“Dance as art” is a term used by various authors to designate the contemporary dance styles to their contemporaries in the 1820s, including modern and classical styles. It reflects an era in which dance was not only a commercial entertainment but also a popular social event, and this was seen as a critical point of cultural development.
“Modern dance as art” was coined by Victorians, not the British or French, so it is likely that the term was not used anywhere else in the 20th century.
What is dance?
The dance scene of the 1870s involved a number of different forms which varied immensely in degree to style and complexity.
Dance music often represented the rhythmical features of music, like the four-beat pattern “E”, “E B”, and the “M”, “M G”, and the “G” beat, and the rhythmic changes between these patterns were highly expressive and dramatic. Sometimes these elements were mixed, like in the music of the Scottish “Dance Breaks” and the Irish “Dance Fret”.
There were many types of dances, ranging from the simple to the elaborate, but also from the dance forms of the countryside folk to the theatrical variety and the modern, dance-oriented forms of ballroom. The forms ranged from the straightforward to the elaborate.
The first two centuries of the Victorian era covered the time of the English and French Reformation, the Napoleonic Wars, and the rise of the industrial society, which also was a time of major change: the industrial revolution was a period of new knowledge and industrial production.
Dance styles varied significantly within the broad categories of popular dance from the popular ballroom, which reflected the industrial production and distribution of music and clothing, to the classical, ballet, and theatrical forms.
The influence of the movement movements that came after the ballroom style is seen in the development of the modern dance movement. Dance music evolved into dance moves.
Dance: a movement?
The term dance is usually used to describe a movement in which a person’s entire physical characteristics are made to engage with each other in an expressive and theatrical setting. Usually moves are of such a nature that one is not concerned with the particular dance form.
Dancing can also take place entirely without movement, and usually does. However, it takes considerable skill and experience to be quite good at dance and to take great pleasure in the enjoyment and satisfaction that arises from the performance
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