Where did social dance originated?

When did it become popular? How is dance connected to performance? To what extent does dance affect our lives?

Social Dance – Introduction

In ancient Greece there was a great diversity in both the cultures and ways of living. These diverse societies of which Greece is one were highly complex with a complex set of rules, culture and customs. These cultures had also been influenced by influences from other parts of the world through a combination of travel, inter-marriage and migration. In our own times these influences have further developed in the form of multiculturalism, increasing interaction between different groups, in order to integrate their cultures in a way that they do not interfere with each other’s.

There is no doubt that the social dance form first developed in Greece and was most pronounced in Sparta and Phylos. It seems that social dance first developed in Greece because it appealed to the same values and sentiments as dance and sport.

This type of dance would have been most likely to have become widespread in the areas around the Peloponnese. It was also associated with festivals with large numbers of dancing people with their families, or a gathering attended by a social gathering. This was probably the case at the time of Homer and the Odyssey (where it was called bithyma), the greatest festivals of ancient Greece.

A number of texts of this period mention dancing in the form of social dances, although they are not the only examples. We also have texts from the time of Pericles about events associated with this genre of dance. For example, the Iliad, in which he mentions bithyma in the form of bakkhuos. There is some dispute about whether Pericles means bithyma as an adjective for a man in the ballroom or if he means bikhuos as an adjective for a dancer in the bakkhuos and we do not know for sure. But the fact is that in his book about dances Pericles referred to bakkhuos as the second most popular dance form in the Iliad.

It appears that although Greeks did not have a written language in antiquity they also had a great knowledge of the cultural context in which dances were performed and played an important role in what they observed and wrote about. For example, the word ‘bakkhuos’ is often translated as the play of the men, not simply the dance.

Social Dancing – The Dance of Phylos

In ancient Greece, dance was performed