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Dance is a performance art form that consists of patterns of movement that are either spontaneous or deliberately chosen. This movement has both an aesthetic and, in certain cases, a metaphorical significance. Dance may be classified and defined according to its choreography, its repertory of movements, its historical era of origin, or any combination of these criteria.

Although these two categories are not necessarily entirely different, there is an essential difference to be made between the settings of theatrical and participation dance; both may serve a variety of purposes, whether social, ceremonial, competitive, sexual, martial, or sacred/liturgical in nature. Other kinds of human movement, such as martial arts, gymnastics, cheerleading, figure skating, synchronised swimming, marching bands, and many other types of sports, are often described as having a dance-like aspect.