Tradition in Motion
Dance is used in many different ways. It can tell a story, honor tradition, or express emotion. And the people who perform a dance can be practiced professionals who are masters of their craft or family and friends gathering at a social function. That's the beauty of it; you don't have to be great at dance in order to participate in it. That's one of the reasons why dance is so common at events and celebrations that bring us together, whether it's an intimate wedding or a giant sporting event. Today, we'll explore the dance traditions in our lives and how they have left their marks across generations.
Ask About Today
What are some of our family's dance traditions? Which ones would you want to create around a certain celebration?
If you could pick three people to do a routine on a dance competition show with you, who would they be? They can be anyone from history or even one of your friends.
Skip the Ads
Unfortunately, online videos often start with short advertisements. Remind your campers to click the "Skip" button as soon as they can to move ahead to the video.
Exploring Native American Dance
In native and indigenous cultures, dance was often used to tell a story, to imitate wildlife and flowers, and even to bring about rain. Watch this video to explore some early styles of Native American dance and dress.
Remember: Online videos often start with advertisements. (Annoying, we agree!) Click the "Skip" button as soon as you can to move ahead to the video.
Heartbeat of the War Dance
Percussion instruments, or drums, are often the foundation for dance culture across the world. They help dancers keep the rhythm, but they also hold a deeper meaning for some depending on the ceremony in which they are used. Watch how important drums are in this traditional war dance performed by African Zulu Warriors.
The Hula Warriors
When you think of hula dancing, you might think of women swaying in grass skirts. But in ancient Hawai'i, the first hula dancers were actually men, and those who were the best were chosen to become warriors. Learn more about the hula tradition and the intense training it requires in this video from Great Big Story.
Bollywood's Modern Traditions
In India, Bollywood dance is enormously popular. While many of its rhythms and movements feel modern, it draws heavily on India's classical dance forms and culture. In this article and video, Bollywood dance superstar Shakti Mohan explains how traditional hand gestures, foot movements, and even facial expressions contribute to her performances.
Carrying Dance Traditions into the Future
Watch how young dancers and hip hop artists in New Mexico are bringing their own moves to traditional dances, and preserving elements of their heritage along the way.
Build Your Own Beat
As you've seen today, the beat of a drum is an integral part of dance. Let's use objects from around your home to create your very own drum set! Watch the video first, then gather empty buckets, boxes, cans, and other items you'll need for your set.
If you need to keep your set small and simple, with only one or two drums, that's fine, too! A good, danceable beat doesn't have to be complicated.
Be kind: Be considerate of your parents or other family members before you start drumming! Go someplace quiet if you can, or dampen your drums a bit with towels or clothing.
Learn a Traditional African Dance
In this dance lesson from the Kennedy Center, you'll learn a traditional African dance—by imagining a clock on the ground.