Australian Dance: A Fascinating Overview

When most people think of Australian Dance, they think of traditional dances like the Corroboree. However, there is much more to it than that!

In this blog post, we will look at some of the fascinating and unique styles of dance that have developed in Australia over the years. We will also explore the history and cultural significance of Australian dance.

So without further ado, let’s get started!

What is Australian Dance? 

dance for aboriginal ceremony
Two women preparing to dance for the Aboriginal ceremony. Credit: canva

Australian dance is a form of expression developed over many years by the Indigenous people of Australia. It is a way for them to communicate their culture and history through movement, music, and storytelling.

Dance has always been an essential part of Aboriginal culture. Traditionally, it was used for storytelling, teaching, and celebration. Dance was also used to heal the sick and bring people together.

Today, the dance is still used for all of these purposes. It is also now performed for entertainment and competition.

How did Australian Dance Originate? 

It is believed that Australian dance originated with the Aboriginal people who first inhabited the country. These people had a rich and varied culture expressed through dance, music, and storytelling.

The first European settlers in Australia also brought their own dances with them. These dances were influenced by the cultures of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

Over time, the two cultures began to merge, and a new dance style began to emerge. This new dance style was a fusion of Aboriginal and European influences.

What are the Different Styles of Australian Dance? 

There are many styles of it, each with its unique history and cultural significance.

Some of the most popular and well-known styles of Australian dance include:

  • Aboriginal Dance
  • Bush Dance
  • Ballroom Dance
  • Contemporary Dance
  • Hip Hop Dance

Aboriginal Dance 

Aboriginal dance is a style of dance that is steeped in history and culture. Indigenous Australians often perform it as a way to tell stories, teach lessons, and celebrate important events.

Aboriginal dance is usually performed barefoot. This allows the dancers to feel connected to the earth, which is an integral part of their culture.

The movements in Aboriginal Dance are often slow and graceful. This is because they represent the movements of animals and spirits.

Aboriginal dance is often accompanied by traditional Aboriginal music, including instruments like the didgeridoo and clapping sticks.

The most popular one is the Corroboree. This traditional Aboriginal dance is performed for ceremonial and social purposes. It is usually accompanied by singing, clapping, and the beating of drums.

Bush Dance 

Bush dance is a style of dance that originated in rural Australia. It was created as a way to entertain people who lived in remote areas.

Bush dance is usually performed in folk music. This type of music often has a fast tempo, making it perfect for dancing.

The movements in bush dance are very energetic and lively. This is because the dancers need to keep up with the fast pace of the music.

Bush dance is often performed in groups. This is because it is a very social and fun activity.

Ballroom Dance

Ballroom dance is a style of dance that is often performed at formal events. It is usually seen as an exquisite and graceful type of dance.

Ballroom dance originated in Europe, but it has become very popular in Australia.

The movements in ballroom dance are very smooth and controlled. This is because the dancers need to maintain a close connection with each other.

Ballroom dance is often performed in classical music. This type of music is elegant and romantic, making it perfect for this type of dance.

Contemporary Dance 

Contemporary dance is a style of dance that combines elements of both traditional and modern dance. It is a very popular dance style in Australia and is often performed by professional dancers.

Contemporary dance can be performed to any music. This makes it a very versatile style of dance.

The movements in contemporary dance are often very fluid and graceful. This is because the dancers need to be able to express themselves freely.

Contemporary dance is usually performed in groups. This allows the dancers to interact with each other and create interesting patterns and shapes.

Hip Hop Dance

Hip-hop dance is a style of dance that originated in the United States. It is now very popular all over the world, including in Australia.

Hip hop dance is usually performed to hip hop music. This type of music often has a strong beat, making it perfect for dancing.

The movements in hip-hop dance are often very sharp and precise. This is because the dancers need to be able to keep up with the fast tempo of the music.

Hip-hop dance is often performed in groups. This allows the dancers to interact with each other and create interesting patterns and shapes.

Bottom Line

So there you have it! A brief overview of Australian dance.

As you can see, there is a lot of variety in the styles of dance that are popular in Australia. Each style of dance has its unique history and culture.

So if you ever get the chance to see Australian Dance, make sure you take the time to appreciate all the different styles.

Who knows, you might even be inspired to give it a try yourself!