Ballet is a type of performance dance, that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century, and which was further developed in France and Russia as a concert dance form. It has since become a highly technical form of dance with its own vocabulary. It is primarily performed with the accompaniment of classical music and has been influential as a form of dance globally. It is a poised style of dance that incorporates the foundational techniques for many other dance forms. This genre of dance is very hard to master and requires much practice. It is best known in the form of late Romantic ballet or Ballet Blanc, which preoccupies itself with the female dancer to the exclusion of almost all else, focusing on pointe work, flowing, precise acrobatic movements, and often presenting the dancers in the conventional short white French tutu.
Tap dance is a form of dance characterized by using the sound of one's tap shoes hitting the floor as a percussive instrument. As such, it is also commonly considered to be a form of music. Two major variations on tap dance exist: rhythm (Jazz) tap and Broadway tap. Broadway tap focuses more on the dance. It is widely performed as a part of musical theater. Rhythm tap focuses more on musicality, and practitioners consider themselves to be a part of the Jazz tradition.
"Soft-Shoe" is a rhythm form of tap dancing that doesn't require special shoes, and while rhythm is generated by tapping of the feet, it also uses sliding of the feet (even sometimes using scattered sand on the stage to enhance the sound of the performer's sliding feet) more often than modern rhythm tap.
Jazz dance is a classification shared by a broad range of dance styles. Before the 1950s, jazz dance referred to dance styles that originated from African American vernacular dance. In the 1950s, a new genre of jazz dance - 'Modern Jazz Dance' - emerged, with roots in Caribbean traditional dance. Every individual style of jazz dance has roots traceable to one of these two distinct origins.
A low center of gravity and high level of energy are other important identifying characteristics of jazz dance. Other elements of jazz dance are less common and are the stylizations of their respective choreographers. One such example are the inverted limbs and hunched-over posture of Bob Fosse.
Hip-hop dance refers to dance styles primarily performed to hip-hop music or that have evolved as part of hip-hop culture. It includes a wide range of styles notably breaking, locking, and popping which were created in the 1970s and made popular by dance crews in the United States. The television show Soul Train and the 1980s films Breakin', Beat Street, and Wild Style showcased these crews and dance styles in their early stages; therefore, giving hip-hop mainstream exposure. The dance industry responded with a studio based version of hip-hop - sometimes called new style - and a hip-hop influenced style of jazz dance called jazz-funk.
What distinguishes hip-hop dance from other forms of dance is that it is often freestyle (improvisational) in nature and hip-hop dance crews often engage in freestyle dance competitions, colloquially referred to as battles. Crews, freestyling, and battles are identifiers of this style. Hip-hop dance can be a form of entertainment or a hobby. It can also be a lifestyle: a way to be active in competitive dance and a way to make a living by dancing professionally.
Acro dance is a style of dance that combines classical dance technique with precision acrobatic elements. It is defined by its athletic character, its unique choreography, which seamlessly blends dance and acrobatics, and its use of acrobatics in a dance context. It is a popular dance style in amateur competitive dance as well as in professional dance theater and contemporary circus productions such as those by Cirque du Soleil. Acro dance is known by various other names including acrobatic dance and gymnastic dance, though it is most commonly referred to simply as acro by dancers and dance professionals.
Acro is an especially challenging dance style for dancers as it requires them to be trained in both dance and acrobatic skills. Acro dancers must be in excellent physical condition as well, because acro is a physically demanding activity.
En pointe (pointe) means "on the tip" and is a part of classical ballet technique, usually practised using specially reinforced shoes called pointe shoes or toe shoes. The technique developed from the desire for dancers to appear weightless and sylph-like and has evolved to enable dancers to dance on the tips of their toes for extended periods of time.
Lyrical dance is a style of dance created from the fusion of ballet with jazz and contemporary dance techniques. The Lyrical dance style has its primary basis in ballet, combining the many technical elements of classical ballet with the freedom, fluidity, expressiveness and airier aspects of jazz, contemporary and modern dance. It is typically considered a sub-category of jazz and/or contemporary dance, the latter itself being an emerging category. Lyrical dance is expressive, simultaneously subtle and dynamic, focused on conveying musicality and emotion through movement. It is a combination of intricate, highly technical, and pedestrian/naturalistic moves. It is commonly set to popular music with vocals as well as rich are (indeed, often) emphasized over the song's rhythm, but because of the definition of the word lyrical: having a poetic, expressive quality; musical; characterized by or expressing spontaneous, direct feeling; expressing deep personal emotions or observation; highly rhapsodic or enthusiastic. Choreography can be gripping and exquisitely delicate, at the same time.