Name: Course: Date: Medieval Dance Introduction Medieval Dance refers to the type performance art that occurred during the medieval times, which was not very well documented, until in the periods after 1450 (Mullally, 57). This is an interesting aspect of art to consider, since from the early civilization of man, dance has always been applied as a form of human expression, telling a human story related to seasons…
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Among the most important aspect for which dance is involved include entertainment, celebrations and worship (MacGee, 26). Therefore, Medieval Dance is an important concept of art to study, since it helps in creating an understanding of the ancient history, citing the particular cultural events and functions that were deemed important by the medieval societies. The study of Medieval Dance also helps us to trace the history of the happy moments that man has had, with a special emphasis on how the concept of celebration has changed over time. Another thing that makes this topic interesting is the fact that, dance has influenced other genres of art such as music, because any dance has to be done alongside a musical play, either vocal or instrumental (Highwater, 2). Thus, dance influences how such musical elements are formulated, if they have to suit the context and purpose of any dance. Cultural Context Medieval Dance was not a popular form of art in the middle ages, with paintings and other forms of artwork such as illuminations taking center stage (Mullally, 62). Dance was not considered as an important concept of art which could grow and develop to depict any cultural or social relevance. Therefore, dance did not feature any form of special documentation, until in 1450 and the periods after (MacGee, 30). The first formal recording regarding dance started in Italy, before spreading to the rest of Europe, where this form of art eventually gained some cultural significance. Thus, substantial dance recording in literary context did not occur until the renaissance period. Substantive description of dance was first done by an Italian, Giovanni Boccaccio in the 14th century, who presented literary texts with men and women involved in some form of dancing, accompanied by another group of musicians (Highwater, 7). This marked the first description of substantive dance as a form of art. From then on, many other artists and writers were involved in recording dance in literary contexts, though varying the form of descriptions that they gave, since they were influenced by their cultural and social contexts. After the first recording of dance and its description, it was adopted as an element of art, and it spread to other parts of Europe. In England, the first form of popular dance, the Carol dance was described in the book, “In a life of Saint Dunstan,” where a description was given on how Saint Dunstan went into a church and found maidens singing a hymn, while moving in round circles as they danced to the tunes of the hymn (Mullally, 51). This set the stage for more recognition and consideration of dance as a form of art that has a cultural impact on the society. Analysis Medieval Dance occurred majorly in two categories; the court and the country dance. Among these forms of dance, the Carole dance is considered most popular of the earliest dances, which has formed the basis of the present day Christmas carols. This category of dance was developed from the church hymnal presentations, which involved dancing while moving in circle, chains or processions (MacGee, 43). As opposed to other form of dances which can be categorized as either court or country, carol dance fits in the settings of both categories, making it the most popular dance that was
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