one of the basic forms of dance. Derived from folk dance, stage dance evolved with the professionalization of the art of the dance. The development of stage dance in Europe dates from the fourth to second centuries B.C. In ancient Rome, Hellenistic dance was mastered and developed in pantomime between the second and fifth centuries A.D. Early forms of European stage dance included the dances of the jongleurs, Spielmänner, and Russian skomorokhi (itinerant folk performers). The 14th and 15th centuries saw the appearance of morescas, staged dance scenes with a plot.
In the late 16th and early 17th centuries a new form of stage dance took shape. Called ballo figurato in Italy, ballet in France, and baile in Spain, this new genre was the precursor of modern ballet. In the 17th century ballet gave rise to modern stage dance, including classical and character dance. In the 20th century, modern dance, including various forms of plastic, rhythmic, and rhythmo-plastic dance, gained wide popularity in Europe and the USA.
National schools of stage dance developed in countries of Asia, where dance had become highly professionalized earlier than in Europe. A similar process occurred among the peoples of North, Central, and South America, notably the Mayas and Incas, until the invasion of European colonizers.
E. A. SURITS