Dance around the World


Sharing a Story with Dance

There are many different types of dancing in the world that share stories between the dancers and the audience. Most of these are very formal dance styles. Thai culture has long told stories through dance. It takes years of practice to master the more than 100 different positions used in Thai dance. The potential dancer must take classes and study with a master. The character they are allowed to portray on stage is decided by their level of mastery.

Ballet has long been a dance format that tells a story. There are a great number of ballets that have been popular for centuries. The Nutcracker Ballet is one of the most popular in the world. It is the story of a young girl presented with a life-sized Nutcracker doll. She worries about her doll and sneaks down to the living room to hold it during the night. At midnight, the world turns magical as her Nutcracker comes to life. Millions of children have seen this ballet just before Christmas.

There are many different types of stories told with dance. Hawaiians tell stories with the Hula Dance. Each movement of the hands and arms is an expression of part of the tale being told. Basic elements such as tide, winds and rainbows are part of many stories. Hands gently moving up and down are a symbol of the tidal movement of the ocean. Winds are symbolized when the right hand circles the left. Placing the left palm flat and moving the right hand from the left and in an arc symbolizes the rainbows seen in this tropical paradise.

Many cultures have found ways to tell stories without words. Formal Thai dances, ballet and hula are three beautiful ways to give life to stories for audiences. They have been enjoyed for centuries and are still popular today.