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History of Folk Dance

Dance is an art form that came into being by purposefully recreating selected sequences of human motion. In dance, lots of symbolism and aesthetic values are involved that are appreciated by observers and performers within the particular culture. Dance can be free from choreography or might involve some traditional moves. Dance can be performed on various functions such as competitive, erotic, social, and martial. Dancing has two distinct forms. One is a theatrical dance in which dancers perform for a specific audience. Second is social dancing in which dancing will be performed in a group to encourage anyone.

Folk Dance

Folk dance was invented several centuries back. About the origin of folk dance, very little detail is available. Nobody can even imagine how folk dancing looked like about two thousand years ago. Historians of folk dancing are very much sure that it already existed at that time. Folk dances are traditional and such dances are taught through generations. So due to this reason, the evolution of folk dance takes place slowly. Several cultural groups preserve the tradition of folk dance. In this article, you will find out the history of folk dance, its evolution, and its current importance. 

Origins of Folk Dancing

Most of the cultural dances came into being because of a social function. It came into being because of lots of agricultural events and weaving recreation into celebrations. Nowadays most of the groups perform the folk dance on stage. Till the middle of the 20th century, it was not performed on stage for the most part. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, this type of exotic dancing gained popularity in Europe. Different artists from Paris and London performed the folk dance and display their culture on stage. They successfully removed the social aspect of the genre. 

As the nature of the folk dance is social, so lots of special costumes were also presented on stage. Not only the costumes were presented, musical rhythms for the cultural dances were also evident. During that time, evidence of slowly evolving cultural tradition and evidence of deep was also seen. Until the last century, there were lots of isolated world regions. Lots of different forms of folk dancing evolved all around the world.

Mexico Folk Dance

Folk dancing from Mexico looks very different from that of Mexico. Although the form of folk dancing was different still it all happened under the umbrella of folk dancing.  Folk dancing appeared as a social activity so it steeped in tradition instead of cultural innovation. 

History of Latin American Folk Dance

Latin American Folk Dance

Influences of African and European immigrants and from native cultures, this Latin American Folk Dance arises from the outset. Native dances of Brazilians are pure in style but folk dancing we know and see today is a merger of different styling. Mexican dances were influenced greatly by Spanish movement styles and rhythms. Samba was influenced by Africans. Since the 1900s lots of folk dances evolved from this region. These dances were latterly converted into the social dance with a performative goal and at the top of the list is Samba. 

History of British Folk Dance

British Folk Dance

Many forms of dance styles evolved in Great Britain over the years.  A good thing about these ancient and traditional dances is these are still part of the modern dance world. 

History of Eastern Folk Dance

Eastern Folk Dance

Lots of different cultural dances have been evolved in the far and middle East. As the region is vast, there is a rich variety of folk dancing. From the Korean Sword Dancing to the Iranian cultural dance there are different forms of folk dancing. 

History of Irish Dance

Irish Dance

The most modern accomplishment of folk dancing was found in Irish step dancing. Live performances such as River dance make it popular in the 1990s. You will see children wearing a traditional Irish dress and rhythmically producing beat with their feet. It is a perfect example of folk dance, and you will see it in the streets as well. 

History of Persian Dance

Persian Dance

Iranian and traditional Persian music starts to develop right from the start. It became the basis for lots of movement schools and several musical schools. Early Iranian music can be divided into Cordoba and Baghdad traditions, and both of these developed their distinct dances. Cordoba style moves to Spain and laid a platform for flamenco dancing along with the other traditional dancing. 

In different regions of Persia, different dance styles came into being. Regarding the timelines of these dances, no historical record is present. Dancing held in many societies but it is still questionable from where it was originated. 

History of Indian Dance

India's ancient dance culture goes back hundreds of years. The UNESCO world heritage site at Bhimbetka rock shelters shows dance scenes from the earliest paleolithic and neolithic cave paintings.

The history of the dance form in India can be traced back to the pre-Vedic period. The people of those times were well versed in the art of dancing, and it was found in a figurine that was found during the excavations at Mohan Jodaro and Harappa.

  • Fugdi - It is a Goan dance performed in the Konkan region. Performed by women, this dance form is given life during Hindu festivals. The dancers make different formations like circles or rows and go about singing and dancing. The dance begins slowly and gains pace gradually.
  • Tertali Dance - It is performed by the Kamar tribe of Chhattisgarh. The dance is performed only by women who start by squatting. A musical instrument called ‘Manjira' is tied all over their body – most commonly to their legs and the same is played by the performers throughout the ritual.
  • Karagattam - It is an ancient folk dance of Tamil Nadu. Karagattam is performed while worshipping the goddess of the rain. Dancers balance huge pots on their heads and dance to the tunes of musicians.
  • Jhumur - This dance is performed in the states of Assam, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Odisha. The dance is performed by young girls while men take care of the musical part. The dancers place their arms around the waist of the adjacent dancer and sway to and fro in a synchronized manner.
  • Chhau - This dance form traces its roots to Odisha, Jharkhand, and West Bengal but it is popular in other parts as well. As masks form an important feature of this dance it is called ‘Chhau', which translates to ‘mask'. The performers wield weapons such as swords and shields while dancing.
  • Bagurumba - It is performed mainly by the Bodo tribe in Assam. Usually performed by the women, the dance is accompanied by instruments like drums and flutes. Bagurumba dance has a rich history and is believed to be inspired by nature.
  • Dalkhai - This dance is popular in parts of Odisha. The dance is performed by young women who are later joined by men, playing drums and other instruments. Interestingly, the men address the women as their girlfriends throughout the play.

More about Folk Dance

An adjective folk was added to noun dance to modify its meaning and add certain kinds of styles and features so that it can be distinguished from other dancing styles. The term folk dance has been in use since the late 19th century. A backlash developed folk dance in the middle of the 20th century. Mostly the word folk is avoided because of the attitude it presents. Most of the dance groups in the world have put an objection to the word “Folk”. They think their performance should not be characterized by this term. Some dancing organizations changed the world folk with traditional.

Common Ground

Folk dancing developed in multiple areas all around the world at the same time. Folk dancing from Brazil is totally different from folk dancing in Korea. One thing that is common in all the folk dancing styles is the tradition. Folk dancing represents the culture and tradition from which it is originated. Folk dancing serves as an important social and artistic function for the people of the same region. 

Due to the historical viewpoint and to preserve the culture focus is on saving the tradition instead of breaking free from them. Folk dancing offers the opportunity to look back on the dancing history and appreciate the artistry along the way. So, the history of folk dancing is different in different regions. In some regions, it is hard to find out when it was originated because no proper documentation is available. To preserve the culture and tradition folk dancing is the best way to do. 


Efforts have been made to get the information as accurate and updated as possible. If you found any incorrect information with credible source, please send it via the contact us form

Sky Hoon
Into Watching Tik Tok Dancing. He loved to watch creative Tik Tok Dancing that show a person's personality. Created this blog to learnt more about dancing.


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