Why does a performance of a folk dance such as “Lola,” with its dancing, marching and singing, sound so different from a social dance such as “Coco?” To answer the first question, I will say first that if you find a dancing show that you like and find it entertaining, you will be well encouraged to stay and listen to it. What a folk dance is is not a performance made of the most elaborate choreography or the most dramatic music. An old style of folk dance, such as one from the Middle Ages, may have not changed all that much since the 1920s. On the other hand, a social dance, such as that in “Coco,” may have not changed for many more than 50 years. Folk dance is a kind of theatrical work. A show may have lots of beautiful music, but it is not designed to be a production of a performance; it is a performance of the show. On the other hand, with a social dance, if you dance as you would a show, people will respond to your performances on some level, and they may become involved in the dance or dance movement in a way that might not otherwise happen in a performance. A folk dance or social dance is often more likely to become popular in a short space of time, since people do not normally stay to listen to songs performed by people they don’t know.
When is it inappropriate for a performer in a folk dancing show to dance with young children in a social dance? Is dancing in a dance show a good way to tell a story? I have met many young adults in dance shows who danced with children because of personal attraction to them, with the implication that dancing with children is natural for young people, but the child must be kept at a safe distance from the performers and they dance around a bit, not on the dance floor, dancing to their own tune. A young person who gets very into the performance and dances with children may look very much like a child of their own age, yet be fully capable of having an adult in the audience while they enjoy themselves. Most dance shows are designed to be entertaining, but they also have a purpose. They want to entertain, just as much a performance drama or musical comedy, and the choreography and music should be designed for the performance. When all the dancers are dancing, if you think the show has been designed to be an entertaining show that makes use of children as well as adults, I would say “no.” Dancing to songs can be entertaining, but in itself
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