The origin of social dance can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia (Iraq), Egypt and Greece, where it was used in celebrations of festivals such as festivals for the birth and marriage of the Gods, especially for the gods on their birthday and for their birthday celebrations. For example, the ancient Greeks would make elaborate music using instruments such as lyres, trumpets, flutes and drums and dance around and around the sacred fire of the house, while people would then throw the fire on a platter to their guests. It was a tradition of honor and wealth in the ancient world and was the most accepted form of entertainment among the ancient masses.
Social dance, or kushtoura (kushtoura was the main form of music used in those ancient Greece temples, which could include the classical katakana and greek nynagma), could also be played by the ancient Egyptian slaves and the Egyptians’ slaves used it to entertain themselves at their homes.
However, the Greeks and Romans who ruled these lands had no need for social dance—they had their own versions of it as did the Babylonians, Persians, Syrians, Meschines, Egyptians and others. In fact, the Romans and Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle were the ones who first introduced social dance to the rest of the world.
Why was social dance so important so long ago—and continues to be so important today?
Even though people all share an understanding of the function of social dance, the history of social dance is so intertwined and so interesting that it is best seen as a living and evolving phenomenon.
Social dance was instrumental to cultural and social development for thousands of years. Social dance allowed people to express themselves peacefully in a more social environment. The earliest examples of social dance are also the most dramatic and popular, because they are the ones that used a large array of instruments and sounds throughout the day.
Social dance was also instrumental in the birth of many of the ancient myths, legends and religions—including Buddhism, Islam and Zoroastrianism.
Social dance also helped the ancient Greeks and Romans to survive and thrive, and continue to thrive and thrive today. They used social dance to express the essence of their culture of virtue and compassion, of their culture of learning, of their desire to preserve ancient customs and beliefs and to cultivate an appreciation for all things ancient and ancient history.
What did ancient dancing need to be able to express?