Folk dance is a form of dance that reflects the traditional life of the people of a certain country or region. Folk dance originated in the 18th century to distinguish dance forms of common people from those of the upper classes. The steps of folk dances are passed through generations, rarely being changed. Folk dance is usually associated with social activities, although some folk dances are performed competitively.
They are dances performed at social functions by people with little or no professional training, often to traditional music or music based on traditional music. They are not designed for public performance or the stage, although traditional folk dances may be later arranged and set for stage performances.
The term “folk dance” is sometimes applied to dances of historical importance in European culture and history; typically originated before 20th century. For other cultures the terms “ethnic dance” or “traditional dance” are sometimes used, although the latter terms may encompass ceremonial dances.
There are a number of modern dances, such as hip hop dance, that evolve spontaneously, but the term “folk dance” is generally not applied to them, and the terms “street dance” or “vernacular dance” are used instead. The term “folk dance” is reserved for dances which are to a significant degree bound by tradition and originated in the times when the distinction existed between the dances of “common folk” and the dances of the “high society”.
Types of folk dance include clogging, English country dance, International folk dance, Irish dance, Maypole dance, Morris dance, Nordic Polska dance, Ball de bastons, Square dance, and Sword dance. Sword dances include Longsword dances and Rapper Dancing. Some choreographed dances such as contra dance, Israeli folk dance, Scottish country dance, and modern Western square dance, are called folk dances, though this is not true in the strictest sense. Country dance overlaps with contemporary folk dance and ballroom dance. Most country dances and Ballroom Dances originated from folk dances, with gradual refinement over the years.
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Morris Dancing in Oxford