We love to dance.
We do it for ourselves, for others and as an expression of art. We dance for joy, to entertain, celebrate and give thanks. We also do it to attract the opposite sex and as an acknowledgment of kinship.
And no wonder we love this thing called dance, whether as a performer or spectator. Dance—or movement—from an evolutionary perspective, has been one of our earliest forms of communication. Dance has been used from the first millennium to tell stories, celebrate victories and as part of cultural rituals and ceremonies.
It is a fundamental part of life in many cultures. Alphonse Tiérou, African dancer, researcher and choreographer says of traditional African dance:
Because it has more power than gesture, more eloquence than word, more richness than writing and because it expresses the most profound experiences of human beings, dance is a complete and self sufficient language. It is the expression of life and of its permanent emotions of joy, love, sadness, hope, and without emotion there is no African Dance.
In Indian culture, the ancients used movement to tell stories — not only myths and legends, but to pass on everyday information. Indian dances involve postures and gestures — elaborate hand movements representing different characters and meanings. Some of the nine emotions or rasas of joy; happiness; anger; disgust; fear; courage; compassion; wonder and serenity are often depicted in dance forms. 
Today, dance is still a big part of ceremonies and festivals on the sub-continent. The monsoon dance for example, is performed to celebrate the arrival of the monsoon rains which are vital for life and well-being.
Even birds and bees do it. Bees do the waggle dance – a figure eight dance which tells other members of the colony where and how far away a food source is or where to find water — even the location for a new home. And then there are the courtship dances of birds — the strutting peacock with feathers spread to attract the female or swans flapping their wings in the mating dance.
Dance, says Rhawn Joseph, is an art and a form of communication. Through the art of dance we find passion, love, hope, forgiveness and tragedy. The great classical ballets —Swan Lake, the Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty — are examples of storytelling through movement.
Through dance we express emotion, and intent. It is, Joseph says, “a subtle and complex language and can be employed to artfully convey even that which cannot, or should not be put into spoken words”.  When we dance our bodies send messages about how we feel, whether we are attracted to our dance partner, whether we are happy or indifferent. Think of two strangers on the dance floor. Through movement, they convey their thoughts and secret desires, their sexual attraction — notions that would be too audacious to express in words by people who have just met.
To dance is human says Judith Hanna. She says, “It is as human to dance as it is to learn, to build, or to fight. Dance is human thought and feeling expressed through the body. 
It is . . . the hidden language of the soul!
What a wonderful way to communicate!
- NWE: African dance http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/African_dance
- India Heritage – A living portrait of India http://www.indiaheritage.org/perform/history_classical_dances.htm
- Joseph, R 1993 ‘Dancing: The Language of the Body in Motion’ in The naked neuron Plenum Press, NY
- Hanna, J L 1987 To dance is human University of Chicago Press