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Dance (from Old French dancier, perhaps from Frankish) generally refers to human movement either used as a form of expression or presented in a social, spiritual or performance setting.

Dance also is used to describe methods of non-verbal communication (see body language) between humans or animals (bee dance, mating dance), motion in inanimate objects (the leaves danced in the wind), and certain genres.

Choreography is the art of making dances.

Definitions of what constitutes dance are dependent on social, cultural, aesthetic, artistic and moral constraints and range from functional movement (such as folk dance) to codified, virtuoso techniques such as ballet. Dance disciplines exist in sports such as gymnastics, figure skating, and synchronized swimming, and martial arts kata are often compared to dance.

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An elbow stand, performed as part of an acro dance routine.
Acro dance is a style of dance that combines classical dance technique with precision acrobatic elements. It is defined by its athletic character, its unique choreography, which seamlessly blends dance and acrobatics, and its use of acrobatics in a dance context. It is a popular dance style in amateur competitive dance as well as in professional dance theater, such as Cirque du Soleil. Acro dance is known by various other names including acrobatic dance and gymnastic dance, though it is most commonly referred to simply as acro by dancers and dance professionals.

Acrobatic dance emerged in the United States and Canada in the early 1900s as one of the types of acts performed in vaudeville. Although individual dance and acrobatic acts had been performed in vaudeville for several decades prior to 1900, it was not until the early 1900s that it became popular to perform acts that combined dance and acrobatic movements. Since the decline of the vaudeville era, acrobatic dance has undergone a multi-faceted evolution to arrive at its present-day form. The most significant aspect of this evolution is the integration of ballet technique as the foundation for dance movements, thus bringing into acro dance a precision of form and movement that was absent in vaudeville acrobatic dance.

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A tap dancer jumping into the air
Credit: Airborne tap dancer, photo by Lambtron

Tap dance is a form of dance in which the shoes worn by the dancer, known as tap shoes, are used as percussive instruments. The percussive sounds are made by metal "taps" on the heel and toe of each shoe.

Selected biography

Debbie Allen (born January 16, 1950 in Houston, Texas) is an American actress, choreographer, director, and producer. She first began receiving critical attention in 1980, when she appeared in the role of Anita in the Broadway revival of West Side Story which earned her a Drama Desk Award.

She is probably best known for her role as Lydia Grant in the hit 1982 TV series Fame. During the opening montage of each episode, Ms. Grant told her students: "You've got big dreams? You want fame? Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start paying... in sweat." Allen was also lead choreographer for the film and television series, winning two Emmy Awards and one Golden Globe Award.

She has a B.A. in classical Greek literature, speech, and theater from Howard University. She also holds honoris causa Doctors from Howard and the North Carolina School for the Arts.

Did you know

... that Rosina Galli was the prima ballerina at La Scala Theatre Ballet before she became the première danseuse at the Metropolitan Opera House?

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir

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Lautrec la troupe de mlle eglantine (poster) 1895-6

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