Dance through the Ages


There’s no doubt that humans love to dance. From the earliest types of ceremonial and ritualistic movements that are preserved in traditions such as Chinese folk dancing, to the most contemporary ballroom moves, dancing has always been an important part of many cultures.

Dancing is most probably as old as human civilsation itself and archeologists have found evidence of it in some of the earliest records of cultural practices, such as ancient cave paintings and Egyptian tomb paintings. Early forms of dance had many functions, from giving warriors a kind of pre-battle energy to achieving a trance like state in order to carry out a healing ritual, as well as something much more simple such as to celebrate a wedding. During the 18th and 19th centuries dance became more about learned steps, rather than an altered state, and court dancing and ballet became increasingly popular – in fact that was the era in which modern ballet as we now know it was developed.

After the rigorous step-based moves of the 18th and 19th centuries, dance began to lean more towards the individual and modern dance with its expression of emotion and unconventional physical movements, began to be more and more popular. With the 20th century came the 1960s and post modernism, where an early interest in simplicity, without extras or costumes, morphed into a combination of raw movement and shock value props and outfits. The combined power of contemporary dance and ballet reached its peak in the 1980s, incorporating many of the recent crazes, such as street dance and reggae moves.

In the last couple of decades there have been some pretty unusual dance crazes, many of which have crossed over from dance floors to clubs and back again. Swing dancing has become popular with everyone from those who remembered it the first time round to London’s hipsters, and of course who can ignore the triumphant resurgence of ballroom dancing thanks to shows like Strictly Come Dancing. Break dancing and hip hop are perennially popular with those who know how to throw shapes (and those who think they do) and Latin dancing styles like salsa have given rise to crazes such as Zumba, a combination of Latin moves and aerobics.

The Brendan Cole Dance Academies are an ideal way for kids to discover the benefits of dancing, from the exercise element to learning a new skill. The courses are designed for girls and boys aged 7-16 and cover all aspects of dance, appropriate to all levels – for more information on this exciting opportunity to help your kids to find their rhythm see our website.