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March 7, 2011

Bodies in motion: Dancing around the world

The dictionary defines it as "to move one's feet or body, or both, rhythmically in a pattern of steps, especially to the accompaniment of music.'' People around the world, however, have their own definitions of dance, as exemplified by these images taken since the first of the year. And such expressions can celebrate a culture, win a competition, make a living, entertain a crowd, and play a role in propelling social change. Get those bodies and feet moving. -- Lloyd Young (40 photos total)

A Haitian child finds her own space as a religious crusade is held in the background at the national stadium on Jan. 9 in Port-au-Prince. The ceremony, sponsored by American evangelist Franklin Graham, came a few days before the country noted the one-year anniversary of the magnitude-7.0 quake that killed more than 220,000 people and left millions homeless. (Ramon Espinosa/Associated Press)

For these Iraqi female police cadets, graduation from the Iraqi police academy on Jan. 8 was a reason to celebrate. They were among more than 2,000 cadets graduating at the Baghdad event. (Muhannad Fala'ah/Getty Images) #

Indian women perform a traditional folk dance of garba at an event coinciding with the Hindu festival of Makar Sankranti in New Delhi, India, on Jan. 16. The festival celebrates the sun and harvests. (Gurinder Osan/Associated Press) #

Demonstrations against Hosni Mubarak in Cairo's Tahrir Square veered from celebrations to moments of sheer terror. On the morning of Feb. 8, the 15th straight day of protests, an anti-government demonstrator finds himself nearly alone in the square, so he takes the opportunity to sing and dance along with to a tune by Umm Kulthum, a famous Egyptian singer, played by loud speakers. Three days later, Mubarak resigned (Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images) #

Wielding a traditional spear and a shield, a man dances as other members of the Naga tribe circle him during their traditional new year festival Jan. 15 in Lahe, Burma, near India. The tribe is known for its hunting skills and egalitarian society. The festival lasted three days, ending Jan. 16. (Khin Maung Win/Associated Press) #

Painted blue, with the word "peace" on his chest, a West African dances during a rally Jan. 9 at the Palace of Culture in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The Economic Community of West African States has been mediating a violent crisis pitting embattled strongman Laurent Gbagbo against the man deemed to have won a November presidential runoff, Alassane Ouattara. (Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images) #

The icy waters of the Tundzha River in Bulgaria cannot halt the "Horo" dance in the town of Kalofer on Jan. 6. Performed during Epiphany Day celebrations, the dance is supposed to bring good health to participants throughout the year. (Valentina Petrova/Associated Press) #

Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier perform their short-dance program during competition at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships in Victoria, British Columbia, on Jan. 21. (Andy Clark/Reuters) #

Surf and sprinkles are no match for Kimberly Thoeung of Fresno, Calif., who does a soft shoe in the sand with her mother, Christina, at Seal Beach, Calif., Jan. 2. The family was in Orange County for a visit to Disneyland and wanted to visit the beach before returning to Fresno. (Ana Venegas/Orange County Register via AP) #

First Night in Boston is a spectacle of color, music, movement, and New Year's joy, a combination that encircles Anita Li of Newton as she entertains a crowd at the Hynes Convention Center. Li is with the Chu Ling Dance Academy of Boston. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff) #

An Indian woman in traditional dress dances during festivities to welcome the new year in the village of Narlai, India, late New Year's Eve. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press) #

The Hook Eagle Morris Men dance in the streets of Hartley Wintney, near London, as part of the annual Wassail night on Jan. 7. The event, held near to twelfth night, celebrates both the passing of Christmas and the future good health of the fruit trees. Traditionally the custom involved the local farm workers visiting the orchard after dark with shotguns, horns, food, and a large pail of cider. They would make a loud noise to raise the Sleeping Tree Spirit and to scare off demons. Cider would be poured over the roots and pieces of toast placed in the branches as a gift to the spirit of the tree. The wassail song is sung as a blessing or charm to bring fruitfulness or even in admonishment not to fail in the upcoming year. (Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images) #

A girl dances near plumes of smoke from fires of coal scavenged by her family in the New Colony village in Jharkand, India, on Jan. 7. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press) #

A Libyan rebel who is part of the forces against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi dances as he and others rally before leaving to the front-line near Ras Lanuf, west of the town of Brega, eastern Libya, March 4. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press) #

Members of the Garifuna ethnic group dance during a celebration in honor of the Virgin of Suyapa inside the Basilica of Suyapa in Tegucigalpa Honduras, Feb. 2. Thousands of Catholics came from all over Central America to honor the religious icon during the three-day festival. The Virgin of Suyapa is a venerated miniature figurine of the patron saint of Honduras. (Edgard Garrido/Reuters) #

Ballet dancers compete in the contemporary category at the Prix de Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland, Feb. 1. Created in 1973, the Prix de Lausanne is an international competition for dancers aged 15 to 18. This year, 75 candidates from 19 nationalities competed. (Denis Balibouse/Reuters) #

Federica Faiella and Massomo Scali of Italy perform their short program at the European Figure Skating Championships Jan. 26 in Bern, Switzerland. (Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images) #

A win over Maria Sharapova prompts Andrea Petkovic of Germany to break out in a few dance steps at the Australian Open tournament in Melbourne Jan. 23. (David Gray/Reuters) #

A flapper flashback: Heidi Rosenau and Joe McGlynn of New York participate in a six-hour 1920s style Swing Dance-Off competition to show off their signature moves and stamina in Atlantic City, N.J., on Jan. 29. The competition is part of Atlantic City's commemoration of the city's rich history during the 1920s, and featured the music and dance styles of the 20s-40s. (Tim Larsen/Associated Press) #

A robot tagged "Somali" steals some laughs during the Robot Athlete Cup in Tokyo, on Jan. 30. Somali took part in the dance section in the annual event. (Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images) #

Donning a Betsey Johnson wig, a man dances on the runway after Betsey Johnson's Fall 2011 fashion show during Fashion Week Feb. 14 in New York. (Stephen Chernin/Associated Press) #

Mariano Balois and Yanina Fajar with Tango Inferno perform a tango called "Gallo Ciego" during a rehearsal Jan. 11 at the Joyce Theater in New York. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images) #

Dancers from China's Gansu province Opera Ensemble perform during their Dunhuang Charm Show at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria, Feb. 8. (Stoyan Nenov/Reuters) #

Zhang Zhiyao performs his classical variation during the Prix de Lausanne semifinal competition in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Feb. 5. The Chinese ballet dancer took third prize at the event, an international competition for young dancers. (Valentin Flauraud/Reuters) #

An Egyptian woman and her child dance in an empty shop that is usually frequented by tourists in the Khan el-Khalili bazaar in Old Cairo, on Feb. 10. Days of sometimes violent anti-government rallies closed many shops in the capital. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill) #

Hewitt Bruce and Betty Fisch take a spin on the dance floor at the Edgewater Pointe Estates retirement community in Boca Raton, Fla. The dance was part of a Valentine's Day celebration. (Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press) #

Dancers with the Black Eyed Peas perform during the Super Bowl halftime show at Cowboys Stadium on Feb. 6 in Arlington, Texas. By game's end, cheeseheads were the one food group still dancing. ( Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) #

Usha Nangiar performs Nangiarkoothu, a classical dance of Kerala during a cultural event Jan. 25 in Hyderabad, India. (Mahesh Kumar/Associated Press) #

American Matthew Harding (center) performs with his fans and followers at a compound in Beijing on Feb. 19. Harding is an Internet celebrity known as Dancing Matt for his viral videos "Where The Hell Is Matt," which show him dancing in front of landmarks and street scenes in various countries. (Andy Wong/Associated Press) #

Egyptian youths dance in a Faluka, a traditional boat, on the Nile River in Cairo to celebrate the Islamic holiday marking Prophet Mohammed's birthday Feb. 15. (Hussein Malla/Associated Press) #

Debutants dance the opening waltz during the traditional Opera Ball at the state opera in Vienna, Austria March 3. The grand ball in Vienna is one of the most high-prestige traditional events in the city and was attended by high profile visitors. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images) #

Dancer and choreographer Daniel Ezralow performs with dancers onstage at the Ariston Theatre in Sanremo, Italy, during the 61th Sanremo Music Festival on Feb. 16. (Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images) #

A member of the Canadian dance troupe "The 7 fingers" rehearses in Bogota on Feb. 8. (John Vizcaino/Reuters) #

Rock around and around and around and around the clock tonight: A touch of the 1950s spiced up the 17th Rockin' Race Jamboree International Festival in the southern Spanish town of Torremolinos on Feb. 6. About 2,300 people attended the four-day festival, which is a music party for rock 'n' roll music lovers. (Jon Nazca/Reuters) #

A dragon dance in a Calcutta alley helps bring in the Chinese New Year on Feb. 3. Calcutta, India, has a small Chinese community that became established in the late 18th century. (Bikas Das/Associated Press) #

A Thai girl dances atop her father's car during a large, peaceful, red-shirt rally Jan. 23 in Bangkok. The anti-government red-shirts plan rallies twice a month to commemorate clashes with the military during the April 2009 protest. The Thai government has relaxed restrictions on public gatherings, allowing thousands of protesters to gather as police direct traffic. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) #

A devotee celebrates a three-day festival in tribute to Saint Data Ganj Bakhsh outside his mausoleum in Lahore, Pakistan, on Jan. 24. (K.M. Chaudary/Associated Press) #

Lajiah Hairston finds the beat at a Microsoft Store in Bellevue, Wash., on Jan. 26. She dances to a Kinect game as other customers shop behind her. (Elaine Thompson/Associated Press) #

A ballerina warms up for a rehearsal of "Reflections" at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow on Jan. 26. The modern ballet performance could face a stern test from Russian audiences known for their rigid ideas about classical dance. Critics in the United States praised the production. (Denis Sinyakov/Reuters) #

Indian school girls spin in a swirl of color on the eve of Basant Panchami, the Festival of Spring, in Amritsar on Feb. 7. The girls are dressed in Punjabi traditional folk Giddha outfits, with yellow being the dominant color of the festival. The event also features kite-flying. (Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images) #