In terms of the origins and purposes of choreographic design, dance has a history as long as the other fine and performing arts, and as rich in terms of its mutations and developments through time. Through liturgical, theatrical, and social or cultural developments, the art of choreography or the creation of movement sequences has served a variety of human needs. Influenced by societal values and norms, dance is one of the many artistic traditions which can often define a culture, and often is at the heart of many landmark life events and celebrations.
Dance brings people together and is the way in which many cultures celebrate life, death, the changing of the seasons, and many other traditions. Social dancing trends can also be viewed within the context of political and social movements, artistic trends (such as that of modern art) and cultural paradigm shifts. In looking at cultural and ethnic dance across societies, it is also clear that ties to spiritual and religious beliefs and traditions have influenced the development and evolution of dance throughout history. It would follow, then, that dance is not only a social and cultural experience, but that it also can be a spiritual or divine experience for many people throughout the world.
Choreography is dimensional and modeled thinking in action, and just as architects and designers go through many paper and cardboard drafts, so do choreographers as they refine and redefine the problem or question of the piece. These cognitive and affective skills require the choreographer to employ all of the creative thinking skills, and to work them out dimensionally in their head before actually trying anything with live dancers.
Thus, the choreographic creative process attempts to define the work, bit by bit, count by count and moment by moment, using all the possible variables (time, space, form, line, dimension, direction, force, effort, flow) in different combinations until it is “right”. The more flexible and able to utilize this process of forming new patterns from old ones, the more effective a choreographer can be.