EVOLUTION OF DANCE

by Staša Aberšek

Dance is an art form consisting of human movement. It is a passion and an escape from reality. Dance has been an important part of tribal life for thousands of years, all over the world. They didn’t have the same language, so they didn’t understand each other, but they did communicate through dance and music. It’s the one thing they all had in common. Traces of dance can be found way back in history, about 30.000 years back. In Egyptian and Indian tombs some paintings that represent figures dancing were discovered. Dances were performed in rituals or ceremonies, but they were also a method of expression. In 18th century the most popular dance was ballet. It evolved in Europe, France and Italy. They wanted to develop ‘new art’, they wanted to tell a story by dancing and the leader behind ballet was Jean-Baptiste Lully. He was a composer and a dancer who wanted to show the world there is more to dancing. Behind every move, dance, there is a story and a message. Before 18th century dancers weren’t ‘allowed to show emotions, but as ballet evolved, people took down their masks and spoke through dance expressions. They let people see their emotions, their pain and people loved it. The era of Romanticism inspired directors with fantasy and mystique. In this era the most famous ballerina was Marie Taglioni. People described her: ”It was like she never touched the ground, she seemed like she was floating around the stage.” With her, ballerinas became more exposed and valuable than male dancers, who were around just to lift ballerinas. But fortunately for male dancers, their appreciation rose with the fame of a Russian dancer Vaslav Nijinsky in the early 20th century. But because of all the exploration in this century, they focused more on individuality and so modern dance appeared. Dancers started showing feelings and pain through different kinds of dancing, they started telling their stories individually and because of all the changes that happened all over the world, people listened. Dancers were expressing love, anger and all their emotions through it. We still use dance as a form of expression. As a dancer you express all your emotions and pain through dancing and when you are over, you feel a huge relief. You put all your anger and passion in it and once you start moving your body, it feels like you won’t be able to stop, but not because you couldn’t, but because you don’t want to. It is about that feeling when you are dancing, that’s why you don’t want to stop. It feels like you have all the power in the world, like there is no limit, there is nothing that can stop you. You are on your own. With modern dance different types of dances evolved, for example hip hop, also known as street dance. It evolved in the 1970s in the United States. Later on rap appeared and it hit golden age in 1980s and1990s. At that time, everything was spinning around hip hop. In Slovenia I must mention our great dancer Nika Kljun. She started dancing in her early childhood, because her parents had their own dance school Bolero.  By the age of three she was competing and dancing professionally. When she was a teenager she became a world champion in hip hop solo dance. Now you can see her on youtube where she posts her own choreographies, she also choreographed many of dances for Dancing with the Stars. She has worked with many celebrities such as  Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and Cher Lloyd. At Gimnazija Slovenj Gradec we have our own dance group called Modern dance (sodobni ples). Through dancing, we tell stories and let people decide on their own the meaning of it, because we are different, we don’t think the same and no opinion is a wrong opinion. But if you really want to know the meaning of a dance, you have to dig deeper and listen to your thoughts, you have to open up to yourself and let your imagination lead you. Maybe you have some unfulfilled dreams of becoming a dancer that you are too afraid to complete. Well, now is the time, don’t wait.