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Abstract

Philosophers have had comparatively little to say of the art of dance, a surprising fact given the range of people both inside and outside of dance who have claimed that 'man has always danced.' This essay attempts to substantiate this claim by an inquiry into the origins of dance, its focal attention being on the word always and any linkage to males deriving from that focal point of attention. It begins with evolutionary considerations in the form of courtship displays, behaviors finely and extensively described by Darwin, and goes on to consider displays by chimpanzees in particular. These considerations point toward pan-cultural as well as evolutionary origins. The essay proceeds to show how bipedality, a qualitative kinetics, rhythm, and play enter into and affirm evolutionary continuities and the pan-culturality of dance.

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