Dance that has developed without a choreographer and that reflects the traditional life of the common people of a country or region. The term was coined in the 18th century and is sometimes used to distinguish between dances of the people and those of the aristocracy. Courtly and formal dances of the 16th–20th centuries often developed from folk dances; these include the gavotte, gigue, mazurka, minuet, polka, samba, tango, and waltz. See also country dance; hula; morris dance; square dance; sword dance; tap dance.
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