• musicpianoaccordion
    Why is it you think that makes dancing in, at least in nothern Europe, western world something that is never really done alone? One would play music alone but dancing would really never be done alone. You can play a polka or waltz alone at your puano but those dances must be perfomed with at lest another person.

    I am not sure if I even make sense to you but please help me where to start philosophize about this.
  • Bitter Crank
    Start with a definition: What is dance? Some exercise routines look like solitary dance, and some dance is very vigorous exercise. If one is coaxed or coerced onto the dance floor and performs reluctant minimally rhythmic movement, is that dancing? I think it is, but some people would say "You're not dancing, you're just moving your feet a little."

    Some people dance alone -- like a solo ballet performance. But most people think of dance as a social performance, whether they are in close physical contact (tango) or in a group of individuals (disco-type dancing). Many people like line dancing, contra dancing, or square dancing who don't like disco-type dancing. Why might that be? Why don't people still perform the Scandinavian "snake dance" (a string of people clasping hands being led on a fast paced winding route through the village)? We used to do this around the high school homecoming bonfire (50-60 years ago)

    99.9% of the population are not born knowing how to do complicated dances. Rich people employed dancing masters to instruct their children on how to dance. Good dancing skills were a social necessity. How essential are dancing skills now? There are dance studios where one can be taught how to dance. Where bars or groups offer Irish, contra, square, or line dancing, they often begin with a half hour of instruction so more people will feel comfortable participating.

    People who feel alienated from their bodies will probably be reluctant to try and dance in public (like at a bar). This is unfortunate.

    "If I can't dance, I don't want to join your revolution." Emma Goldman, Anarchist organizer, author, agitator
  • Terrapin Station
    One would play music alone but dancing would really never be done alonemusicpianoaccordion

    What is the basis for that claim, though? I'd need an empirical reason to believe that people dancing alone isn't common.

  • Nils Loc
    Europe had ballet, which provides examples of dancing for someone rather than with, and is therefore comparable to other non-european solitary dances for a theater setting.
  • andrewk
    Sure Western people dance alone. Here's a famous case:

  • musicpianoaccordion

    How would one go about degining the term dance in philosophy?

    My question pertains more to dance as a social thing. Be it swedish snoa or american foxtrot.
    I could right now in this moment go and play a nice piece on my piano. I could right now in this moment walk a bit and thus create a solo dance, ie going for a walk and make that into a dance.
    Dance is walking and standing (or something simmilar) made into a dance.
    Dancing it seems is taking the movements we do in our daily life and put them together into something interesying (although we may not do all those movements anymore due to industrialism and work conditions).
    What do you think?
  • Bitter Crank
    Movement per se isn't dance. Movement becomes dance when there is the intention of moving rhythmically, in a pattern, usually to the accompaniment of some sort -- singing, clapping, instruments... whatever is culturally given.

    I'm not dancing when I walk because while there is rhythm to my walk, and I may be listening to music while I walk, there is no intention to move in a particular rhythmic way. If I am in a very good mood, I might skip along; skipping would be a form of dance-walk.

    On the other hand, walking can be part of a dance. There is a square dance sort of thing called a mixer where the dancers form a larger and smaller circle, one inside the other. They walk in opposite directions, holding hands. At a signal, individuals from the two circles who are opposite each other form a transient couple for the next dance. It's just walking, but it is also dance. There's the "cake walk" (whatever that is).

    I find it interesting that many animals engage in movement routines. Birds bowing and stroking each others necks, mountain goats clashing their heads together, dogs who run in circles around their human friends when they are excited, and so on. Movement, among other methods, is a way of binding pairs or groups. Insects do too -- bees' dances to communicate where good blossoms are, for instance. Some birds have been observed moving rhythmically to music -- parrots, not chickadees.

    So, people who go to clubs and dance (whatever dance they are doing, disco or some sort of Keltic rigamarole, tend to develop at least a little bond among themselves. The Shakers danced in church -- the goal was ecstatic trembling, but one of the tools employed was rhythmic dancing--a social circular dance around the worship space. If they didn't get to actual shaking, the rhythmic dance was still good.
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