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Dance generally refers to human movement either used as a form of expression or presented in a social, spiritual or performance setting. Dance is also used to describe methods of non-verbal communication between humans or animals (bee dance, mating dance), motion in inanimate objects (the leaves danced in the wind), and certain musical forms or genres. People who dance are called dancers and the act of dance is known as dancing.

An event where dancing takes place may be called a dance. Choreography is the art of making dances. Dances depends on social, cultural, aesthetic artistic still moral constraints and range from functional movement (such as Folk dance) to codified, virtuoso techniques such as ballet. In sports, gymnastics, figure skating and synchronized swimming contain dance disciplines while Martial arts 'Kata' are often compared to dances.

Dance and music

Although dance and music can be traced back to prehistoric times it is unclear which artform came first. However, as rhythm and sound are the result of movement, and music can inspire movement, the relationship between the two forms has always been symbiotic. This relationship serves as the basis for Eurhythmics devised by Emile Jaques-Dalcroze which was influential to the development of Modern dance and Modern ballet through artists such as Marie Rambert.

Many early forms of music and dance were created and performed together. This paired development has continued through the ages with dance/music forms such as: Jig, Waltz, Tango, disco,techno and Hip-Hop. Some musical genre also have a parallel dance form such as Baroque music and Baroque dance where as others developed separately: Classical music, Classical ballet.

Although dance is often accompanied by music, it can also be presented alone (Postmodern dance) or provide its own accompaniment (tap dance). Dance presented with music may or may not be performed in time to the music depending on the style of dance. Dance performed without music is said to be danced to its own rhythm.


Choreography is the art of marking dances and the generic name given to dances which set movements occurs. People who set choreographies are called choreographers and may develop their own dance techniques as a part of their choreographic work. Choreography and dance techniques can be written down as dance notation which is analogous to music notation.

The term choreogoraphy has a varied historical context, it is derived from the word chorea. chorea a Greek Circle dance accompanied by singing, derivatives of chorea are used to describe circle dances in other counties: Khorovod (Russia), Hora (Romania, Moldova, Israel), Horo (Bulgaria). Paracelsus used the term chorea to describe the rapid, jerking physical movements of medieval pilgrims traveling the healing shrine of St. Vitus giving rise to the terms St. Vitus' dance (now known as Sydenhams Chorea).

The rejection of ballet vocabulary and terms by modern dance resulted in the term choreographer replacing Ballet Master and therefore choreography came to mean the art of making dances.