This article focuses on the dance of Western peoples, noting where appropriate the influence of other cultures.Before written records were left, a vast span of time elapsed about which scholars can only speculate.
The West cannot always be clearly distinguished from the non-West, especially in such countries as Russia or other regions of the former Soviet Union, where some dances are Asian and others European in origin and character.
Couched in the ancient metaphor of the phoenix, the mythical bird that burns yet emerges unscathed from the embers, the explicit language of desire winds along the length of a woven belt: I WILL SMOULDER EVEN AS A PHOENIX/ WITH THE FIRE OF YOUR KISSES,/ AND I WILL DIE.
Though its author has eluded identification, the verse echoes chivalric love poetry from the late Middle Ages by Petrarch or Dante, texts well known among a broad range of social classes by the middle of the sixteenth century through musical contexts such as madrigals as well as in written form.
and of the countries founded through permanent European settlement elsewhere—have a history of dance characterized by great diversity and rapid change.
Whereas most dancers of the East repeated highly refined forms of movement that had remained virtually unchanged for centuries or millennia, Western dancers showed a constant readiness, even eagerness, to accept new vehicles for their dancing.
The romance of Medieval Courtly Love practised during the Medieval times of the Middle Ages was combined with the Code of Chivalry and the art of Chivalry.