Many factors influenced the creation of Slovak music and dance styles, including the nature of the country, the way of life, the distance from major cities, conventions in the clans and villages, movement of the population, and the customs and needs of the community. It was also significantly influenced by gifted individuals and composers who originated from the general population.
Most Slovak dances had a vocal accompaniment. Otherwise, the most common musical accompaniments were bagpipes, violin, bass and flute. Slovak folk dances are characterised by their vigorous temperament and a certain degree of creative freedom. Most dances are performed without holding the partner but standing in a free position next to him or her, with hands at the side. The fast turns, steps and twirling movements lend variety and a unique flair to the graceful choreographic structures.
During the 20th century, traditional dances were at risk of dying out. After World War II, folk dancing became an art form with its own scene. Folk dance groups were gradually established which preserved the traditional dances on a professional level. Today, there are more than a hundred folk dance groups in Slovakia. Traditional choreography is based around the celebrations of the year and includes traditional songs and spoken texts relating to the particular holiday.