Dance, art of moving the body rhythmically, usually to music. Among primitive peoples a belief in the magical potency of dance found expression in fertility and rain dances, in dances of exorcism and resurrection, and in dances preparatory to hunting or fighting. Communal dance as a powerful symbol of group cooperation and mutual regard underlies enduring traditions in folk dancing. Classical ballet had its origins in the court dances in 15th and 16th-century Italy and France. The 19th century saw the development of the waltz, in which social dancing reached the height of popularity. Twentieth-century dance styles, promoted by the syncopated rhythms of popular music, have become vehicles of individual self-expression.