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Yet another odd question. Now, in one of my worlds, I am creating cultures for cats with human intelligence, but this question applies to essentially all quadrupeds. I wanted to introduce dancing into their culture, but this brought up the question, how would quadrupeds dance? Perhaps spinning little circles or intertwining tails, but I want more than that. I'm asking specifically for cats, who don't have much of a physical difference from cats in our world (Except mildly opposable thumbs, their shoulders are a bit more mobile, and they can stand on their haunches like bears), but feel free to broaden it for people asking this or similar in the future.

And, if you need the definition of dance, either "A series of movements that match the speed and rhythm of a piece of music." or, even better, "Dance, the movement of the body in a rhythmic way, usually to music and within a given space, for the purpose of expressing an idea or emotion, releasing energy, or simply taking delight in the movement itself."

We are not acknowledging the fact that real cats cannot 'sing' or make music, this is fiction, they can sing in any style they want and play instruments by my rules. It'd be off-topic anyway.

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    $\begingroup$ You seem to have asked this twice -- worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/188608/… $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Oct 20 '20 at 17:45
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    $\begingroup$ Think less anthromorphic. Tumbling and rolling around on stomachs and back is more natural for cats than it is for humans. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Oct 20 '20 at 17:45
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    $\begingroup$ There is an entire Olympic discipline around large quadrupeds dancing. Here is what it looks like. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Oct 20 '20 at 17:49
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    $\begingroup$ From seeing real cats stretch, I could imagine that they'd adapt some sort of slow-moving yoga-esque dance style that's all about languidly and smoothly transitioning from one pose to the next $\endgroup$
    – Dragongeek
    Oct 20 '20 at 22:52
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    $\begingroup$ I'm fighting the urge to answer with gifs. $\endgroup$ Oct 21 '20 at 3:03
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First, let's examine some dances that humans do but that cats probably can't:

  • Body percussion: due to paw structure, cats likely can't clap or snap. Furthermore, their fur prevents using parts of their bodies as percussion instruments and their light weight makes stomping rather noiseless too unless they're on a prepared surface or wearing shoes. This lack of innate percussion rules out many beat/rhythm dances.

  • Contract partner dancing: unless you anthropomorphize hard, cats walk on four limbs meaning they can't hold on to another partner while they dance. I don't think cats would find it comfortable to dance on two legs and hold on to a partner.

Now, let's look at some advantages cats have:

  • A tail. I'm not sure how consciously cats can control their tails but it's definitely an extra appendage to work with

  • Very flexible body: cat spines can make contortionists green with envy and allow many poses

  • Good in-air control: Cats always land on their feet and can perform some pretty cool acrobatics. Maybe dancing involves leaping?

Finally, with advantages and disadvantages in mind, here are some dance scenarios I can think of:

  • Group pattern dancing: Similar to what you'd see on a Broadway show stage, this style would involve many dancers (over 12) moving in synchronized movements. Cats would weave in and out of each other, form circular patterns, etc. This is typically a performance that cats go to see professionals perform.

  • Classic dancing: One or more participants move smoothly and sinuously with carefully planned steps to smooth jazz-like music. Occasionally, explosive movements are included, but mostly this style is about graceful and purposeful movement. This is what cats might do for fun at a party.

  • Romantic partner dancing: With a romantic partner, this dance is performed as a pair, often in courtship rituals. Individuals start far apart but slowly move closer to each other, eventually escalating to brushing past each other lightly. Maybe there's some "predator/prey" action thrown in where the dominant partner "pursues" the other, hearkening to the natural hunting instinct cats have.

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  • $\begingroup$ Wasn't there a successful Broadway show featuring a large number of large Cats dancing? $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Oct 21 '20 at 5:06
  • $\begingroup$ "I'm not sure how consciously cats can control their tails" yeah, given the effort I've seen mine expend trying to pin their tails to wash them, I often wonder that as well. Of course, since these are fictional creatures, the OP can give them as much or as little conscious control as desired; prehensile tails are, after all, a thing we know exists. (Personally, I've been working on a story wherein the cats don't have much conscious control. I find the idea of a limb with "a mind of its own" fascinating.) $\endgroup$
    – Matthew
    Oct 21 '20 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ This is actually a great answer! As @Peqi mentioned, I can use tails instead of hands. Also, yes, they have conscious control over their tail if they so wish. Visualizing these dances with cats actually seems like it would fit amazingly! I won't accept your answer for the sake of getting more answers and ideas, but it's quite likely you'll be accepted. But, I was wondering, could claws be used to make any sound then? My dog personally has a loud clicking sound with her claws, but they are much larger and thicker than a cat's claws. $\endgroup$
    – Jay
    Oct 21 '20 at 17:36
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Cats already can dance

enter image description here


P.S. For more inspiration, search images for cat dance gif

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They would be able to do social dancing like Scottish Country Dancing, Ceilidh dancing or Reels.

https://youtu.be/eh3sFNPwafA

Using their tails to connect with the other cats instead of taking hands would work perfectly well.

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