Traditional Folk Cultures and Dance

Folk culture is one of the most beautiful and special aspects of any nation or culture that is found in a particular geographical area. The term folk culture itself refers to a specific representation of the traditions and lifestyle of a particular people in a very specific manner. In the old time, folk culture was primarily about the traditions and lifestyle representations that only small and rural communities represented in their activities but that is no longer the case. Now it has become a much more diverse scene where both the traditional and the modern converge into a singular form of art that represents a very unique blend of art. The traditions and activities related to folk culture is quite diverse and you can find hundreds and thousands of unique cultures spreading in communities all over the world. Most of their activities are focused on presenting a picture about the lifestyle and traditions of a specific area and its inhabitants in a unique manner. This representation is usually done in the form of music and dance and there are some really spectacular cultures and dances that have evolved around the world. All you need to do is explore.

What is folk music?

Presenting an exact definition of the term folk dance is quite difficult because it is so diverse and at the same time focused that it difficult to really cover all its aspects fully. The word that was used back then to describe much how different cultures lived was folklore and the meaning of that is essentially all the traditions and customs of any particular community or culture. From that perspective, folk music would be a very specific form of music that is created and composed by a specific tradition only. For example if there is a specific style of folk music that you have heard, it must have a point of origin where it was born like Bhangra music which is from India.

What is folk dance?

If there is anything that can perfectly show the meaning of a culture’s values and traditions, it is the folk dance. This is not a dance that is of one basic kind which can be a part of every area’s entertainment resources. In fact, this is a very special performance that is done by the people of the country or community that it has originated from and on very special occasions. Most of these occasions are representative of the community’s values and are performed with music that is indigenous to that culture. Some of the examples of such dances include a stick dance named Ball de bastons which originates in Catalonia and an English style of dancing named Morris dancing.

Can I be a part of it?

Nowadays, the world has become interconnected in more ways than one can imagine and that has resulted in the adoption of a lot of foreign traditions and folklore which has resulted in a very unique mix of cultures. A big example of this is the number of American and European people who are a part of the Bhangra community and there are some really amazing Bhangra dancers too who are not Indian. This can be seen in a lot of other style of dances too. With colleges and academies dedicated to performance arts, one can easily find a place to learn a foreign folk dance without any problem.

Can I join a community?

Nowadays, pretty much every country around the world is making efforts to enrich its own folk traditions and dance. In addition to that, there are a lot of clubs and communities working all over the world who spend their resources in bringing forward these traditional folk dances to promote a cultural enrichment. Even the universities are making clubs for students where they can be a part of such activities. An example of this can be the MIT Folk Dance Club that organises events on different folk themes all year round.

What efforts are being made to preserve these cultures?

As said above, there are several communities and organisations that are working tirelessly to bring forward the traditional folk dance and music to the world. Examples of this include the Folk Alliance International and the Society for International Folk Dancing that have done some really great work for folk culture and dancing. Preserving these dances and cultures is a part of our civic duty and whether you want to preserve it by providing support or learning and passing on the traditions is all up to you.