The music that accompanies global dance varies in many ways. For several dances, participants need nothing more than a drum to keep a beat, whereas some do not feature any instruments at all, requiring only that the audience clap or chant as they go. Yet the instruments for some dance music may be just as impor- tant as the dance moves themselves. Can you imagine swing dancing without a jazz saxophone, or breakdancing without a hip-hop beat to back it up? A common factor in many dances throughout the world is a division of role and gender. Many dances are men-only or women-only, whereas others are partner dances involving a man and a woman, with the man leading and the woman follow- ing. This gendered division is likely as old as dance itself, especially because dance in many cultures is synonymous with love, marriage, and attraction. Even so, many traditional dances meant for all-male or all-female pairings or groupings have opened up in modern times to accommodate both genders, although some cultures remain particularly strict about the division of the sexes and will not allow one or the other to participate. People dance for a wide variety of reasons and emotions. Throughout this chapter you’ll see how dance correlates to happiness, sadness, hope, fear, glory, and pride. So long as music continues to play, people will continue to dance, and the beat will go on as it has for thousands and thousands of years.
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