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Music and Dance


pantomime, form of communication, music, ballet, way of life

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Dance, patterned and rhythmic bodily movements, usually performed to music, that serve as a form of communication or expression. Human beings express themselves naturally through movement. Dance is the transformation of ordinary functional and expressive movement into extraordinary movement for extraordinary purposes; even a common movement such as walking is performed in dance in a patterned way, perhaps in circles or to a special rhythm, and it occurs in a special context. Dance may involve a fixed vocabulary of movements that have no meaning in themselves, as in much of ballet and European folk dance, or pantomime and symbolic gestures may be used, as in many Asian dance forms. Peoples of different cultures dance differently and for varying purposes; their varied forms of dance can reveal much about their way of life.


Youngerman, Suzanne, M.A., Ph.D.

Executive Director, Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies. Editorial Board, "International Encyclopedia of Dance". Contributor to "Essays in Dance Research" and "Illuminating Dance".

Article key phrases:

pantomime, form of communication, music, ballet, way of life, expression, circles, walking

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