If we traveled around the world, we would see all kinds of dancers. We might see classical ballerinas in Russia. We might see break dancers performing on the streets of New York. We might even see tango dancers in Argentina.
While the exact reasons we dance remain a mystery, there are a few theories about it.
That’s what I found out from my friend Ed Hagen, an anthropologist at Washington State University who has researched the roots of dance.
In nature, we actually see a lot of animals dancing. It’s not just humans. Bees do a kind of waggle dance where they step in a figure-eight pattern. This movement helps them communicate important information. It lets other bees know where to find the best pollen to make honey.
Birds, especially male birds, will often flutter their bright and beautiful feathers to attract a mate. Dolphins will also make graceful leaps together and twirl around in the ocean to attract a partner.
This process of using dance to find a mate is part of something called courtship, Hagen said. Dance may also be part of courtship in humans, too.