In country line dancing, the arms are generally not raised or extended. In waltz, foxtrot and such ballroom dances, the arms are essentially locked with those of the partner. Even when the partners’ bodies separate, the arms extend outwardly but are not usually raised.
In flamenco, tango and other Latin dances, in swing and in ballet, the arms are raised as artistic expression. In Spanish gypsy dances, the castanets are used to make music and thus form part of the artistic expression of the dance.
In ballet and in ice skating and dance, the arms are raised for both artistic expression and as balance.
In Irish tap dance, the arms are kept to the side and in back.
In European folk dances, arms extend to hold the partner’s extended hand. In some folk dances, only one arm is raised as artistic expression.
In Indonesian and Bali, Burmese, Cambodian, Thai and Hindi dancing, the raised arms, and the beautiful movements of the hands and fingers tell the story of the dance. They are artistic expressions.
In Chinese sword dance, fan dance and ribbon dance, the arms and hands are raised to maneuver the sword, the fan and the long ribbons as artistic expression and story telling.
In traditional Japanese folk dance of the fishermen, the arms swing from side to side and up and down as artistic expressions and story telling.
In Chinese (Peking) opera singing, the arms move in gestures to emphasize the singing. This is seen in Peking opera and in conversation when Italians speak.
In African tribal dance, the arms are raised to tell the story of the dance.