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Types of Theatrical Dance

Dance is seen as a beautiful means of expression.
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Dance is an art form that can be seen as a source of entertainment and a means of expression. Throughout history, several types of dance have evolved while still maintaining some of the traditional elements specific to certain genres. Today, there are so many varieties of theatrical dance that can be admired on the stage.


The earliest type of ballet originated in Renaissance Italy. From there, it was developed more in France by Italian-French composer Jean Baptiste Lully and French choreographer Pierre Beauchamp. It is believed that Beauchamp defined the positions of the feet, one of the primary elements of ballet. Ballet has always been viewed as an elegant and precise dance. Through the years, ballet has been performed in a variety of shows like intense dramas and fairy-tale romances. The scenery, costumes and make-up have become as much a part of the performance as the dance itself.

Folk Dance

Folk dance can be best described as a dance that represents the culture and history of a particular country. For instance, there are many types of folk dancing, including Israeli, Welsh, Indian, Russian and Irish, and all of them embrace their heritages. Typically these dances evolved based on the people themselves. They danced for the entertainment of one another. Because of this, folk dancing can be done as a solo dance, a group dance or with partners. The Irish folk dance, or step dance, gained popularity with the theatrical show "Riverdance."

Interpretive Dancing

Interpretive dancing is meant to express a variety of emotions through movement. It can also be used as way to showcase a story through the expressions and choreography of the dance. Often an interpretive dance may be making a comment on the human condition, experiences or perceptions. Because it is loosely defined, dance movements are often inspired by other genres. Since interpretive dance is about self-expression, performers are usually adept at improvising movements.

Modern Dance

Modern dance gained momentum in the 1920s. For the first time, people were beginning to feel more free and empowered with how they expressed themselves in movement. As time went on, different styles of dancing like tap, ballet and folk started to mesh together for a unique style. Today, modern dance is still seen as a mix of various genres. A typical modern dance show may experiment with many different elements, combining unlikely types of dance together, and may even incorporate source materials into the performance.

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