Dance is a universal art form- aculture’s own rhythmic and patterned succession of movements performed in unison with music.

But more colorfully, dance can be described as motion arising from emotion.  People everywhere have a natural appetite for rhythm and movement.  Dancing expresses moods originating within oneself or evoked by one’s surroundings.  With such universal interest, dance inevitably has evolved into many styles.  Two are represented on these stamps-ballet and folk.

Ballet is a classical dance, usually with music, pantomime, costumes and scenerty to tell a story.  Since colonial days, American audiences have warmly responded to ballet as entertainment and as art.  But, sadly, for two centuries American ballet suffered from lack of either official or private financial support.  Nevertheless, during the early 1900’s, many great dancers won American hearts from the stage of New York’s Metropolitan Opera House.

Ballet Theater, established in 1940, united some of the most distinguished dancers of England and America.  Tours of South America, Europe and the U.S.S.R. were smash hits.  Agnes De Mille’s stunning dances for Oklahoma! and Jerome Robbin’s for West Side Story combined classical ballet with a modern style that infused fresh enthusiasm into American theater.

After 1950, worldwide interest in ballet grew dramatically, and U.S. ballet dancers became important cultural ambassadors.

Folk dancing is a reacreation of the people but is destinct from the more widely popular social styles of dancing.  Like folk songs, it is associated with the lore of particular regions or ethnic groups.  The most common kind is the square dance, traced to the Kentucky running set and derived both from English country dancing and the quadrille- a stately dance performed by the French court.

The square dance is an American quadrille.  It progresses rapidly through patterns within a square, its four sides formed by sets of couples.  To the characteristic sounds of accordion, banjo, fiddle and guitar, and to prompting, patter and singing calls, the couples perform a lively variety of shuffling steps.

These USA 13 cents stamps, designed by John Hill of BEthany, Connecticut, are two of a 1978 block of four illustrating American Dance.  The other two depict theater and modern dance.


About the Author: Nicetas Juanillo

Writing makes me happy away from home. My website is where you can find my tips about lifestyle, health and other issues. I also have books on my site that you can read to know more

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