Concert dance

Concert dance

Concert dance (also known as performance dance and theatre dance (particularly in the United Kingdom)), is a category of dances which is performed for an audience and is not participative. By contrast, in Social dance and Participation dance are done without an audience (as such) as all participants perform and watch at the same time. Any type of dance may be danced for the purpose of performance.

Some ceremonial dances, baroque dances and erotic dances are examples of dance forms that are a blend of social and concert dance. In this third category participants take on the roles of performer or audience at different times.

Concert dance does not exclusively occur in the concert or theater setting, rather the category is dependent on the presence of a non-participating audience.

Concert dance has experienced greater exposure with development of mass culture during the second half of 20th century. For example, Michael Jackson choreographed and performed solo and group dance for over 17 million people during his career , with several world tours.

Usually performances are choreographed,and danced to set music whereas social dances are tend not to be choreographed and are danced to changing music. Exceptions include un-standardized social dances like argentine tango, salsa or swing.

The term 'Dance Theatre' means dance performed before an audience at the theatre. The terms dance-drama, dance-theatre and theatre-dance can all be used interchangeably. Today ballet, the erstwhile Persian classical courtroom dances, and the temple dances of India exist primarily as a theatre dance.

There are a range of 20th century concert dance styles. The term is also used to describe hybrid-genre performances in which a significant element of dramatic enactment is incorporated into a dance piece (or vice versa: a drama contains significant elements of contemporary dance). Significant practitioners of dance theatre in this sense include Pina Bausch, Caryl Churchill and DV8.

Concert dance forms

The following dance styles are traditionally considered to be concert dance:


The word ballet originated in Italy from the Italian word ballo (meaning "dance"), and the music for this dance is known as balletto. This courtroom dance originated in Italy, then flourished in France and Russia before spreading to other European countries, the UK, and the USA. Subsequently ballet emerged as an academic discipline and began to be taught in schools and institutions. Troupes both amateur and professional came to be formed: ballet came to the theatre from the courts and flourished as a full-fledged dance theatre.

Temple dances of India

The origin of dance in India was in the Temple. The six dances of India — namely Kathak, Kathakali, Manipuri, Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Kuchipudi — were meant to be performed by the devadasis with the exception of Kathak, which was the only male dance of India. In India, dance instruction was traditionally oral under the guru Shishya Parampara. After Independence, the institution of devadasis (regarded as being akin to prostitution) became banned

Thereafter dance developed as a university subject and dance schools and institutions with curriculums and examinations came into being. People from respectable families came to perform these dances publicly on stage leading to emergence of the dance-drama.

Classical Persian Court Dance

An important era influencing Persian dance was the Qadjar dynasty which reigned from 1795 to 1925. In this period, that dance began to be called “classical Persian dance”. Dancers performed artistic dances in the court of the Shah for entertainment purposes such as coronations, marriage celebrations, and Norouz celebrations (Iranian new year). The rise of the Qadjars liberalizes people's attitudes toward dancing, although it remained in the royal court and among the elite and bourgeois families. The court dancers elevated respect for dance to an art form.

Costuming generally consisted of loosely-fitted long dress with long sleeves, worn with a jacket over it. The jacket extended over the sides of the hips and was either worn open or closed. The Qadjar dancers wore pants under the dress. A purely Persian pant was cut narrow and cuffed and loose at the bottom. Sometimes a Turkish harem pant was worn, extremely full and gathered tight at the ankles. The fabrics were bright in color and flowered. The Shah rewarded performers with jewels, so many costumes had elaborate gold embroidery, pearl beading and gemstones. Upon the head was worn an egret, a small paisley-shaped hat adorned with jewels, pearls and a feather. Hair was worn long and elaborate, with side locks and bangs fashioned into shapes.

Traditionally, the music was played by a small band with one or two melodic instruments and a drum. In the 20th century, the music came to be orchestrated and dance movement and costuming gained a modernistic orientation to the West. In 1928, ballet came to Iran and impacted dance performance, adding a feeling of lightness and more delicate footwork. The jacket was flared more fully at the hips much like a tutu, and the dance form became more modern in outlook and flourished as a performing art.

Modern and Contemporary dance

Theatre dance in the United Kingdom

Within dance education in the United Kingdom, the term theatre dance if often used in reference to the training of children in key theatrical dance skills. A number of dance training organisations exist in Britain, most having a specialist theatre dance branch offering codified syllabi to teach dance to children. Many dance teachers and schools around the world prepare children for various UK based qualifications, most notably with the RAD and IDTA. All UK theatre dance organisations are consistent in offering Ballet, Tap and Modern or Modern Jazz as their core theatre branch subjects, with Theatre Craft or Stage and Freestyle also being common.


Prominent UK dance training/examination organisations are:

See also



  • Adams, D.(1999) Making the Connection: A Comparison of Dance in the Concert Versus Worship Setting. Sharing NYC. ISBN 0-941500-51-9
  • Carter, A. (1998) The Routledge Dance Studies Reader. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-16447-8

External links

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