A dance genre is simply a dance style or a type of dance. There are hundreds of dance genres that originate from all over the world, and Dance Dispatches features articles about these diverse dance traditions.

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Some of the most popular kinds of dance include ballet, modern and contemporary dance, hip-hop and various types of social and ballroom dance. These large hierarchical dance genres can be further divided into sub-categories. For example, Graham and Horton are both types of modern dance; and popping and vogueing are two different styles of hip-hop dance.

While it is possible to find ballet classes in most cities, other dance forms are less widespread. We have classified these types of dance as folk dance. Depending on where you live, you are likely to have a harder time finding dance classes and dance shows that feature Spanish flamenco, Japanese butoh and Hungarian folk dance.

You can expand each section below to read about a variety of dance genres. As the site grows, you will also find links to filter articles about more specific dance forms, such as K-pop dance and bellydancing. 

Dance Genres

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Ballet is one of the world’s most popular dance genres.
Ballet dancers are renowned for their grace, flexibility and athleticism. 

Ballet began as a court dance, which looked drastically different from the art form we know and love today. It originated in Italy during the Renaissance and was introduced to the French court by Catherine de Medici, wife of King Henry II. However, the popularity of ballet didn’t really flourish until a century later, when King Louis XIV standardized the art form. 

Nowadays, many companies are trending towards a more modern ballet, which mixes modern and contemporary dance with ballet technique. However, classical ballet techniques are still practiced: Cecchetti in Italy, Vaganova in Russia, Bournonville in France, Royal Academy of Dance (or RAD) in England and Balanchine in the USA. All of these styles rely on the same basic ballet technique, but the aesthetic and approach differs from one school to the next. 

Popular Ballet Articles

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female dancers in white crouch forwards

Today, modern and contemporary dance draw from many other dance genres. However, modern dance was created as a new form of physical expression – as distinct from ballet. 

Modern dance founders include Isadora Duncan and Ruth St. Denis. However, Martha Graham is consistently seen as the mother of modern dance. Graham’s contemporaries include Merce Cunningham, Lester Horton and José Limón.

Post-modern dance followed these leaders, and is often referred to as ‘contemporary dance’ or ‘lyrical dance’ in the commercial dance industry. 

Popular Modern & Contemporary Dance Articles

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HIP-HOP &
COMMERCIAL

K-POP
DANCE

STREET
DANCE

BREAK
DANCE

KRUMP

HIP-HOP
THEATRE

Popular Hip-Hop & Commercial Dance Articles

Click here for more article about hip-hop and commercial dance.

a man dips a woman in a red dress

SALSA

ARGENTINE
TANGO

BACHATA

KIZOMBA

WALTZ

SWING
DANCE

Popular Ballroom & Social Dance Articles

Click here for more ballroom and social dance articles.

an Indonesian dancer with gold headdress

JAPANESE
NIHON BUYO

EUROPEAN
FOLK DANCE

IRISH
DANCE

AFRICAN
DANCE

TAP
DANCE

JAZZ
DANCE

More articles about folk dance and other traditional dances coming soon…

Dance can be blended with many other physical art forms to create unique performances. For instance, dance can play a large role in musical theatre shows and operas. Dance can also be found paired with circus or in dynamic physical theatre shows. 

MUSICAL
THEATRE

OPERA

CIRCUS

CABARET

PHYSICAL
THEATRE

PERFORMING
ARTS