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Dance in the United States
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There is great variety in dance in the United States of America, it is the home of the hip hop dance and its derivative Rock and Roll, and modern square dance (associated with the United States of America due to its historic development in that country—nineteen U.S. states have designated it as their official state dance) and one of the major centers for modern dance. There is a variety of social dance and concert or performance dance forms with also a range of traditions of Native American dances.

The reality shows and competitions So You Think You Can Dance[1], Americas Best Dance Crew, and Dancing with the Stars have broadened the audience for dance.


African American dance

African American dances are those vernacular dances which have developed within African American communities in everyday spaces, rather than in dance studios, schools or companies. African American vernacular dances are usually centered on social dance practice, though performance dance and concert dance often supply complementary aspects to social dancing.

Placing great value on improvisation, African American vernacular dances are characterised by ongoing change and development. Because they exist in social spaces and their main 'purpose' is self-expression, they are continually changing to reflect the needs, interests and personalities of their participants.

Alvin Ailey and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is an important example of African American involvement in performance or concert dance.

Swing dance

Mia Goldsmith and Peter Loggins swing dancing at the 100th anniversary of the Moore Theatre (Seattle, Washington), 2007.

The term "swing dance" refers to a group of dances that developed concurrently with jazz music in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. The prototypical swing dance is lindy hop, a popular partner dance that originated in Harlem and is still danced today. While the majority of swing dances began in African American communities as vernacular African American dances, some forms, like Balboa, developed within Anglo-American or other ethnic group communities.

Dances such as the Black Bottom, charleston and tap dance travelled north with Dixieland jazz to New York, Kansas City, and Chicago in the Great Migration (African American) of the 1920s, where rural blacks travelled to escape persecution, Jim Crow laws, lynching and unemployment in the South (during the Great Depression).

Swinging jazz music features the syncopated timing associated with African American and West African music and dance — a combination of crotchets and quavers which many swing dancers interpret as 'triple steps' and 'steps' — yet also introduces changes in the way these rhythms were played — a distinct delay or 'relaxed' approach to timing.

Swing dance is now found globally, with great variety in their preferences for particular dances.

Modern dance

American modern dance developed in the early 20th century alongside American music. . Among the early innovators were Isadora Duncan, the dance company of Ruth St. Denis and her husband-partner, Ted Shawn, her pupils Doris Humphrey, Martha Graham. Modern dance is more of a way to express your feelings and emotions in a deep dance. Sometimes it can be choreographed and other times it can be your freedom of expression. Many of Graham's most popular works were produced in collaboration with leading American composers -- "Appalachian Spring" with Aaron Copland, for example.

Later choreographers, Merce Cunningham introduced chance procedures and composition by field, and Alvin Ailey incorporated African dance elements and black music into his works. Recently, Mark Morris and Liz Lerman have shown that graceful, exciting movement is not restricted by age or body type.

American folk dance


Ballet companies

Dance companies

Dance education


See also


  1. ^ Fox Renews So You Think You Can Dance and Hell's Kitchen, (Accessed July 28, 2006)
  2. ^ Where Are All the Black Swans?, New York Times, published: May 6, 2007 (accessed May 6, 2007)


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