Dance existed since the ancient times, and its purpose went through many variations. In the ancient times, it had the use of curing people of stress in their life. Therefore, it acted as a relaxant. It helped people to cope with their daily struggles in life and the crises that they experienced. In fact, presently there is a branch in psychology dedicated to dance and movement therapy. In this view, watching a performance can also be a therapeutic method in the field. Dance is an art of expressing inner personality and feelings that go beyond the field of language and the boundaries it encloses itself, (Ramona, 2008).
It is thought that there is a profound link between the body’s movement and facial expressions and the emotions that a person experiences. Noted psychologists William James established the fact that if one makes movements that express joy the person will experience joyous emotions., and the vice versa is also true in this case. Most of the time dance is a performance for entertainment but sometimes it expresses emotions that language cannot explain. One form of ancient dance that endures until today is the Zar ritual from Africa. This ritual constitutes forms of spirituality that some may mistake for witchcraft.
It is a form of dance where the person releasing jinn or genies believed to cause emotions of discouragement or depression. These cases especially focus toward the woman. The ritual takes place as the ‘patient’ in this case goes through specific dance moves and percussive rhythms guided by a leader known as a ‘hadra’ with the help of her fiends until the point of exhaustion. The community of the women, who participate along with her, experience the same feeling of alleviated stress. This dance led scientists to believe that movements done during its performance release bodily hormones that downplay the effects of depression.
Another form of ancient dance is belly dancing, which happens to have its roots deep within the history of the world and is currently evolving. It is a composition of folklore dances, and dances that evolved later. The basic emphasis, although, that it encourages is the spreading of joy and happiness for the alleviation of stress. The art expresses deep, serious emotion and women of middle age and above receive great appreciation, for they are the ones best able to perform the dance. Furthermore, a performer can do it at their late stages in life, whereas other dances like ballet require certain age groups.
As unlikely, as it seems strip dancing was a form of ancient dance. The dance characterizes itself by almost naked women in clubs that dance round a pole in order to gain male attention. There are several rules although, in these strip clubs. They have a lower tolerance to disturbance as compared to the usual drinking premises. Whatever a person does; they do not have permission to touch any stripper. If they wish to express their pleasure at the performance of one stripper, they should stuff money inside their garments (bra or g-string) to get their attention.
Strippers can give a person regular lap dances, but the people must control themselves. In history, there are mentions of strip dancing in ancient Egypt and before this time, (ArticlesBase, 2011). It is the erotic style of this dance, which gave rise to well-known belly dancing in the ancient days, which is so popular today. The other more conventional dances were common in Europe. These dances were common in occasions and events. The earliest known forms of dance in this era were the line or chain dance. This form of dance was a Pre-Christian ritual and was widespread throughout Europe up to the Middle Ages, (Eliznik, 2005).
There are few remnants, which remain although in the western part of Europe. In the southeastern part of the continent, they remained the major form of dance. There was the influence from the west on newer dance forms, but the Ottoman Empire soon put a stop this fact. Most of the western European countries put in a break from the social forms of dance, and this led to the decrease of many of the older forms with small areas retaining the culture.
Dance was, therefore, very much a part of the lives of the people of old. In Egypt, workers moved according to the rhythm of the percussions and songs sung by performers on the street. There were street dancers to entertain passersby and hired to perform at dinner parties, though dance in public was a practice restricted to the poor and no noble Egyptian would allow they to do the same. Although, belly dancing is similar to many of the erotic dancing that the Egyptians practiced, much of their dancing was a bit more technical. They included an assortment of movements. These included hops and leaps as well as 180-degree turns. Their feet were also bare at the time.
It seems that their form of dance was quite athletic and required as a certain amount of agility. That goes to reason why the dance remained restricted to certain classes of individuals. The dances were not as the others practiced for the release of stress, in that their own movement was entertaining the individual. These were more performance-based in that they required an amount of skill that a noble person could not possess. It was also common for the women performers to dance while naked or almost naked for the nobles as entertainment. It is no wonder that erotic dancing had some of its roots in ancient Egypt.