chapter  1
9 Pages

We Dance from the Moment Our Feet Touch the Earth: Sharon Chaiklin


Within the earliest tribal communities, dance was seen as a link to understanding and directing the rhythms of the universe whether in the many manifestations of nature or as a statement of self and one’s place within that world. Dances to plead for rain, for success in the hunt, or appreciation of a plentiful harvest are all examples of how dance was seen as a way to inuence the gods. It took dierent forms in dierent cultures. Oen, the movement structures led to trance states that enabled the individual to feel powerful and perform extraordinary feats of endurance and strength (de Mille, 1963). e rhythms of work, the rhythms used to shape nature for man’s benet, the rhythms of life’s events were the rhythms that formed the cooperative community, the fundamental structure among all early people and folk societies today. e dance enabled each to feel a part of his own tribe and provided a structure for performing essential rituals related to birth, puberty, marriage, and death.