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These two concepts of the art of dance—dance as a powerful impulse and dance as a skillfully choreographed art practiced largely by a professional few—are the two most important connecting ideas running through any consideration of the subject.
Of the eastern Mediterranean cultures, it was undoubtedly that of the Greeks that furnished the most direct link with the musical development of western Europe, by way of the Romans, who defeated them but adopted much of Greek culture intact.
Entering historical times relatively late, circa 1000 , the Greeks soon dominated their neighbours and absorbed many elements of earlier cultures, which they modified and combined into an enlightened and sophisticated civilization.
Because of the prohibition of Jewish religious law against the making of “graven images,” there are very few surviving artifacts or pictures.
Among the established practices of the temple service still current in the synagogue are the extensive use of the shofar (a ritualistic ram’s-horn trumpet) and the singing of passages from the Torah (Pentateuch; the first five books of the Bible), prayers, and songs of praise.
All ancient civilizations entered historical times with a flourishing musical culture.
That the earliest writers explained it in terms of legend and myth strongly suggests the remote beginnings of the art of sound.
The English ballet master John Weaver, writing in 1721, argued on the other hand that “Dancing is an elegant, and regular movement, harmoniously composed of beautiful Attitudes, and contrasted graceful Posture of the Body, and parts thereof.” Weaver’s description reflects very clearly the kind of dignified and courtly movement that characterized the ballet of his time, with its highly formalized aesthetics and lack of forceful emotion. was probably unknown to the earlier ages of humanity.
The 19th-century French dance historian The choreographic art . Savage man, wandering in forests, devouring the quivering flesh of his spoils, can have known nothing of those rhythmic postures which reflect sweet and caressing sensations entirely alien to his moods.
In every case musical sounds were an adjunct either to bodily movement (dance, march, game, or work) or to song.