The Spirit of Africa Live On : An Exploration of the Influence of African Dance on Contemporary Dance Forms in America
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The practice of dance within humanity has existed since the rise of the first civilizations and establishment of religion and culture. Dance is universal to all cultures and classes of people because of its common purpose and function in society. It can be defined in various ways, such as the expression of a certain emotion, or the telling of a story using movement of the body, often accompanied with music, or the non-verbal, symbolic transformation of experience into action. The many roles of dance in most societies are essentially the same. Dance is used to express the human experience such as in celebration or in times of despair, as well as tell the stories of the cultures and people who create the dance, and also provide an artistic and creative form of recreation. African dance in particular has a long and rich history of influence on the development of contemporary dance forms seen today in America. The goal of this research is to explore and present the ways in which African and African-American dance has impacted and shaped the development of popular dance forms in American society, both in the past and presently.