Curt Sachs (1937) on the character of modern dancing

Here we have a strange reversal of the situation. In all previous centuries it was the couple dances which called for art and strict discipline and the chorals which with their freedom and primitivism gave release and recreation. Now it is just the opposite: the new couple dances /…/ more or less discard conventionalized style, and the choral dance, on the other hand becomes the ceremonial, “learned” element, /…/

The decline of the choral dance is a cause and an indication of the social development. The choral dance, communal dances, demand a compact social order; they require an association in the dance which is something more than the mere correct execution of a series of figures and movements. /…/
The triumph of individualism in the nineteenth century inevitably raises the couple dance to the leading position and allows the choral dance to fall back. The latter is now devoid of content – a weak communal feeling, the pretense of which is kept up for a few hours and dropped with the breaking up of the party.

Excerpt from Curt Sachs, World history of the dance (W.W. Norton, 1937).

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