A dance style, or a dance genre, is simply a certain type of dance. Different kinds of dance styles include ballet, modern dance, hip-hop – and diverse folk dances from around the world, such as flamenco, bhangra and samba.
Dance Dispatches sets itself apart from other publications by purposefully showcasing the beautiful diversity of these world dance traditions.
Although there are hundreds of dance styles, for simplicity, we categorize different types of dance into a few large groups: ballet; modern and contemporary dance; hip-hop (or street dance); Latin, ballroom and social dance; and folk dance.
Sometimes a single style of dance is fused with another style. Other times, dance is simply one element of a larger piece of performance art.
These large hierarchical dance genres can be further divided into sub-categories. For example, Graham and Horton are both types of modern dance; and popping and vogueing are two different styles of hip-hop dance.
While it is possible to find ballet classes in most cities, other dance forms are less widespread. We have classified these types of dance as folk dance. Depending on where you live, you are likely to have a harder time finding dance classes and dance shows that feature Spanish flamenco, Japanese butoh and Hungarian folk dance. Some of these traditional dances have roots that date back centuries.
However, it is important to remember that all dance is art, created within a culture; so, technically, every single type of dance is a folk dance – even ballet.
Click through the different tabs below to learn about a variety of different dance styles. You’ll find brief descriptions of the dance genre, and the dance types it includes, followed by articles that feature that kind of dance.
Ballet is one of the world’s most popular dance genres.
Ballet dancers are renowned for their grace, flexibility and athleticism.
Ballet isn’t often seen as a ‘cultural’ dance – but it began as a European court dance, which looked drastically different from the art form we know and love today. This widespread dance genre originated in Italy during the Renaissance and was introduced to the French court by Catherine de Medici, wife of King Henry II. However, the popularity of ballet didn’t really flourish until a century later, when King Louis XIV of France standardized the art form.
Nowadays, many companies are trending towards a more modern ballet, which mixes modern and contemporary dance with ballet technique. And ballet superstars have included modern dance in their solo programme repertoire, as in Sergei Polunin’s Mixed Bill and Natalia Osipova’s Pure Dance shows. However, classical ballet techniques are still practiced around the world: Cecchetti in Italy, Vaganova in Russia, Bournonville in France, Royal Academy of Dance (or RAD) in England and Balanchine in the USA. All of these styles rely on the same basic ballet technique, but the aesthetic and approach differs from one school to the next.
World-famous ballet companies include the Paris Opera Ballet (France), the The Royal Ballet (UK), Bolshoi Ballet (Russia) and Mariinsky Ballet (Russia), American Ballet Theatre (USA) and New York City Ballet (USA), Dutch National Ballet (Netherlands), Teatro La Scala (Italy), Australian National Ballet (Australia) and National Ballet of Cuba (Cuba). And the hilarious cross-dressing Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (USA) is another enduring favourite for dance die-hards and newbies alike.
The huge variety of dance makes it such a great way to learn about different cultures.
That’s why we want to help you experience dance around the world – with our free dance class finder. As it grows, it will help you discover dance in your own backyard and wherever you may travel.