Why do people dance? They do it for different reasons but probably the most expected answer is that they dance because they simply like it. It is difficult to say when dance became an important part of human culture. Dance has been used during different ceremonies, rituals and celebrations since prehistoric times. Archeologists have found Egyptian tomb paintings depicting dancing figures from circa 3300 ВС. In the past people danced to tell myths and to show feelings for one of the opposite gender. Dance plays a vital role in many of the world’s religions. People have used dance in praise of their gods, in celebration of the seasons, and simply as an outward expression of joy or grief. Native Americans could not imagine their lives without dancing. It was an essential part of their culture and heritage. Native Americans danced for almost any reason: for worship, for rain, when preparing to fight with other tribes or when preparing for a big hunt.
Today a lot of people
are still fond of dancing though few of them dance for religious reasons. For many of us dance is an excellent opportunity to have fun, to express our emotions, to relieve stress, to experience music and to improve our health and fitness level. Dance can be also a form of nonverbal communication as it helps two people say ‘I love you’ to each other. That is why many couples celebrate their unions with a wedding dance which is the symbol of their love and affection. A wedding dance is an unforgettable experience and a person remembers this happy moment during all his or her life.
There are many interesting dancing styles and everybody can find something to his liking. There are dancing styles that can be practiced alone (solo dance), as a couple (partner dance), or as a part of a much larger group (group dance).
Ballet is popular with many people and it is best known for its unique features and techniques. Ballet began to develop in Italy and later it appeared in France. It combines classical music, mime, acting, costumes and dance. Nobody can remain indifferent watching ballet dancers’ graceful movements.
The waltz is a ballroom and folk dance in 3/4 time. It first became fashionable in Vienna around the 1780s and spread to many other countries. This dance form became the example for the creation of many other ballroom dances. In Britain the waltz was considered ‘riotous
and indecent’ as late as 1825. Now there are many types of waltz, including many folk and several ballroom dances.
Tango is often associated with love, passion and romance. This dance form originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay and it became popular in Europe in the early years of the 20th century. Tango has influences from Spanish and African cultures. Today, there are many tango dance styles, including Argentine Tango, Uruguayan Tango, Ballroom tango (American and International styles), Finnish tango, Chinese tango, and vintage tangos.
Today many young people, especially boys, are fond of break dancing. It is a street dance style that evolved as part of the hip hop movement among African American and Latin American youths during the early 1970s. It is normally danced to funk or hip hop music. Break dance is highly improvisational and physically demanding. It allows dancers to display their skills by showing extremely difficult and complicated elements. Some dancers organize competitions and try to outperform each other.
Many people dedicate their lives to dancing and spend years perfecting their dancing skills. But it is not necessary to be a professional. The most important thing is just to love dancing. There are many reality television shows such as ‘Dancing with Stars’ and movies such as the one with Richard Gere ‘Shall We Dance’ that have made ballroom dancing popular and appealing to the average person. Some people take dance lessons or just buy videos and DVDs that teach different dance steps.
While dancing people try to express their ideas or to tell a story through their movements and facial expressions. Dance fills our body with energy and makes us feel happier. Dancing is a wonderful way to exercise while having fun. Besides, it has a lot of health benefits. It increases your muscle tone, lowers blood pressure, relieves stress and releases endorphins (a chemical that reduces pain and can make you feel happier). It helps us burn calories and lose weight. But of course some people dance simply for the sake of dancing.
1. Complete each sentence (A-J) with one of the endings (1 – 10): A. Dance has been used during different
B. Archeologists have found Egyptian tomb paintings
С People have used dance
D. For many of us dance is
E. Ballet combines
F. The waltz first became fashionable
G. Tango originated
H. Break dance a street dance style that evolved as
1. in praise of their gods, in celebration of the seasons, and simply as an outward expression of joy or grief.
2. in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay.
3. in Vienna around the 1780s.
4. depicting dancing figures from circa 3300 ВС.
5. part of the hip hop movement among African American and Latin American youths during the early 1970s.
6. classical music, mime, acting, costumes and dance.
7. ceremonies, rituals and celebrations since prehistoric times.
8. an excellent opportunity to have fun, to express our emotions, to relieve stress, to experience music and to improve our health and fitness level.
2. Match the word with its definition 1. castanets 2. disco 3. tap dancing 4. Pilates 5. tutu 6. the twist 7. prom 8. step 9. foxtrot 10. ball 11. toprock 12. choreography 13. samba 14. pirouette
A. a short skirt made of many folds of stiffened material worn by women ballet dancers;
B. the art of arranging how dancers should move during a performance;
C. a large formal occasion at which people dance;
D. a formal dance party for high school students, often held at the end of a school year (American English);
E. a musical instrument made of two small round pieces of wood or plastic that you hold in one hand and knock together, used especially by Spanish dancers;
F. (in break dance) any string of steps performed from a standing position, relying upon a mixture of coordination, flexibility, style, and rhythm;
G. a type of exercise based on yoga and dance that you do with special equipment which makes you push, pull, and stretch, so that your body moves more easily and becomes stronger;
H. a dance movement in which the dancer turns very quickly, standing on one toe or the front part of one foot;
I. a fast dance from Brazil, or the type of music played for this dance;
J. dancing in which you wear shoes with pieces of metal on the bottom, which make a sound as you move;
K. a popular fast dance from the 1960s in which you twist your body from side to side;
L. a place or social event at which people dance to recorded popular music;
M. a formal dance which combines short quick steps with long slow steps, or a piece of music for this dance;
N. a movement of your feet in dancing.
3. Read the following proverbs and explain their meaning – All are not merry that dance lightly. (English)
– The devil dances in empty pockets. (English)
– A woman who dances too much gets ill from little work. (French)
– You can’t dance on one leg. (African)
– Do not choose your wife at a dance, but in the field among the harvesters. (Czech)
– The hunt is like a dance for men, for the women the dance is the hunt. (Austrian)
– If you are dancing with your rivals, don’t close your eyes. (Burundi)
– Those who can’t dance say the music is no good. (Jamaican)
– He who has no shoes dances in his socks. (German)
– An old cat will never learn to dance. (Moroccan)
4. Answer the questions 1) Why did people dance in the past?
2) What role does dance play in many of the world’s religions?
3) Why could not Native Americans imagine their lives without dancing?
4) Why do people dance nowadays?
5) Why do many couples celebrate their unions with a wedding dance? What does it symbolize?
6) What do you know about the features, techniques and history of ballet?
7) How can you explain the popularity of the waltz?
8) What is tango often associated with? Why
9) Why are many young people fond of break dancing? Does this style seem appealing to you? Why?
10) What has made ballroom dancing popular and appealing to the average person?
11) What are health benefits of dancing?
12) Why do/don’t you like dancing?
5. Work in groups.
The members of the first group will give their arguments against dancing. The members of the second group will contradict them giving their arguments for dancing
– 1. Dancing is only for professionals. For amateurs it is just a waste of time
+ 1. Dance is an art for everybody. The most important thing is not how you dance but how you feel about it.
6. Read and translate the quotations below. Choose any statement and comment on it
– ‘Dance is for everybody. I believe that the dance came from the people and that it should always be delivered back to the people.’ (Alvin Alley)
– ‘Every dance is a kind of fever chart, a graph of the heart.’ (Martha Graham)
– ‘Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body.’ (Martha Graham)
– ‘To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.’ (Agnes de Mille)
– ‘The dance can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music, and it has the additional merit of being human and palpable. Dancing is poetry with arms and legs.’ (Charles Baudelaire)
– ‘Dancing is like dreaming with your feet.’ (Constanze)
– ‘And dance is wonderful because dance is so immediate.’ (Graeme Murphy)
– ‘No sane man will dance.’ (Marcus Tullius Cicero)
– ‘There are those who dance to the rhythm that is played to them, those who only dance to their own rhythm, and those who don 7 dance at all.’ (Jose Bergamin)
Find some extra information on the topic ‘Dancing Styles’ and prepare a report.
A. Read the definitions below. Choose the variant that you find the most suitable. Explain your choice. Dance is….
A. an amazing pastime;
B. a great source of entertainment;
С a form of social interaction and communication;
D. a perfect physical exercise;
E. a silent language of seduction;
F. a magical combination of movements and music;
G. the best way to express your feelings (love, passion, sorrow, joy etc.)
B. Read the text ‘Why Do We Dance?’ and find the answer to this question.