Dancers are a breed apart. From ballet thru belly to break, the dancer performs with an extreme range of motion and emotion.
Dance is the union of movement to rhythm. It spans cultures from soaring ballet leaps to the simple swaying at the school prom.
It is dance, a means of recreation, of communication, of expression and perhaps the oldest yet least preserved of the arts. Its origins are lost in prehistoric times but from the study of the most primitive peoples, it is known that men and women have always danced.
Originally rhythmic sound accompaniment was provided by the dancers themselves. Eventually a separate rhythmic accompaniment evolved, played on animal skins stretched over wooden frames and made into drums and similar instruments. Later, melodies were added. These might have imitated birdcalls or other sounds of nature or a vocal expression of the dancer's or musician's state of mind. The rhythmic beat, however, was the most important element. This pulsation let all the dancers keep time together and also helped to remember their movements. By controlling the rhythm, the leader of a communal dance could regulate the tempo of the movement.
Dances in primitive cultures all had as their subject matter the changes experienced by people throughout their lives. These included changes that occurred as people grew from childhood to old age, those they experienced as the seasons moved from winter to summer and back again, and changes that came about as tribes won their wars or suffered defeats.
From these ceremonial dances came magical and religious dance. These were key types of dance that evolved into the ethnic and social dancing we know today.