At it’s core dancing is a method of physical communication that is used to convey meaning to others. By moving one's body in a coordinated effort in combination with a suitable piece of music, a dance is born.
The meaning of a dance can contain symbolic or simply aesthetic value. Dancing can be easily categorized as either Social or Performance based. Social dancing has it’s roots in the very early days of civilization; existing as a fluid and esteemed form of communication. Over time as civilization developed, performance dancing came to the forefront of art and expression. The emphasis in performance dancing was to delight audiences and humble onlookers alike. Performance dancing leaves it to the viewer to interpret the meaning of the dance for themselves. Between these two forms of dance lie a vast world of art and communication that transcends ethnic barriers and enriches all of Idalos.
Types of Dance
Dancing can typically be sorted into two broad categories: Performance Dancing and Social Dancing.
The act of performance dancing is a large category of dances where the act of dancing is considered a work of art or form of entertainment. Typically, this type of dancing is performed in theaters, auditoriums, or during competitions. However, there are other forms of more exotic performance dance that are performed in seedier locations, such as bars or brothels.
Examples of Performance Dancing
The practice of social dancing is tradition that is observed in almost every culture. Social dancing is a communal activity that is typically done in pairs or groups although on occasion solo dances are also performed. This type of dancing has various social applications; examples of this include the romancing of a potential partner, the building of a close friendship, or for use as a rite of passage. Social dancing can be observed in many venues, from the humble town square to the glittering ballroom.
Examples of Social Dancing
*These are suggested skills that would pair well with Dancing
Strength will greatly impact the dancer's ability to achieve certain moves.
Endurance allows a dancer to dance for longer lengths of time before tiring.
Acrobatics can greatly enhance and embellish the movements in a dance.
Acting is especially useful in the context of Performance Dancing. The ability to act will give more meaning to the performance.
Discipline aids the dancer in remaining focused on the dance, regardless of what is going on around them.
Logistics is especially valuable as it helps in the creation of complicated choreography, especially in the case of group dances.
*Available at Novice
Rhythm is the repeated pulse found in music that all dancers use to time their movements properly. Be aware that being capable of identifying the rhythm in a piece of music varies in difficulty between each individual. Some individuals are naturally gifted and easily pick up the beat, whereas others must work much harder to discover it. Rhythm is the very foundation of dancing. Without it the dance will be disjointed and make little sense to the audience or participants.
*Available at Novice
Once the dancer has become familiar with the components of identifying rhythm can begin learning footwork to accompany it. Footwork will include the basic leg and foot movements associated with the core of a dance. These techniques must be practiced for a fair amount of time before the dancer becomes proficient at using them correctly in a dance.
*Available at Competent
Choreography is the sublime art of designing a dance. Using the dancer's awareness of the music's rhythm along with their competency with footwork, they can begin composing a series of footwork and movements that will suit the music. This can be done with artistic flair or in relation to sacred symbolism that the dancer is hoping to reflect in their choreography. Typically the number of moves in the dance's choreography is related to the skill of the dancer.
Available at Competent
Once the dancer has mastered the three previous techniques their dances will begin to gain a touch of their own personal flair. Types of personal styles can include additions such as graceful fluttery hand movements or sharp edgy legwork that is unique to the individual. Be aware that personal style can both add to the composition of a dance or detract from it.
Available at Competent
A good dancer requires a certain amount of physical and mental awareness in order to engage in more difficult dances. A certain amount of bodily coordination is required to employ precise moves and avoid becoming dizzy from rapid movement. A dancer's physical awareness allows them to become more aware of their body so they are granted better control over their moments.
Available at Expert
Innovation involves coming up with novel new dance moves or full dances that have never been seen before. Innovation tends to affect everything from choreography to personal style as it involves developing new techniques that are paradigm shattering. It takes a true artist to push the practice of dancing forward.
Available at Master
Stunt work is the most dangerous element of dancing and should never be attempted by anyone except a master. Often it is advised that anyone performing stunts in dances is at least competent or higher in acrobatics and strength in order to ensure their body has the strength and agility to make it through the maneuvers. Stunt work can include anything from perilous one-armed lifts in the case of couples dances, to flips and tumbling in solo dances.
Prerequisites for Stunt Work
Acrobatics - Competent
Strength - Competent
At novice the individual is just beginning their journey into the world of dance. Their sense of rhythm will be tenuous at best. Often their movements will be somewhat clumsy but no one can deny that they are indeed dancing. Footwork should be heavily focused upon, as learning the basic steps of a dance will help when the dancer begins creating their own choreography at higher skill levels. Simplicity is key for the novice, and more often than not they are better suited to learning dances that already exist rather than creating new choreography themselves..
: 26 - 75
At competency the dancer begins gaining a greater awareness of their body and it's movements. As such they can begin creating choreography with roughly four to six moves in a dance. Dancers begin to gain true precision and grace as they start displaying their own personal style, allowing them to enhance their dancing in ways they could not before. Their physical awareness of their bodies has improved allowing the dancer to avoid getting dizzy due to intense movements. Also as a result of their improving physical awareness the competent dancer is more cognizant of the need to keep good posture and maintain a level of poise and polish in their dances. Improvisation is still beyond this dancer but they can be very successful in creating choreography beforehand that they can practice at length before a performance or cultural gathering.
: 76 - 150
Once the dancer has begun to gain some real expertise in their discipline they are finally able to begin experimenting with improvisation. Improvised, spur of the moment dances will not hold the level of polish that a rehearsed dance will assuredly have. However this ability allows the dancer to begin experimenting with novel movements that will amaze any onlookers. Choreography created by this dancer will be more complex than before, allowing for eight to ten moves in a dance. Physical awareness has also improved allowing the dancer further refinement in their movements.
: 151 - 250
At mastery the dancer has become a true artist, using their body to enact beautiful performances at the drop of a hat that enthrall everyone around them. Stunt work can now be used in dances but only if the the prerequisites have been met. This type of work is dangerous and can lead to injury if the master dancer is not thoroughly prepared. Choreography can now be as complex or simplistic as the master desires, there is no limit to the number of moves they can recall and perform in a dance. Their dances are far more inventive and full of personal flourishes than any other dancer; as such they tend to develop a style that is all their own. Innovation is natural for this dancer, as they are always trying to create moves and dances that will allow them to push their art ever onward.
: Sephira Blackwood