Folk dance in Switzerland today has its roots in the 18th and 19th centuries. The dances are pieced together from the many dance traditions of Switzerland's neighbours including France, Germany, Austria, and Italy. The main kinds of dance include the Schottisch, Walzer, Ländler, Marsch, and Polka.
Swiss dance is a new art form. Inspired by the alternative artistes on Monte Verità, it has developed in a variety of ways over the last hundred years. Modern-day Swiss dance is as colourful as its homeland.
From Geneva to Zurich, Locarno to Basel, and St. Gallen to Freiburg, dance can be seen in a wide variety of different forms: classical or contemporary, flamenco or hip-hop, oriental or minimalist – not only in modern theatre auditoriums or neo-classical opera houses, but also in factory halls, corn exchanges, steam plants and open-air stages. Many institutional theatres foster continuity and quality by presenting established repertoires, whereas dance artistes are repeatedly opening up new scope for experiments. Especially in the recent past, the independent Swiss dance scene and the official Swiss institutions have been moving closer together, and new structures are also emerging.