Monday 5 November 2012

Article - Role and function of dance: Historical context (Part 1) - Dr. Anonna Guha

Dance is an expression of self and emotion. It involves physicality of movement both bodily and facial. For centuries, dance has been a part of various cultures – from primitive man to the modern urban individual. Right from celebrating marriage, birth, to warding off evil and pacifying the supernatural, dance has been a mode to fulfill various  desires and aspirations. Dance to a large extent has been documented in anthropology though it has been a neglected area as far as Sociology is concerned. Anthropologists have studied dance and society of various cultures in the world.

Dance is a product of society and while interacting with it can trace its roots to several centuries. The role and portrayal of dance has to be seen and understood in the context of the various cultures they belong to. Dance is believed to be therapeutic, functioning as a safety valve. Right from dealing with the fear of the unknown, to creating a special place as an art form, dance has played different roles and served diverse purposes. The relation between dance and society would be mutual: both drawing from each other. Society with its physical element, diffusion, development of language and culture forms the basis of dance. Dance on the other hand creates images, stories and spreads messages of society. Society in turn internalises its lessons of content and pleasure from dance. 

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