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These figures probably were intended to entertain the dead as they had been entertained in life.Egypt, then, presented a dancing scene that was already varied and sophisticated.
They definitely were aware of the Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qurnah, now in the British Museum, shows dancers dressed only in rings and belts, apparently designed to heighten the appeal of their nudity.
Western dance, history of Western dance from ancient times to the present and including the development of ballet, the waltz, and various types of modern dance.
The peoples of the West—of Europe and of the countries founded through permanent European settlement elsewhere—have a history of dance characterized by great diversity and rapid change.
The West cannot always be clearly distinguished from the non-West, especially in such countries as Russia or other regions of the former Soviet Union, where some dances are Asian and others European in origin and character.
This article focuses on the dance of Western peoples, noting where appropriate the influence of other cultures.
Before written records were left, a vast span of time elapsed about which scholars can only speculate.
Pictorial records in cave paintings in Spain and France showing dancelike formations have led to the conjecture that religious rites and attempts to influence events through sympathetic magic were central motivations of prehistoric dance.
These records speak of a class of professional dancers, originally imported from the interior of Africa, to satisfy the wealthy and powerful during hours of leisure and to perform at religious and funerary celebrations.
These dancers were considered highly valuable possessions, especially the from Memphis in Egypt described in detail the performance of an apparently rumba-like couple dance with an unquestionably erotic character.
Whereas most dancers of the East repeated highly refined forms of movement that had remained virtually unchanged for centuries or millennia, Western dancers showed a constant readiness, even eagerness, to accept new vehicles for their dancing.
From the earliest records, it appears that Western dance has always embraced an enormous variety of communal or ritual dances, of social dances enjoyed by many different levels of society, and of skilled theatrical dances that followed distinct but often overlapping lines of development.
In their dance for generation and regeneration, they frantically stamped the ground and whirled about in rhythmic convulsions.