Interpretive dance is a family of dance styles that seeks to translate particular feelings and emotions, human conditions, situations, or fantasies into movement and dramatic expression combined. It can also translate major characteristics of any traditional ethnic movements into more modern expressions through exploration of the origins, cultural influences, rhythms, movements, emotional manifestations, and intonations, as well as the stories inherent in the dances themselves.
Around 1900, in the formative years of the modern dance, interpretive dance marked a departure from traditional theatricals and used classical concert music.
Likened to the higher form of arts, interpretive dance can be seen in many Broadway musicals as well as in other forms of mainstream and non-mainstream media. While it was--and most often, still is--thought of as a performing art, interpretive dance does not have to be performed with music.
Often the style includes grand, large, eloquent movements, like wide swooshes of the arms, spins, and drops to the floor. It is frequently enhanced by lavish costumes, ribbons, or spandex body suits. Interpretive dance sometimes includes costumes as many different characters.
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Elizabeth Kendall (1979). Where She Danced: The Birth of American Art-dance. University of California Press. pp. 182-. ISBN 978-0-520-05173-7.
Selma Jeanne Cohen (1 April 2011). The Modern Dance: Seven Statements of Belief. Wesleyan University Press. pp. 4-. ISBN 978-0-8195-7093-2.