The dance developed hand in hand with the music around the fire. His main space of contact has always been the public space, expressing through the body what words cannot express. The dance fulfilled a sacred function for fertility, the cultivation of gratitude.
The Forest and The Dance
The forest has been one of the most controversial settings within this art. The dances or country dances where a group of women forms a circle holding hands and dance around the God Pan (it is inevitable not to associate this imaginative construction with the work of Francisco de Goya The Sabbath (1798)). The forest as a mythical place was quickly inserted in the memory of the inhabitants and acquired a sacred character as a symbolic space that housed, beyond mythology, the first offerings of body movements and expressions.
The caves were also part of the first spaces to host the dance. Its main function was ritual and sacred, however, dances were also performed to the rhythm of drums to make spiritual journeys and find your inner guide.
The Muse of Dance, the one who enjoys dancing
With the Greeks, dance is defined as art. Its sacred character fades a little and little by little an artistic character is built around this art. The muse Terpsichore was the muse of dance and music in Greek mythology. He was part of one of the nine Muses of Hesiod who lived on Mount Helicon. One of the translations of her name suggests that it translates as “the one who enjoys dancing”.
Although it is believed that Homer had already captured the sacred nature of dance in the eighth book of The Odyssey. Just when the Phaeacians gave the son of Laertes a dance to the sound of Demodocus’s lyre. The arts are born to be observed by others as a trace to say we have been here and language is not enough for me to express what I feel. Plato and the Greeks were able to capture this bodily sensation and perfect it to leave it embodied in their works.
Music and literature joined dance in ancient Greece to land on the stages where the arts are synthesized for the spectators: dance, music, literature, and architecture. Comedy, tragedy, and theater served as a springboard to promote body expression and thus reach ancient Rome. His space of expression has always been the great theaters and the academies.
The Moralizing Character of Dance
With the Middle Ages, the space of artistic expression changed and dance suffers part of the consequences of censorship because it is related to pagan rites. Although another type of body revelation related to movement arises, such as the “dance of death” and the “low dances” with moralizing purposes. These demonstrations were held outside churches or on pilgrimages. Again the dance is taken to a public space.
The Luxury and Refinement in Dance
In the Renaissance and the Baroque, the maximum artistic refinement of dance is reached, detaching its sacred character and granting an artistic and social weight. The great halls in palaces are the ideal place for these expressions. To this new expression is added a formal dress, according to the physical space where the new artistic ritual is carried out. Luxury, refinement, the most talented musicians of the time, and the overload of visual elements in the space are the elements that welcomed dance in this period.
Later, dance entered spaces where the main activity was music. Large opera halls, cabarets, and concert halls have been responsible for hosting this art. Its impulse in the spaces was so strong that emergent groups were created that took the dance to the streets. Starting in the 20th century, the avant-garde caressed dance and consolidated its artistic character. The space varies according to gender, it can be from a large hall to the streets and public squares.
The 20th century also brings with it dance halls. Spaces where this body art is taught. Around the world, great architectural spaces have been built, such as the Joinville-Pont Dance School in France, the Lliria Dance School in Spain by Hidalgo Mora Arquitectura + Eva Alvarez Salvador + Andreas Feder, the Ypr y+M Ballet School in Tokushima, Japan, and the Socio-Cultural Dance Hall in Hunspach, France built by Heintz-Kehr & as. They are just a brief sample of beautiful spaces that have been created to contemplate the highest artistic expression of the body: dance.