DANCES AND PIANO STYLES
DANCING has existed from the earliest times; and it probably originated, among prehistoric races, from pantomime intended to be descriptive of hunting or martial scenes. Many of the early religions adopted dancing as part of their ceremonial; but in historic times it has always been an independent art as well.
Circular dances are found to have existed among the old sunworshippers. The Biblical dance about the Golden Calf, or that around the bull Apis, show the same character. A similar round formation existed in the German "Reigen" of early mediæval times, which survive in children's games, such as "Little Sally Waters" and others of the sort.
The Grecian dances and the Roman pantomime, described in an earlier chapter, had little effect on mediæval dancing. The art received scant encouragement during the dark ages; but the Troubadours and Minnesingers brought in their train a revival of dancing as well as of song. In Germany, a quick dance was often followed by a slow one, while a later return of the quick movement brought about a first rondo effect. In France, the French overture developed from a slow dance followed by a rapid one. There were various religious dances, of more or less influence on the popular branch of the art. The Flagellants had a penitential dance, which they employed in times of plague or other calamity.
The stately Saraband arose directly from the dance of the Spanish altar-boys on Holy Thursday. It was a slow dance in triple rhythm.
A dance that is now not clearly understood is the English Morris Dance. Some claim that the title comes from Morisco, and indicates a Moorish origin, if not a relation to the Spanish Fandango. In England it was merged into an old pantomime celebrating Robin Hood. The Morris Dance could be made to progress from place to place; and Will Kempe once danced it from London to Norwich.