8/19/2010

The Historical Evolution of Dances

After looking at the most seen video on youtube:




I thought, as so many others, what a brilliant performance that was. The fluidity of the video was certainly something I couldn't equal. So, instead, I decided to take a look at history and portray how exactly has single dance evolved since the late 19th century. The video you're about to see was all done with information from Wikipedia (which means that at least its verifiable) and clips from Youtube.

I thank all of those who gladly shared their content for free, to which I thank by linking back to them (in the video info)

Video footage will not always match the original year of the respective dance.







So what dances don't match their original birth year? The footage I used for the 1910's Calypso Dance is an example of that. The 1930's Moonwalk, while indeed including footage from the 1930's, has a more contemporary background sound and some footage also of a later time. In the 1950's, the audio for the skanking dance is probably not from the 1950's since the twist dance is mentioned and only appeared as early as 1959, but only became worldwide known in the early 60's.

In the 1970's, 1980's and 1990's pretty much all the footage is from contemporary videos except the early hip-hop locking dance scene There's a clear disadvantage, since it does not exactly show early examples of the dance. But on the other hand, it shows a more mature and developed form of the dance.

In the 2000's (The Noughties), all the footage is from that time. One clear distinction we see, particularly from late 00's videos (2005-2009) are the use of video editing techniques in order to make the experience of dancing look more interwined with the act of looking at a video. Before all people did was record the camera and dance in front of it.

I had to stay out of Partner Based dance, even though I love some forms of it (particularly jitterbug and lindy hop) because it would just have made a mess out of the video. Perhaps someone will take the next step.

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On a more sociological note, there has been an interesting phenomena. Two of the most recent and extremely popular dances, such as Tecktonik/Electro-Dance and Drum & Bass Step/X-Outing all have roots on previous dances but manage to completely look different to them.

Take Tecktonik/Electro-Dance, for example. It combines Vogue, Waacking and Hip-Hop dancing to create something new. While its obvious that all dances base themselves on their predecessors, its curious to see how some manage to re-invent the aesthetic outcome when being practiced on the dancefloor.

Drum & Bass Step/X-Outing, on the other hand, bases itself on the famous Crip-walk and the more contemporary JumpStyle to create something that also looks completely new, besides being danced to a whole different genre of music.

I also forgot to add that, inside each decade, the order of appearance of each dance is not chronological. This is clear in the 1990's, where I show JumpStyle first than Hakken, when in fact it was Hakken which influenced the appearance of JumpStyle.


Its also curious to see how battling has had an increased growth ever since the 70's. Before, people who danced didn't really battle against one another. But with the appearance of more complex dances, like hip hop locking and b-boying/breakdance, somehow people started to use dance solely as a mean to battle others in a non-violent way. Throughout history, more modern dances like JumpStyle, Electro-Dance and Drum & Bass Step also have a very strong battling component.

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