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     The first dance forms, dating from primitive times, were more ritualistic, and it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that dancing as a social activity appeared. Dance as entertainment began with ballet in sixteenth-century France. The following century saw the rise of popular dances around Europe, and some made their way to the United States, where we have since witnessed numerous trends, from rock and roll to disco to hip-hop.

     Our Dance collection focuses especially on ballet and modern dance but includes a sampling of other forms, such as Spanish flamenco, Hungarian folk dancing, and kathak, the ancient, storytelling dance of India. Though ballet began in France, it reached full glory in Russia, which has cultivated an endless list of superb dancers and choreographers, many of whom have come to the West and shared their exquisite technique with others.

     Our coverage of modern dance reveals the full range of experimentation that began with Isadora Duncan and others in the early twentieth century, took a new direction under the leadership of Martha Graham, and continued on with Alvin Ailey, Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, and others. For an astute assessment of the choreographers, dancers, and companies impacting the dance scene today, delve into our Dance collection.

 
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