Dance is a unique aspect of human culture from prehistoric times. To use the words of Martin, "dance lies at the point at which reflection and embodiment meet, at which doing and anticipating are intertwined" (Martin, 1998). Dance is therefore both an emotional and physical activity exerting the body and the mind to its limits with the intensity of an emergency, but one that is invariably survived…
From recreation to communication, from religion to magic, dance serves several aims and achieves several ends with different cultures.
The history of dance is as long as man on earth. Throughout history, dance has been a part of human social life; ceremonies, rituals, celebrations, entertainments and all that. Archaeological evidences abound tracing dance practice from prehistoric times to the first written and pictorial documentation in 200BC. (Wikipedia).
In primitive cultures, dance originated as an expression of the events, changes and occurrences that mark human existence on earth; changes that occur as people grew from childhood to old age, events that characterise the change from one season to another, the triumph that come with victories and the pains of failures. All these were expressed in dance steps. Over time, two sorts of dance evolved, as cultures evolved. Social dances on occasions of celebration, commemorating deaths or other special events; and magical or religious dances, which were believed to be some sort of communication with the gods, to invoke their assistance or as a form of worship, displaying allegiance. Thus dance was a tool of cultural and tribal reservation before men learnt the ability to document.
Obviously, dance has gone a long way from the era of mere cultural or religious activity to a form of art that is learnt and practiced like every aspect of modern life. Different types of dance has attended the evolution of dance in history, but the modern dance with its accompanying technology has revolutionalised dancing, creating a sciences out of dance. It has achieved techniques of its own making and made disciples.
Dance goes beyond the ballet dancer or the choreographer seen on stage, the dance sector encompasses the dance artist, management, production and education. This began early in the 1920s when dance studies, encompassing dance practice, critical theory, analysis and history, began to be seen as a serious academic discipline. By the late 20th century the recognition of practical knowledge as equal to academic knowledge lead to the emergence of practice-based research and practice as research. Today, these studies are an integral part several universities' arts and humanities program. A wide array of these dance studies have evolved over time and some of them include:
Professional practice: performance and technical skills
Practice-based research: choreography and performance
Ethnochoreology, encompassing the dance-related aspects of Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, Area studies, Postcolonial theory, Ethnography, etc.
Dance and technology: new media and performance technologies.
Laban Movement Analysis and Somatic studies
Therefore, when dance is viewed from the perspective of those managing and administering the dance studies, project development in the dance sector becomes something of great importance. Project development makes for effectiveness in the management of professional practise and teaching of dance. It has been and will always be responsible for the constant influx of new ideas into the dance sector, the re-evaluation of old ideas and ...
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