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History of Dance

By TerrErr
  • Period: 9999 BCE to 9500 BCE

    Paleolithic Period

    Earliest period of human development. Began around two million years ago.
  • 9500 BCE

    Cave Paintings

    Cave Paintings
    The only evidence we have that showed that dance existed in the paleolithic and neolithic times.
  • 9500 BCE

    Indigenous Dance

    Indigenous Dance
    Transformed Ideas, thoughts, feelings into movement. There is Social and Religious dance. Utilized simple and imitative moves (clap, hop, stomp...)
  • 9500 BCE


    Danced to worship/appease gods. Also to give blessings for birth, marriage, death, agriculture, before and after war, etc...
  • 9500 BCE

    Gender Roles

    Gender Roles
    Dance solidified gender roles in society. They showed how men and women interacted. There were also gender specific performances
  • Period: 9500 BCE to 3600 BCE

    Neolithic Period

    Period in which human technology developed; the last part of the stone age. Rise of farming and metal tools.
  • Period: 3600 BCE to 500

    Ancient Period

    Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, Bronze and Iron ages occurred.
    Ended with the fall of multiple major empires (Romanian, Han Dynasty, Gupta.)
  • 3500 BCE


    Development of vocal language and agriculture, invention of writing, creation of centralized government and religion, class distinction.
  • 1500 BCE


    Believed to have brought dance to India and inspired Bharata Muni to write Natya Shastra
  • 1400 BCE

    Bharata Muni

    Bharata Muni
    Wrote the Nayta Shastra; treatise on performing arts; combining dance and drama. 1400BCE-1200BCE
  • Period: 800 BCE to 146 BCE

    Ancient Greece

    Worshiped, honored, and celebrated the twelve major Olympian gods (Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Ares, Aphrodite, Apollo, Artemis, Hephaestus, Hermes, Hestia/Dionysus,) and others in mythology through theatre, dance, art, and music.
  • Period: 753 BCE to 476

    Ancient Rome

    Worshiped, Honored, and celebrated the 12 Roman Gods Jupiter, Juno, Mars, Mercury, Neptune, Venus, Apollo, Diana, Minerva, Ceres, Vulcan, and Vesta through theatre, dance, music, and art.
  • 500 BCE

    Golden Age of Greece

    Golden Age of Greece
    Laid the foundation for the civilization and began with the defeat of the Persian army. (500-300 BCE)
  • 500 BCE


    Also called Bacchus or Liber Pater (in Rome). Often compared to Wine for his duality of joy and ecstasy to brinding rage. Celebrated by both Greeks and Romans through dance and plays.
  • 500 BCE


    God of music, poetry, prophecy, truth, archery, healing, art, light/sun... Celebrated and honored by both Romans and Greeks.
  • 500 BCE


    One of the nine muses. Patron of dancing and lyric poetry; is often seen playing the flute.
  • 500 BCE


    choral hymn of Ancient Greece that was mainly dedicated to Dionysus, invented by Arion, a Greek poet and musician.
  • 27 BCE

    Golden Age of Rome

    Golden Age of Rome
    Also considered "Pax Romana" or "Roman Peace." Began when Augustus came into power. Economy, Arts, Architecture, and commerce flourished. (27BCE-180BCE)
  • Period: 500 to 1520

    Medieval Era

    The Dark and Middle Ages, and Islamic Golden Age
  • 501

    Dark Ages

    Dark Ages
    Begins with the fall of the Roman Empire (500CE-1000CE).
  • 622

    Islamic Golden Age

    Islamic Golden Age
    poets, scientists, philosophers wrote thousands of books. Scholars translated Western writings to Arabic. Advances in science and math; creation of algebra. (622CE-1258CE)
  • 1000

    Middle Ages

    Middle Ages
    Began at the end of the Dark Ages. The start of the Renaissance. Still sometimes called the Dark Ages. (1000CE-1500CE)
  • 1000

    Belly Dance

    Belly Dance
    Origin is debated; some say from Egypt and others say it began in India and migrated to the rest of Middle East. The dance is characterized by rocking and swaying hips and rhythmic full-body/arm movements. Blends smooth movements with staccato movements. Costume varies on location and developed in 1900's.
  • 1519

    Catherine de Medici

    Catherine de Medici
    Daughter of a rich family that loved the arts in Italy. She married into French royalty and eventually became Queen. Her love of the arts influenced France to embrace Italian culture (architecture, paintings, dance, fashion.) She helped introduce ballet.
  • 1520

    Early Ballet

    Early Ballet
    introduced around 1500's when Catherine de Medici married into French royalty and influenced her Italian culture to France.
  • Period: to

    Baroque Era

    Began with the end of the Medieval Era.
  • King Louis XIV

    King Louis XIV
    Louis The Great, Sun King (le Roi Solei), King of France. Influenced a lot of art into the culture of France; a great patron in the arts. He was a dancer himself and trained for Ballet. Created the dance: Académie Royale de Danse in 1661. (1643CE-1715CE).
  • Dances

    popular dances were the courante, sarabande, allemande, and gigue.
  • Composers and New Music

    Composers and New Music
    With the introduction of famous composers (Bach, Vivaldi and Handel,) , new styles of music were created: concerto, sonata, opera.
  • Fair Sex - Women Dancers

    Fair Sex - Women Dancers
    Women performers were restricted from performing with a lot of movement. It was considered immodest if they rose their leg too high, showed their undergarments, and wore a dress that showed off their legs. If they showed their undergarments, they would be fined. Men had more freedom. These barriers were broken by Marie Sallé and Camargo.
  • Marie Sallé

    Marie Sallé
    French Dancer and choreographer that rivaled Camargo that had her debut in Paris Opera. She is known to be one of the first women choreographers. She also appeared in a performance without the traditional clothing; wearing a Grecian style dress and undecorated hair. She also did not wear masks for her performances; which masks were typically worn.
  • Marie-Anne De Cupis Camargo

    Marie-Anne De Cupis Camargo
    Female French Ballet dancer that rose to stardom and broke down walls that separated men and women on the French stage by performing an improvised dance in place of a male performer. Started heightening her skirt first.
  • Filippo Taglioni

    Filippo Taglioni
    Dancer and Choreographer during Romantic Era. He thought his daughter, Marie was horrid at dancing and put her through intense training. When she became successful, he choreographed La Sylphide for her to perform.
  • Marie Taglioni

    Marie Taglioni
    Ballet Dancer
    Daughter of Filippo Taglioni. Had a hunchback and teachers gave up on her. Her father took over her training, she endured and eventually became extremely popular. She starred in La Sylphide, a piece her father choreographed for her and Pas de Quatre
    She was first to dance en pointe for the entire show.
    Her style: Floating leaps, balanced poses and delicate, restrained use of points.
  • August Bournonville

    August Bournonville
    Danish Ballet Dancer, Choreographer, and Instructor
    - Inventor of the Bournonville Method that focuses on grace and appear weightless and effortless. Offical Training Technique of Royal Danish Ballet.
  • Pauline Leroux

    Pauline Leroux
    French Dancer and member of the Paris Opera. 1821 to 1827, Some performances that made her success- La tentation, Leda, the Swiss Milkmaid, Le Diable Boiteux , The Devil in Love
  • Jules Perrot

    Jules Perrot
    Dancer and Choreographer. Famous piece he choreographed was Giselle and Pas De Quatre.
    Was fired and took out of the Opera by Marie Tanglioni because she disliked his growing popularity.
    Used to date Carlotta Grisi
  • Fanny Elssler

    Fanny Elssler
    Pagan Dancer
  • Fanny Cerrito

    Fanny Cerrito
    Italian Ballet Dancer and choreographer Debuted in 1832 at Teatro San Carlo, Fame began to spread in 1836-1837 when she appeared in Vienna. Was in Pasde Quatre Prima Ballerina at La Scala (1838-1840)
  • Carlotta Grisi

    Carlotta Grisi
    Ballet Dancer in Romantic Era
    Original Ballerina in Giselle, also in Pas de Quatre. Was Perrot's lover until he eventually left her because he did not get credit for his work.
  • Lucille Grahn

    Lucille Grahn
    Danish Ballerina
  • Period: to

    Romantic Ballet

    Part of a bigger movement called Romanticism. Consisted of a lot of supernatural and magical fascination with a revolt against aristocratic social/political norms. These ballets were characterized by smooth, light, and whimsical movements. With the introduction of the heavy women presence in dance and changes in costume.
  • Cult of the Ballerina

    Cult of the Ballerina
    Essentially a weirder way to call a fan club; a fan club that loved ballerinas. People back then were insane for these female dancers. There were even people who stopped a carriage and asked a performer to dance for them.
  • Romantic Tutu

    Romantic Tutu
    Costumes changed in the Romantic Period for ballet. Theycame to about the mid-calf and were light colored, mainly white. The shortening of the skirt allowed the female dancers to dance freely and dance more complex rhythms with their legs and feet.
  • Female Ballerinas

    Female Ballerinas
    During the Romantic Era, the presence of Female ballerinas increased; Women dominated ballet and gained a massive following. In this era we have even more women rise to stardom: Marie Taglioni, Lucille Grahn, Carlotta Grisi,Fanny Elssler, Fanny Cerrito, Pauline Leroux.
  • La Sylphide

    La Sylphide
    Choreographed by Filippo Tanglioni | Original Ballerina - Marie Tanglioni STORY Sylph falls in love with a man named James who is to be wed. The madge predicts that James's fiance will marry another. Sylph steals the wedding ring and James chases her into the forest. The madge enchants a scarf and tells James to catch the Sylph with it. He does, leading the Sylph to its death. ends with James hearing a wedding festival when he's still in the forest; Effie is marrying someone else.
  • Pointe Shoes

    Pointe Shoes
    Type of shoe worn by ballet dancers whenever they perform pointe work; they help the dancer appear weightless and floaty.
    Marie Tanglioni introduced pointe shoes into her performance to enhance her emotion and expression, and 20th century ballerina Anna Pavlova added leather for increased support because of her pains.
  • Giselle

    Choreographed by Jules Perrot | Original Ballerina - Carlotta Grisi (1841) STORY Young peasant girl named Giselle meets and falls in love with a guy who is in disguise, and engaged. She finds out he is not who he says he is, and that he is engaged, and died due to heartbreak. Giselle becomes a Wili and saves her lover from the other Wilis.
  • Pas de Quatre

    Pas de Quatre
    choreographed by Jules Perrot in 1845 Basically, the four Ballerinas: Taglioni, Grisi, Grahn, and Cerrito were rivals in dance and often quarreled which one was better than the other. This dance was created to show off their skills to see who is best. They fought over who would perform alone last, and it ended up being by birth order by the youngest starting first: Grisi, Grahn, Cerrito, then Taglioni.
  • Sergei Diaghilev

    Sergei Diaghilev
    1872-1929 Founded Ballets Russes compared to a bulldog in appearance diabetic and very superstitious
  • Period: to

    Classical Period

    Took place in the last half of the 19th century. 1877-1900
  • Swan Lake

    Swan Lake
    Premiered 1877. Classical Ballet. Choreographed by Marius Petipa and Composed by Tchaikovsky.
    One of the most difficult classical ballets to perform.
  • Marius Petipa

    Marius Petipa
    1818-1910 French Ballet Master/Choreographer -laid foundation for school of Russian Ballet. -Trained by his father who was a Ballet Master starting at age seven -first outstanding success was La Fille du Pharaon (The Pharaoh’s Daughter)
  • Vaganova Method

    Vaganova Method
    otherwise known as Russian Ballet, developed by Agrippa Vaganova. influenced by the techniques from French and Italian Ballet and developed a mixture of jumps and adiagos. They focus on developing their lower back strength, flexibility, endurance, arm plasticity, and requisite strength. Her method is known to be very clean and soft, rather than robotic and stiff.
  • Cecchetti Method

    Cecchetti Method
    Made by Enrico Cecchetti. Known to be a strict regimen that teaches the student to be able to rely on their instincts rather than imitating their teacher's movements. Special concern of Anatomy. Has the student think of every movement with each part of their body not as a part, but in relation to developing lines.
  • The Royal Academy of Dance (English Method

    The Royal Academy of Dance (English Method
    One of the youngest methods. Focuses on attention to detail, one of the slowest training methods. Very meticulous and makes sure the student is correct in every move.
  • Michel Fokine

    Michel Fokine
    1880-1942 Born in St Petersburg, Russia -Accepted into Imperial Ballet School at age of nine. Works The Dying Swan, Cleopatre, Carnaval, The Firebird
  • Ana Pavlova

    Ana Pavlova
    1881-1931 Famous Russian Prima Ballerina and Choreographer Performed in the Dying Swan.
  • Sleeping Beauty

    Sleeping Beauty
    Premiered 1890. Adapted from the 1697 story "The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood." by Charles Perrault. Choreographed by Marius Petipa and Composed by Tchaikovsky.
  • Vaslov Nijinsky

    Vaslov Nijinsky
    1890–1950 Born in Kiev, Ukraine Ballet Dancer, Choreographer -looked different for every role he played -All of his Ballets were extremely controversial/really sexual Works ballet Le Sacre du Printemps, afternoon of a Faun
  • Period: to

    Modern Dance

    Began in the late 19th Century out of rebellion against strict movement of Ballet.
  • Bronislav Nijinska

    Bronislav Nijinska
    1891-1972 Works Les Noces (1923), The Blue Train (1924), and Les Biches (1924)
  • Serpentine Dance

    Serpentine Dance
    Danced by Loie Fuller
    allowed it to be filmed by Auguste and Louis Lumiere.
  • The Nutcracker

    The Nutcracker
    Premiered 1892. The "Christmas Ballet" of US. The story of the Nutcracker was based on a story titled "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King." written by E.T.A. Hoffman in 1816. Choreographed by Marius Petipa and his assistant Lev Ivanov. Composed by Tchaikovsky.
  • Fire Dance

    Fire Dance
    Danced by Loie Fuller. Originally collab with Follies Bergere.
    utilized combination of fabric manipulation and Fuller's light inventions/experimentations. Illusion that she was being consumed by fire. Floor lights that were directed at her costume through glass plate that had been placed in a stage opening (of trap door). Light operator changed out colors, creating image of fire.
  • Mary Wigman

    Mary Wigman
    German Dancer and choreographer She was another influencer of modern dance and went against social norms. She stood for similar things that Isadora stood for. She believed that ballet was not expressie enough, and she wore clothing that was different and was not attractive to the audience. She taught her students to move freely and be expressive.
  • Duncan's Philosophy

    Duncan's Philosophy
    Duncan's Manifesto states that nature is the source of dance, and therefore rejects ballet. She believed that the steps were lackluster and the opposite of natural motion. She felt that the solar plexus and torso were the root of all movement. Also movement grows out of emotions evoked by the music. Natural movements included running, walking, skipping, jumping, and acceptance of gravity. This included material that was loose and showed off the body. Dance is an expression of the soul.
  • Change (Ballet)

    Change (Ballet)
    The storylines, costumes, and development of how ballets were created changed during the Classical Period.
    Technique: became a blend of purity of the French ballet and the technical qualities of Italian Ballet.
    Costumes: Skirts shortened to the Tutu we know today. Pointe shoes were reinforced at the ends.
    Storyline: Elements of fantasy, less ethereal and more regal
    Formula: 1 Villain vs 1 Hero. Hierarchy of Performers (Soloist/Ensemble)
  • Ballet Russes

    Ballet Russes
    Ballet Company based in Paris that performed from 1909-1929 Run by Serge Diaghilev -brought back the feelings and expression used in ballet, since a lot of ballet had a tendency to focus on skill and technique -brought in Russian influence than western influence
  • Denishawn Dance Company

    Denishawn Dance Company
    Started by Ruth St Denis and Ted Shawn Denishawn dance company was considered to be the first official training school of dance in America -they trained the first generation of true modern dance creators -they taught basically every dance they could at the time (ballet, exoti, yoga, dance history, practical instruction...)
  • Isadorables

    Six dancers that were Isadora Duncan's students. took her last name when she adopted them in 1917. Performed all over the world but dissolved when some performed on their own.
  • Isadora Duncan

    Isadora Duncan
    She is considered to be the creator/mother of modern dance. -Helped free dance from its conservative restrictions -created a manifesto "The Dance of the Future (1903)." in which she stated that Ballet goes against natural motion Her manifesto and belief on what dance was not only brought philosophy into dance, but created a whole new genre for dance (modern.) She went against societal norms by wearing revealing clothing as well as loose fitting clothing
  • Loie Fuller

    Loie Fuller
    1862-1928 Pioneer of Modern dance and theatrical lighting techniques Pieces: Serpentine Dance (1891) Fire Dance (1895) -Symbol of Art Nouveau Movement
  • "Lifting Machine"

    "Lifting Machine"
    Around the time where female performers dominated ballet and male performers began to lessen. It was noticed around this time where male dancers acted more as "lifting machines" to lift up the women rather than dance most of the time. Ballet also started to be seen as more effeminate and unmanly, even though ballet began with Male dancers dominating the scene.