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He distinguished dances that enhance the beauty of the body from awkward movements that imitate the convulsions of ugliness.
The Apis cult dances of Egypt had their equivalent in the Cretan bull dance of about 1400 .
Before written records were left, a vast span of time elapsed about which scholars can only speculate.
Pictorial records in cave paintings in Spain and France showing dancelike formations have led to the conjecture that religious rites and attempts to influence events through sympathetic magic were central motivations of prehistoric dance.
Such dances were manifestations of demoniacal possession characteristic of many primitive dances. After the women danced, the men followed in the disguise of lecherous satyrs.The West cannot always be clearly distinguished from the non-West, especially in such countries as Russia or other regions of the former Soviet Union, where some dances are Asian and others European in origin and character.This article focuses on the dance of Western peoples, noting where appropriate the influence of other cultures.The article folk art covers in greater detail the unique nature, techniques, forms, and functions, and the historical developments of each of these kinds of Western dance.In addition, the article dance covers the aesthetics and the varieties of dance, both Western and non-Western.
These records speak of a class of professional dancers, originally imported from the interior of Africa, to satisfy the wealthy and powerful during hours of leisure and to perform at religious and funerary celebrations.