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Famous dance forms of the world

Dancing is a form of entertainment and exercise that is known to civilization since ancient

times. It has been ripe in form since its inception and known to be popular. Now it has

gained popularity and momentum, forms and dimensions unprecedented and is one of the

most enchanting, consuming art forms. To acquaint you better with the “how” and “what” of

dancing, here is a short list of the world’s most popular dance forms along with their origins

and other interesting information.

The first on the list is Hip hop dance, which refers to a form of Street Dancing. It has its own

unique music, custom-made for its peppy and powerful moves as a part of the wider hip hop

culture prevalent that incorporates a way of life that is hip- hop. The unique styles it includes

which have gained wide scale acknowledgement are breaking, locking, and popping. The

moves are generally performed close to the ground. These were created in the 1970s and

were made popular by dance crews in America.

Tap dance is so called because of the tapping sound that is made by the performer’s shoes

which have a metal attached to it. The tap dancers are considered to be musicians as the

sound created by the metal equates to a percussive sound. It has its origins in African

American dancing such as the Juba Dance, English Lancashire Clog dancing, and most

significantly Irish step dancing. It can be traced back to the middle of 1800’s in the minstrel


Further on, a lesser known globally but extremely popular form is the Yangko dance of

China which is a traditional folk dance of the Han Chinese. The dance involves swaying of

the body to certain classic rhythms. The dance has history of original as old as thousand

years and is usually performed in the culturally important lantern festival although its recent

form that is widely known has more recent origins- it was changed a bit during the 1940’s.

Belly dance is the name given by the western world to a traditional West Asian dance,

especially Raqs Sharqi. It may also be called Middle Eastern dance or Arabic dance in the

West. The dance originated in Middle East. The dance form was made popular in the West

during the Romantic movement of the 18th and 19th centuries, when Orientalist artists

depicted romanticized images of harem life in the Ottoman Empire. The term is a misnomer

as the entire body is involved in the movements.

Arriving further east, here is an Indian proponent. Kathak is one of the eight worshiped

classical dance of India. It can be traced back to the nomadic bards of ancient northern

India, known as Kathakars or storytellers. Now it is impregnated with temple and ritual

dancing informed by the bhakti movement. It also has some elements of Persian dances

owing to the Muslim ruler lineage of India. This complex form attempts to tell a story through

its elegant and powerful moves.

There is certainly much more to the dancing world, but these dances present a unique

assemblage from different parts of the world, truly remarkable in their diversity and practice.

Eshita Tiwari

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