dancers prance and stomp until they are breathless,
and then assist their recovery by imbibing enthusiastically if the liquids matured from last seasons zymolysis.
So innate are the emotions driving such behaviour, that even the planting, nurturing and lifting of a
single carrot can arouse an irresistible urge to morris dance around the compost bin.
In its traditional ethnic-cultural form, it is the most immediate physical mode of participation
and contribution to the rhythmic patterns of a cultural tradition.
The patterning of the bodily movement is facilitated most readily with percussion,
but often is also embellished with culturally symbolic art forms, music and the spoken word.
It is a language itself, which can facilitate social interactions and can
sustain tradition and myth in the absence of a technology of written records.
Dance is a cultural phenomena which perpetuates the stories and traditions and attitudes across the generations,
by establishing memories of movement, rhythm, music and costumery in the minds of the individuals.
It is a powerfully cohesive activity.
It has the capability of uniting an audience in a theatre of entertainment.
It can invoke culturally oriented imaginings of deities supposed to be able to influence
the chaos of nature.
It can induce a heightened collective commitment to the lethal objectives of war.
Like any other human endeavour activity however,
dance forms have been refined, complexified, and commercialized.
They have been made dependent upon a variety of extreme physical capacities,
so that participation in a complicated choreography is denied to most of a population.
For most, it has become no more than a visual and aural spectacle that has an entrance fee.
For the general populace, it has become a physically enformed interpretation of music
and complex rhythms generated for public performance, display and profit.
At an individual level however, like any art form,
dance can always function as a medium of self-expression and escape from reality...
in spite of the attempts to transform it into a competitive sport.
In cultures where dance for the general populace no longer functions
as reinforcing any sort of social solidarity, two elements of
dance , that of therapeutic exercise and the simulation of
copulation, are the participation residue.
In this context, dance has become either a compensatory exercise for the obese and the
sedentary, or a drug sustained display of sexual provocation.