It’s easy to focus on our favorite dance styles, especially for current students of ballet, hip-hop, and other classroom dance education. However, we all know that dance has evolved and changed with humanity for eons – the first recorded history of dance is from over 4,000 years ago! In honor of International Dance Day this Saturday, May 29th, let’s take a moment and enjoy some quality videos and information celebrating how far we’ve come with dance!
All resources in this Knowledge Blog have been pulled from KET Education, an amazing resource for educational and archival material. I’ve curated my favorite videos, but please explore their site further!
West African Dance
Africa has an incredibly rich culture of dance and music, the two of which are forever intertwined. Dance blends and connects social conversation, religion, ceremony, celebration, and fun in Africa. Check out this video of an instructor teaching some basic West African Dance moves!
Everyone loves a good Salsa! From swing dance groups to Latin, Salsa has always been a hit. Check out this video to learn the basic Salsa pattern and incorporate it into your routines! As mentioned in the video, Salsa is based around a musical repeating phrase, the clave. Salsa is a great way to hone your rhythmic skills as well!
Folk dance (and music) from the Appalachian area of the United States has always been at risk of being lost to time. Check out this video that does an excellent job preserving it – you may recognize some moves!
Truly an international dance, Jamaican tap, like in the video, is a blend of European and African styles. Students of modern tap will recognize similar techniques that carry over from this style! Check it out in this video!
Everyone loves some good Irish Dance! One of my favorite parts of living in Pittsburgh was attending the annual Pittsburgh Irish Festival – an excellent time to view international dance, music, and cuisine. This video demonstrates some traditional Irish Dancing and accompaniment.
Navajo Shaker Dance
The Navajo people are the second largest indigenous group in the United States and inhabit modern-day Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. They have a rich culture that is permanently linked to dance. This video shows a traditional dance from their Fire Dance Ceremony.
Moving across the world of international dance, India has a vast archive of traditional dances. The style showcased in this video includes all major aspects of Indian classical dance, especially facial acting, narration, and postures. Watch the hands for a lot of key moves!
Chinese Sword Dance
Like other international dance cultures, China’s roots in dance are linked to its other forms of expression. In this case, Tai Chi and martial arts fluidly mix with dance to create the Chinese Sword Dance. Tai Chi is a soft, defensive martial art that also focuses on meditation. It is practiced by over 300 million people worldwide! Check it out here!
I hope that you learned something new from these resource videos and gained some inspiration for your next routine! Happy International Dance Day – be sure to thank the dance teachers in your life! Stay tuned for our next installment of the Knowledge Blog, and until then, keep practicing!