Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/775

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THE EVOLUTION OF DANCING.

of the limbs, no bringing of the legs at right angles with the body as in our ballet, no dizzy gyrations—in short, "none of that exquisite precision of step and pedal dexterity which constitute the chief charm of European artists."[1] The Spanish dances—

PSM V41 D775 Csardas hungarian folk dance.jpg
Fig. 10.—Csardos, Hungarian Folk-Dance.

which of late have become popular—are free from violent movements and intricate steps. Indeed, the feet play so small a part in the action that the dancer seems scarcely to raise them from the ground. The dances are little more than graceful writhings and twistings of the body; the arms and legs moving in sinuous folds and contortions, like the movements of a snake; the dancer all the while beating time with the castanets held in each hand.

This brings us down to the more developed or modern forms of dancing. Different people have arranged their peculiar dances. The French have devised many intricate steps; the English had their "country-dances" round the May-pole; the Scotch invented the reel; the hornpipe was originally a Cornish dance, and so on.


  1. The Oriental Annual, or Scenes in India. By Rev. H. Caunter. London, 1836, p. where there is a fine description of the Nautch girls in their charming dances.