Talk:Folk dance

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Old text[edit]

What about square dancing? Is it actually 19th century or newer? And is it considered a folk dance?

What about morris dancing? - I'm starting to work on it (Bob Waller)


They were originally danced in the 19th century or earlier (in any case, before January 1, 1923),

Eh? --Brion VIBBER
Notated choreography can be copyrighted. Any dance that was created and described before 1923 is in the public domain, and the public domain pretty much meshes with the average person's concept of "traditional".

Don't you mean any dance whose author *died* before *1933*? That's how I interpret the Wikipedia article on the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act.

-Alex Clark

Don't forget the "prior art" priniciple. If anyone puts down steps of Salsa, it will not mean he will own it.

mikkalai 17 Nov 2003

Scottish highland dancing[edit]

Scottish highland dancing (also called Scottish sword dancing) is as different from Scottish Country dancing as Morris dancing is from English Country dancing. Does anyone agree there should be a mention of it?

"Folk" as seen Anthropologically[edit]

I notice that Street Dance is not considered "folk" dance because it is evolving? This directly conflicts with what I've studied about "folk" anything and its usefulness in anthropology. The anthropological stance (as I'm aware) is that folk material (folklore in all its varieties) is whatever is used by the current peoples (the common "folk") in an area/community/culture/subculture. Folk tales are stories told modernly to children/friends/family, and folk dances are ones done by a community of people (children, friend, family). It seems perhaps a better description would be that "folk" needs to be done by normal people, generally without much extra training.

For instance, anthropological studies would see little value in studying ballroom dance, as its rules are so rigid. Hip-hop, however, is evolving, and is done by generally common/normal people on the streets. It seems that the term "folk dance" here is used more to mean "historical folk dance" rather than discussing all classifications of folk dance.

Do we have any disagreements to this? Perhaps I could add a section on Folk Dance in Anthropology?

Also, I have NO idea what that last sentence in the street dance section is trying to say.

Lareon 10:59, 21 October 2005 (UTC)


Portal:Dance has been started. Please have a look. --Roland2 12:12, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

Remove redirect from traditional dance to folk dance?[edit]

Don't merge folk dance with traditional dance. (Though we should merge folk dance with folk dancing.) I've been a folk dancer for 10 years, and I've never heard a folk dancer refer to herself as a "traditional dancer". However there are, amongst folk dancers, discussions on what is the "traditional" or "correct" way of performing a dance. Folk dancing can be traditional, but just as often is not. Folk dancing, in the United States, generally refers to people getting together socially to dance. The emphasis is not on doing the dance correctly or traditionally, but rather just dancing to have a good time. --Fang Aili 19:52, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

Further complicating matters is the existence of International folk dance. I'm not sure if that should be merged with folk dance and folk dancing. Research needed. --Fang Aili 14:51, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Traditional dance is - at the moment - just a redirect to Folk dance. If you think Traditional dance should be an article of its own, the redirect would have to be substituted by content about "Traditional dance". (I've changed the header of this section ... ok?) --Roland2 16:33, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Eh, I don't know how I managed to get all confused about this. Yeah, I think traditional dance should be its own article, and folk dance another. (But I don't have much time lately to do a lot of writing/editing. Le sigh.) --Fang Aili 16:58, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
The problem with that is that (anthropologically) folk dance, by its nature, is a traditional dance, because it is perpetuated by tradition (and not by strict adherence to some written guidelines). People do things certain ways in one place, but completely differently in others. Thus, "folk dance", the dance of the common folk, is whatever dances their traditions hold to. I spent much time in a youth folk dance team, but for our non-profit 501c-3 application, we listed our style as "Traditional American Dance", because nobody wants to fund a "folk dance" team, but if it's historical... Anyway, we discussed long and hard the issue, and deemed that yes, they were technically interchangeable terms. --Lareon 18:40, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
The way I'm thinking about dance is similar to, say, baking. There's a "traditional" way of baking shortbread, for instance (in a round pan, plain), and then there's the way people actually bake it (however they want). Near where I live, the Milwaukee, Chicago, and Madison folk dance groups often get into discussions on what is the "traditional" way of performing a dance, that is, the "right" way, rather than the way the (American) dancers are currently dancing. It's a distinction between what is being done and what is correct. We may not be using the technically correct terminology to voice our concerns, however. I don't know what the scholarly definition of "traditional" is. --Fang Aili 19:46, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps you have examples of dance styles that qualify as "traditional" but not "folk"? I could be pursuaded with examples. I doubt theoretical discussion will sway my stance much. --Lareon 18:45, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm not an expert on the subject, but I believe there are "traditional" types of dances that were done only by nobility, and would not be considered "folk", but could be considered "traditional". I'm thinking of the court dances of England and France, for example. I could be wrong on that, though. I'm going to ask my folk dancing friends for more input. --Fang Aili 19:41, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Would it be correct to perhaps change our wording from traditional to historical? Just a thought... not sure how that affects this conversation. ^_^ Also, I'm eager to hear the definition from another folk dancer in another part of the world. I'll ask some of my dancing friends as well. --Lareon 21:56, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Merged folk dancing into folk dance[edit]

I was bold and merged the information. Folk dance could definitely use some organization. --Fang Aili 19:19, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

Street dance no longer redirects here[edit]

I've just written a new article on street dance, so I've removed the redirect to here. Feel free to pay it a visit.

- Wintran 14:40, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Folk dancing in the media: Factual error[edit]

Folk dancing in the media Article states: "Richard Thompson wrote a song folk dancers titled Don't Sit On My Jimmy Shands, a reference to Scottish musician Jimmy Shand that produced bagpipe music. In the 1960's this movement was supported by record labels such as Folk Dancer by Michael and Maryann Herman, and the Folkways Records label by Moses Asch which is currently under the Smithsonian Institute."

1. Jimmy Shand was not famous as a bagpipe player. Follow Wikipedia link [Jimmy Shand] to get the true picture. Backed up by other Web articles, eg:

2. Sentence "In the 1960's this movement was supported by..." should also mention EMI which issued many recordings of Jimmy Shand as gramophone records. In the early days these were of brittle material highly susceptible to breakage (hence "my Jimmy Shands" were not to be sat on !). More recently EMI have issued at least one CD of Jimmy Shand "King of the Melodeon Men".

3. Alternatively, consider deleting this entire section (Folk dancing in the media), as the coverage of this topic is anyway rather superficial, but probably the topic does not warrant elaboration here. Or consider making a separate page to cover this topic in more depth. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Joey543 (talkcontribs)

Thanks for your input! Be bold and fix it. Personally I'm all for deleting the section as it stands now. --Fang Aili talk 12:55, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
Amended it myself.Ogg 08:31, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Definition of Folk Dance[edit]

I'm posting here in the discussion forum before doing editing because I suspect the changes I want to make might be controversial. So I'll mention them here and if I hear no loud screams of horror then I'll be bold and change it. I have a problem with the first paragraph, I think the definition of Folk dancing is deeply flawed and possibly Eurocentrically biased.

  • First, I think it's inaccurate to say that most folk dances are of European Origin. While that's certainly true (in part) of the international folk dance movement (leaving aside Middle Eastern and Israeli dancing), it's not good for a general definition of the notion.
  • I kind of object to the idea that the dances had to be done in the 19th century. I think very very few folk dances done now fall into this category.
  • I think it's kind of bizarre to require that the dances not have a choreographer. All dances have choreographers at some point. Even if it's just the guy at the front of the line or the lead dancer. People may think there are "spontaneous" dances but that seems very unlikely to me.

Here's what I'd propose instead:

Folk dance is a term used to describe a large number of dances that tend to share some or all of the following attributes:

  • They are dances performed at social functions by people with little or no professional training, often to traditional music or music based on traditional music.
  • They are not designed for public performance or the stage, although traditional folkdances may be later arranged and set for stage performances.
  • Their execution is dominated by an inherited tradition rather than by innovation (although like all folk traditions they do evolve)
  • New dancers often learn informally by observing others and/or receiving help from others.

More controversially, some people define folk dancing as dancing for which there is governing body or dancing for which there are no competitive or professional performances.

What do you think? AndrewCarnie (talk) 02:12, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Ok this has been up for a while and there have been no howls of objection, so I'm going to change it in the main body of the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by AndrewCarnie (talkcontribs) 23:31, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

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