Dance Troupes

Dance is a performance art which consists of a selected sequence of different movements. These movements are then organized by choreographers into a set pattern that will accompany music in an open production.

The various dancers emerged from ballroom dances and ballet performances and soon formed separate groups that became known as dance troupes. They were originally used solely in the theatre for musical performances but as time passed, they have appeared on television, being especially popular on music programs.

Dancers are the same as any other professional sportsman in that they are as physically and mentally prepared as any other athlete. Many hours of practice is needed for each performance as timing is essential for the success of each act.

The development of dance troupes certainly mirrored the changes in musical genres over time. There has always been dance groups and evidence goes as far back as Roman and Greek times where groups of dancers would be used to entertain the high raking citizens of each country.

Dancers in the musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

But it was the growth of the theatres that really saw dancing becoming more popular. The introduction of musicals into the theatres created a situation that large numbers of dancers would be needed in order to run a show.

Many of the actors in the early 20th century were trained to sing and dance, as well as act, and there were many stars in the early films that used these skills to turn their movies into big hits. The dance of Gene Kelly in “Singing in the Rain” is as popular today as it was when it was produced for the 1952 film.

Broadway in New York and the West End in London were the two main areas where there were numerous opportunities form the 1930s onwards for young dancers to be employed. Directors and choreographers would spend hours of time in preparing the dancers for the live performances that were being performed every night during the year.

There were some dance groups that would go on tour. In 1959 the Inbal Dance Theatre group was created in Israel as a modern dance company. The company still operates today with artistic director, Margalit Oved, taking the group to perform in many theatres around the world.

Pan’s People who danced on “Top of the Pops”

As pop music emerged, so did the popularity of the dance troupes. The natural rhythm of the sounds made it easy for dancers to perform to and now they were in great demand on live television shows. This was particularly true in the 1970s and 1980s in the UK with the pop show “Top of the Pops”, where dance groups would perform when the musical acts were unable to appear.

The most popular dance group was Pans People who appeared on the show between the late 1960s and the middle of the 1970s. The group consisted of several female dancers with their choreographer Flick Colby being responsible for the different dances that were performed on the show each week.

As musical tastes have changed, the dance troupes did as well, with there being more male members involved in the performances. Jabbawockeez is an all-male American dance troupe who specialize in performing to hip hop music. In 2008 they won the title of America’s best dance crew and they perform without a choreographer with all decisions being made as a collective unit.

Dance troupes have evolved so much over the years that often they are a reason why a particular record can succeed: sometimes their performance will be as popular, if not more, as the music artist’s.