Aug 2, 2016

The Psychology Of Dance: Man & Ape Have Been Dancing For An Eternity

Notice how similar some cultures dancing is to stuff that comes naturally to our ape cousins;

Dr. Kohler noticed that:

"Tschengo and another chimpanzee named Grande invested a game of spinning round and round like dervishes, which was then taken up by all the rest. "Any game of two together," Dr. Kohler writes.

was apt to turn into this "spinning-top" play, which appeared to express a climax of friendly and amicable joie de vivre. The resemblance to a human dance became truly striking when the rotations were rapid, or whn Tschengo, for instance, stretched her arms out horizontally as she spun round. Tschengo and Chica - whose favorite fashion during 1916 was this "spinning - sometimes combined a forward movement with the rotations, and so they revolved slowly round thier own axes and along the playground. 

The whole group of chimpanzees sometimes combined in more elaborate motion-patterns. For instance, tow would wrestle and tumble near a post; soon their movements would become more regular and tend to describe a circle round the post as a center. One after another, the rest of the group approach, join the two, and finally march in an orderly fashion round and round the post. The character of their movements changes; they no longer walk, they trot, and as a rule with special emphasis on one foot, while the other steps lightly, thus a rough approximate rhythm develops, and they tend to "keep time" with one another...

"It seems to me extraordinary," Kohler concludes, "that there should arise quite spontaneously, among chimpanzees, anything that so strongly suggests the dancing of some primitive tribes." (Page 358-358 of Primitive Mythology by Joseph Campbell)
Square Dance Demonstration

Here is an example of a "primitive" tribe dance;

"In the dance of the Southern tribes." writes Dr. Tadcliffe Brown, whose fine monograph of this society is a classic of modern anthropological research, "each dancer dances alternatively on the right foot or on the left. When dancing on the right foot, the first movement is a slight hop with the right foot, then the left foot is raised and brought down with a backward scrape along the ground, then another hop on the right foot. These three movements, which occupy the time of two beats of the song, are repeated until the right leg is tired, and the dancer then changes, the movement to a hop with the left foot, followed by a scrape with the right and another hop with the left." If the reader will now test himself, first with the dance step of Kohler's apes and then with that of Radcliffe-Brown's Andamanese, he will agree, I think, that we are not being overbold in suggesting that something about of this order can have served to express mankind's "amicable joie de vivre" through the millenniums of those first and hardest 400,000 years." (Page 366 of Primitive Mythology by Joseph Campbell)

Country Line Dancing

Have far have we really "advanced" from our "primitive" past? Maybe dancing of this type is so deep in our culture as to appear almost genetic in nature?

Polish traditional folk dance: Krakowiak - national dance

Cornell Bhangra @ Worlds Best Bhangra Crew 2014

Cotton Eye Joe Circle Dance 

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