The role of dance in the culture of human society | The Guardian Nigeria News

By Chinelo Eze

December 12, 2021 | 12:23 p.m.

Taking as a waltz the emergence of the forge of culture and tradition of innumerable dance styles in human society, it is evident that the art form of dance is taking its place in society. Through dance, a society is known and many become familiar with people through it, ultimately making it a culture. Based on…

Taking as a waltz the emergence of the forge of culture and tradition of innumerable dance styles in human society, it is evident that the art form of dance is taking its place in society.

Through dance, a society is known and many become familiar with people through it, ultimately making it a culture. Based on antiquity, the dance was first attributed to a nine-thousand-year-old rock painting in India. This perhaps exposes the genesis of dance as a central part of their film scenes, so an Indian film without dance scenes seems strange and questions its cultural credibility. Again, ritual dances are an essential element in the foundation of human civilization. As with its multiple uses for humans, it has been used in the oral performance of ancient cultures as mimes to pass down myths and traditions from one generation to the next.

Therefore, there is a connection between dance and religion that goes back a long way and still unites in contemporary times. The Greeks and Romans infused dance into their religion and their daily life together. In Africa, such rhythmic swaying of the body aligns with religion as a ritual performance that is preserved and merged with life activities at different levels.

Some cultural dances are a theatrical display of color and lightning movement, while others are austere, such as the traditional Geisha dance in Japan, which is revered as a symbol of femininity and nobility. All of her gentle hand movements reflect the Japanese people and her aesthetic cultural norms of harmony are rooted in their way of life.

The rhythmic flow of the body can mean many things to different people dictated by the rhythm of movement. There are war dances to pump up the ego of valiant men and places like Kogi had naked women dancing as a tactical approach to overpowering their opponent. There are ritual dances structured to appease the gods for farmers to have a fruitful season and other types of dance to initiate a process.

The dance is filled with aesthetic values, which makes it distinct from one society to another and is enveloped in symbolism which explains that the cultural heritage of a community is therefore unique from one society to another. Therefore, ritual dances affirm the belief of the society system. In China, the “lion dance” is that of cultural identity. It also serves as a religious and ceremonial dance that signifies and wields good fortune and scares away wandering evil spirits. Therefore, dance is a tool of cultural expression to convey many things about society and to observers. The versatility of the dance makes it nearly impossible to get stuck. In its metamorphosed nature, which thus acts as a cultural identity, “cha cha” is to Cuba what “atilogu” and “achikolo” are to the inhabitants of the State of Enugu in Nigeria. “Bata” is a cultural heritage of the Yoruba in Nigeria and another graceful dance, “swange”, is for the Tiv people of Benue State in Nigeria. The likes of salsa, tango among others are symbolic cultural dances in different geographical contexts.

Although the dance is a free form and may not follow the rules, it still builds on the traditions that existed before it and constantly changes into nuances of a beautiful art form over time and in the space. For example, hip-hop dancers occasionally appropriate certain traditional movements in their dance performances.

On the other hand, in terms of health, dancing acts as a recreational activity, releasing banal activities, reinforcing its recreational values. Despite the dominant nature of the dances, not all dance styles follow this pattern, as they bring into play the cultural sensitivities, religious and belief systems of the society.

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