Many countries have a rich tradition of ethnic or folk dance. Children are often
encouraged to participate as part of efforts to preserve the country's cultural
heritage. There has been a great revival of interest in ethnic dance in America
as second and third generation Ameicans seek to discover their roots. There are many festivals where children and adults demonstrate these ethnic dances or compete in a variety of competitions. There are also folk dance festivals in which showcase a wide range of ethnic dances.
There are many different styles of ethnic or folk dancing. Many are national styles like Irish or Scottish step dancing. Others deal with styles which represent only one style within a country, or a style of only one group within a country. Some countries like the United States or old Soviet Union are multi-ethnic. Generally within an ethnic group there is only one major style of folk dance. Some of the national syles such as Irish dancing may be persued in many different countries because of the emigration of Irish and other peoples to other countries. HBC has compiled information on many of these different etnic or folk styles. We would of coirse be very interested in reader contributions to expand the range of ethnic dance styles currently covered. Some of the different forms of ethnic dance include:
American automobile industrialist Henry Ford played a major role in reviving American Western square dancing in the United States. He or the Ford Foundation was apparently involved in promoting other types of folk dancing, although we have few details at this time.
We note some recent laws in both England and Ireland that have affected ethnic or folk dancing. The British Government passed the their Dance Halls Act that prohibited more thasn two people performing in a pub a few year's ago. It effectively killed folksong clubs in pubs in the United KIngdom. I doubt whether it was inspired by the Irish law which as withdrawn years ago thereby allowing house dances and pub sessions to flourish again. Right now further legislation is being debated in Westminster which will ban nativity plays, concerts
and music festivals in churches and schools. This will also kill music sessions, morris dancing, mumming plays, etc., in pubs. Even swaying in time to piped music a la German-style will be deemed to be dancing
and against the law.
Dance is a wondeful display of ethnic or national culture. Often destinctive national or ethnic costumes are involved. There are many festivals where children and adults demonstrate these ethnic dances or compete in a variety of competitions. There are also folk dance festivals in which showcase a wide range of ethnic dances. There are a wide range of these festivals held in America and around the world which inclide the many varied dance styles of a wide range of dance styles from many different countries and ethnic comminities. The many different folk events held in America are a wonferful reflection of rge country's cultural diversity. These events are, however, only a limited view of the great diversity of ethnic dance festivals held around the world. Information on ethnic festivals in America is available at the Folk Things website.
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