Dance is culture, art, and alive! Dance has been an integral part of cultures all over the world, performed live ranging from indigenous peoples to high-class aristocratic affairs. Dance has provided opportunity for so many to express themselves and experiment with music, design, sculpture, film, theatre, and other forms of art. Here are some fun facts about dance you might not know of.
1. Dancers are high achievers
Dancers are known to be incredibly disciplined and focused. To get good, they almost have to be. Dancers are known to be high achievers throughout their whole life, being successful as a student and also in their professional work.
2. Dancers are also athletes
Although competition between dancers relies entirely on the grace of the performance as opposed to a direct competition, dancers are athletes. There’s absolutely no disputing the athletics in dancing. Increased muscular strength, endurance, and motor fitness are required to dance.
3. There are lots of superstitions in dance
Dance is full of superstitions. Individual dancers have their own set of routines and patterns to follow pre-show, and there are plenty of well-known superstitions many dancers will adhere to. ‘Breaking a leg’ for example is a phrase that originated from dance. By saying it and similar phrases, it was believed the exact opposite would happen on-stage.
4. Dancers have an early retirement
Dancers do not have an off-season, train frequently, experience injuries at a higher rate than many other sports or athletic activities, and put their bodies through a lot. For this reason, a lot of dancers retire by the time they are in their mid-30s. The toll it takes on a dancer’s body can sometimes mean complications from injuries for decades after.
5. Dance is good for cardiovascular health
Studies have shown dancing to be helpful to both mental and physical health. It reduces stress and tension in the mind and body, and in particular, has been shown to be helpful towards mitigating the risks of heart disease.
6. There are numerous dance styles
There are literally dozens of dance styles out there, pulling from every corner of the world. Country western, ballroom, swing, Latin, salsa, folk, tango, club dance, zumba, belly dancing, aerobic, poledancing, and fitness dancing are some of the most popular styles.
7. Dance has a connection to religion
One of the earliest examples of structured dance, it is believed, originated from religious ceremonies. These dances were used to tell the tales of ancient myths and gods. In Egypt, this dancing was used by their priests to assist in the visual storytelling aspect of their rituals.
8. Waltzing is a popular dance for many years
The waltz was a dance style which came to popularity in the mid-1800s via the works of Johann Strauss. For many years, men and women performed the dance at arm’s length. It was only when Queen Victoria fell in love with the waltz that the nature of the dance was changed from arm’s length to a close embrace.
9. Ballet is the hardest dance
Experts consider ballet dancing – to no surprise – to be the most difficult dance style to learn, because of its inimitable terminology and methodological form. Ballet can take years of classes to learn, oftentimes with dancers starting from a very early age. It not only requires skill and precision but luck in stemming off injuries as they come along.
10. The inventors of dance are unknown
Who invented dance – the answer to this question is not known. The earliest recordings known detailing dancing are from the Indians and the Egyptians from 3300 BC. Although some attribute the invention of dance to the Indians and the Egyptians, it is inaccurate to say this as it is likely dancing and physical expression has long been a part of human history.
11. The belly dance is the oldest dance
It is believed the oldest dance, as considered by historians, is the belly dance. Belly dancing originated 6,000 years ago, practiced in ancient cultures all over the world. Although today we see belly dancing as erotic and seductive, in ancient times, it did not hold these same connotations. In fact, it was seen much more as a form of physical self-expression and art, not even remotely associated with anything sexual or romantic.
12. European medieval dance is widespread
In history, we actually know less about European medieval dance than one may think. What we do know about European dance from this time is limited although it is assumed by most historians that simple folk dances were widespread both at a commoner’s level as well as among the wealthier classes.
13. The ‘Dancing Plague’ happened in 1518
In 1518, what’s become known as the ‘Dancing Plague’ hit Strasbourg, France. This ‘plague’ is believed to have been a form of mania. Dozens of people were killed, from exhaustion or heart attack. People would dance uncontrollably in the streets or at home until they would collapse. There was even one incident where the area’s bridge collapsed after so many people danced on it that it couldn’t bear the abuse any longer!
14. Sweden invented an eco-friendly dance floor
The world’s first eco-sustainable dance floor opened in Rotterdam, Sweden in 2008. The floor employed floor tiles sat on springs hooked up to generators. The more that people on the floor danced, the more compression the springs felt. This was converted into energy which ran LED lights on the floor.