Contemporary dance is a genre of concert dance that employs compositional philosophy, rather than choreography, to guide unchoreographed movement. It uses dance techniques and methods found in ballet, modern dance and postmodern dance, and it also draws from other philosophies of movement that are outside the realm of classical dance technique.
The term "contemporary dance" is sometimes used to describe dance that is not classical jazz or traditional folk/cultural dance. The hallmark of contemporary dance is an awareness of the limitations of form. Sub-genres recently defined by dance critics include non-dance, conceptual dance and pedestrian contemporary.
African dance refers mainly to the dance of Sub-Saharan Africa, and more appropriately African dances because of the many cultural differences in musical and movement styles. These dances must be viewed in close connection with African music, as many African languages have no word to define music.
These dances teach social patterns and values and help people work, mature, praise or criticize members of the community while celebrating festivals and funerals, competing, reciting history, proverbs and poetry; and to encounter gods. The most widely used musical instrument in Africa is the human voice.
Although nomadic groups such as the Maasai do not traditionally use drums; in villages throughout the continent, the sound and the rhythm of the drumexpress the mood of the people. The drum is the sign of life; its beat is the heartbeat of the community. Such is the power of the drum to evoke emotions, to touch the souls of those who hear its rhythms. In an African community, coming together in response to the beating of the drum is an opportunity to give one another a sense of belonging and of solidarity. It is a time to connect with each other, to be part of that collective rhythm of the life in which young and old, rich and poor, men and women are all invited to contribute to the society.
Hip-hop dance refers to dance styles primarily danced to hip-hop music or that have evolved as part of hip-hop culture. This includes a wide range of styles notably breaking, locking, and popping which were developed in the 1970s by Black and Latino Americans. What separates hip-hop dance from other forms of dance is that it is often freestyle (improvisational) in nature and hip-hop dancers frequently engage in battles—formal or informal freestyle dance competitions. Informal freestyle sessions and battles are usually performed in a cipher, "a circular dance space that forms naturally once the dancing begins." These three elements—freestyling, battles, and ciphers—are key components of hip-hop dance.
Ballet is a formalized form of dance with its origins in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th and 16th centuries. In the 20th century styles of ballet continued to develop and strongly influence broader concert dance, for example, in the United States choreographer George Balanchine developed what is now known as neoclassical ballet, subsequent developments have included contemporary ballet and post-structural ballet, for example seen in the work of William Forsythe in Germany.
The etymology of the word "ballet" reflects its history. The word ballet comes from French and was borrowed into English around the 17th century. The French word in turn has its origins in Italian balletto, a diminutive of ballo (dance). Ballet ultimately traces back to Latin ballare, meaning "to dance".
Kathak is one of the eight forms of Indian classical dances, originated from North India. This dance form traces its origins to the nomadic bards of ancient northern India, known as Kathaks, or storytellers. These bards, performing in village squares and temple courtyards, mostly specialized in recounting mythological and moral tales from the scriptures, and embellished their recitals with hand gestures and facial expressions. It was quintessential theatre, using instrumental and vocal music along with stylized gestures, to enliven the stories. Its form today contains traces of temple and ritual dances, and the influence of the bhakti movement. From the 16th century onwards it absorbed certain features of Persian dance and Central Asian dance which were imported by the royal courts of the Mughal era.
The name Kathak is derived from the Sanskrit word katha meaning story, and katthaka in Sanskrit means s/he who tells a story, or to do with stories. The name of the form is properly कत्थक katthak, with the geminated dental to show a derived form, but this has since simplified to modern-day कथकkathak. kathaa kahe so kathak is a saying many teachers pass on to their pupils, which is generally translated, 's/he who tells a story, is a kathak', but which can also be translated, 'that which tells a story, that is Kathak'.