Category Dance Forms

Which is the Indonesia’s traditional lion dance used as a storytelling device to depict the triumph of good over evil?

In Balinese mythology, Barong is a prominent character taken the form of a lion, regarded as the King of the Spirits who represents Virtue. Barong is seen as ‘a guardian angel’. Opposing Good is represented by another mythical creature called Rangda (‘widow’ in Javanese), the Queen of Demons. Rangda leads an army of evil witches against the leader of the forces of Good. As a mirror of life, the Barong Dance portrays the two characters involved in a never-ending battle.

Balinese people believe each region has its own protective spirit for its forests and lands. For each region, Barong is modeled after a different animal. Barong Ket (Lion Barong) is the most common type found in almost every part of the Island. While Barong Buntut is a type of Barong which only features its front, usually performed by a single dancer. Other types of Barong include Barong Landung (Giant Barong), Barong Celeng (Boar Barong), Barong Macan (Tiger Barong), Barong Naga (Dragon/Serpent Barong).

Regular Barong dance performances can be found in many places in Bali, however, the most popular are performed by the Batu Bulan villagers in the district of Gianyar, or at Kesiman, Denpasar.


Picture Credit : Google

A form of theatre that’s been around for nearly four centuries, which traditional Japanese art form uses dance and song in a highly stylized way?

Kabuki, traditional Japanese popular drama with singing and dancing performed in a highly stylized manner. A rich blend of music, dance, mime, and spectacular staging and costuming, it has been a major theatrical form in Japan for four centuries. The term kabuki originally suggested the unorthodox and shocking character of this art form. In modern Japanese, the word is written with three characters: ka, signifying “song”; bu, “dance”; and ki, “skill.”

Traditionally, a constant interplay between the actors and the spectators took place in the Kabuki theatre. The actors frequently interrupted the play to address the crowd, and the latter responded with appropriate praise or clapped their hands according to a prescribed formula. They also could call out the names of their favourite actors in the course of the performance. The plays often present conflicts involving such religious ideas as the transitory nature of the world (from Buddhism), and the importance of duty (from Confucianism), as well as more general moral sentiments. Tragedy occurs when morality conflicts with human passions. 


Picture Credit : Google

Originating in Odisha, which dance form is considered to be among the oldest surviving Indian classical dances?

Odissi is indigenous to Orissa in eastern India. It is predominantly a dance for women, with postures that replicate those found in temple sculptures. Based on archaeological findings, odissi is belived to be the oldest of the surviving Indian classical dances. Odissi is a very complex and expressive dance, with over fifty mudras (symbolic hand gestures) commonly used.

Initially called ‘Odra-Nritya,’ Odissi is a dance form that’s not just popular in India but also appreciated all over the world. It is a perfect example of great body movements, expressions, and gestures. Its performance collection includes an invocation, nrita, nritya, natya, and moksha.

The themes of this dance come from Vaishnavism and others associated with Hindu gods and goddesses like Shiva, Surya and Shakti.

On top of all this, jewellery that is mostly silver unlike other dance attires that use gold, adds to the charm of the whole dance form. The waistband is another must-add.

This particular dance form is now globally recognised and it entered into the Guinness Book of World Records in 2012 after 560 Indian Odissi dancers gave a performance together to create a new record.


Picture Credit : Google

Which dance form, marked by pointe work that efficiently uses toes, originated in Italy around the 15th Century?

It’s generally agreed that ballet began as a formalized court dance that originated in 15th-century western Europe, first in Italy, then, as Italian nobles and French nobles married, spread to the French courts. Catherine de Medici was an early supporter of the dance and funded early ballet companies in the court of her husband, King Henry II of France. 

In the 19th century, ballet migrated to Russia, giving us classics like “The Nutcracker,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Swan Lake.” The Russians also contributed importantly to the evolution of ballet technique and with that the dominance of highly skilled female ballet dancers or ballerinas.

Defining ballet, on the other hand, is difficult unless one creates a definition that emphasizes its history rather than a specific choreographic vocabulary. What we know as ballet today, which is the neoclassical ballet pioneered by Balanchine, involves dance techniques that bear only the remotest resemblance to the dances that evolved as “ballet” in the Italian and French courts. 

In the 21st-century, important ballet choreographers now incorporate techniques from various “non-balletic” sources. But, although defining it may be difficult, somehow we have a reliable understanding of what is ballet and what is not when we actually see it being danced. 


Picture Credit : Google

Which dance form, usually accompanied by songs, a stick tapped on the floor to keep time, and guitar music, is associated with the Andalusian gypsies of Spain?

Flamenco, form of song, dance, and instrumental (mostly guitar) music commonly associated with the Andalusian Roma (Gypsies) of southern Spain. (There, the Roma people are called Gitanos.) The roots of flamenco, though somewhat mysterious, seem to lie in the Roma migration from Rajasthan (in northwest India) to Spain between the 9th and 14th centuries. 

Flamenco dancers, known as bailaores and bailaoras, are serious and passionate. Typical of flamenco dance, a dancer will often stand motionless and free of expression for the first few moments of a song.

As the dancer begins to feel the music, the dancer might begin a steady beat of loud hand clapping. Then, as emotion builds, the dancer will begin a passionate dance. The dancing often involves fierce stomping, sometimes made louder with percussion attachments on the shoes, and graceful arm movements. Castanets are sometimes held in the hands for clicking, and folding fans are occasionally used for visual impact.


Picture Credit : Google

Which ballroom dance emerged in the late 19th Century in Buenos Aires, and is said to be a mix of dance forms from Spain and Argentina?

Tango is one of the most influential and famous dances of the modern history, originating from the streets of 18th century Buenos Aires in Argentina and Montevideo in Uruguay as the favorite dance of the European immigrants, former slaves, working and lower classes of people. With the rich history, numerous types and styles, and incredible appeal, tango dance remains one of the most popular dances in the entire world.

First historical record of the word “tango” can be found in the government proclamation in Argentina dated to 1789, in which authorities place a ban on “tango” musical gatherings that were frequented by slaves, lower classes of free people living in the port areas of Buenos Aires. The commonplace use of the word Tango in Argentina gained traction around 100 years later, near the very end of 19th century.

Music and dance elements of tango are popular in activities related to gymnastics, figure skating, synchronized swimming, etc., because of its dramatic feeling and its cultural associations with romance.

Tango appears in different aspects of society: Regular milongas and special festivals. A very famous festival is the Tango Buenos Aires Festival y Mundial in Buenos Aires. On a regional level there are also many festivals inside and outside of Argentina. One local festival outside Argentina is Buenos Aires in the Southern Highlands in Australia.


Picture Credit : Google