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Modern dance is a broad genre of western concert or theatrical dance which included dance styles such as ballet, folk, ethnic, religious, and social dancing; and primarily arose out of Europe and the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was considered to have been developed as a rejection of, or rebellion against,
classical ballet Classical ballet is any of the traditional, formal styles of ballet Ballet () is a type of performance dance that originated during the Italian Renaissance in the fifteenth century and later developed into a concert dance form in France a ...
, and also a way to express social concerns like socioeconomic and cultural factors. In the late 19th century, modern dance artists such as
Isadora Duncan Angela Isadora Duncan (May 26, 1877 or May 27, 1878 – September 14, 1927) was an American dancer who performed to great acclaim throughout Europe and the US. Born and raised in California, she lived and danced in Western Europe, the US and the ...

Isadora Duncan
,
Maud Allan :''For the American film actor see Maude Allen.'' Maud Allan (born as either Beulah Maude Durrant or Ulah Maud Alma Durrant;Birthname given as Ulah Maud Alma DurrantMcConnell, Virginia A. ''Sympathy for the Devil: The Emmanuel Baptist Murders ...

Maud Allan
, and
Loie Fuller Loie Fuller (born Marie Louise Fuller; January 15, 1862 – January 1, 1928), also known as Louie Fuller and Loïe Fuller, was an United States, American actress and dancer who was a pioneer of both modern dance and stage lighting, theatrical lig ...

Loie Fuller
were pioneering new forms and practices in what is now called aesthetic or
free dance Image:Isadora Duncan (grayscale).jpg, Isadora Duncan performing free dance during her 1915–18 American tour. (Photo by Arnold Genthe) Free dance is a 20th-century dance form that preceded modern dance. Rebelling against the rigid constraints of c ...
. These dancers disregarded ballet's strict movement vocabulary (the particular, limited set of movements that were considered proper to ballet) and stopped wearing corsets and pointe shoes in the search for greater freedom of movement. Throughout the 20th century, sociopolitical concerns, major historical events, and the development of other art forms contributed to the continued development of modern dance in the United States and Europe. Moving into the 1960s, new ideas about dance began to emerge as a response to earlier dance forms and to social changes. Eventually,
postmodern dance Postmodern dance is a 20th century concert dance form that came into popularity in the early 1960s. While the term "postmodern" took on a different meaning when used to describe dance, the dance form did take inspiration from the ideologies of the ...
artists would reject the formalism of modern dance, and include elements such as
performance art Performance art is an artwork or art exhibition created through actions executed by the artist or other participants. It may be witnessed live or through documentation, spontaneously developed or written, and is traditionally presented to a pu ...
,
contact improvisation Contact improvisation is a form of improvised dancing that has been developing internationally since 1972. It involves the exploration of one's body in relationship to others by using the fundamentals of sharing weight, touch, and movement awarenes ...
, release technique, and improvisation. American modern dance can be divided (roughly) into three periods or eras. In the Early Modern period ( 1880–1923), characterized by the work of Isadora Duncan, Loie Fuller, ,
Ted Shawn Ted Shawn (born Edwin Myers Shawn; 21 October 1891 – 9 January 1972) was one of the first notable male pioneers of American modern dance. Along with creating the Denishawn School with former wife Ruth St. Denis he was also responsible for the c ...
, and
Eleanor King Eleanor Campbell King (1906–1991) was an United States, American modern dancer, choreographer, and educator. She was a member of the original Humphrey-Weidman company, where she was a principal dancer in the pioneering modern dance movement in ...
, artistic practice changed radically, but clearly distinct modern dance techniques had not yet emerged. In the Central Modern period ( 1923–1946), choreographers
Martha Graham Martha Graham (May 11, 1894 – April 1, 1991) was an American modern dancer and choreographer. Her style, the Graham technique, reshaped American dance and is still taught worldwide. Graham danced and taught for over seventy years. She was ...
,
Doris Humphrey Doris Batcheller Humphrey (October 17, 1895 – December 29, 1958) was an American dancer Dance is a performing art The performing arts are arts such as music, dance, and drama which are performed for an audience. It is different ...
,
Katherine Dunham Katherine Dunham ( June 22, 1909 – May 21, 2006) was an African-American dancer, choreographer, creator of the Dunham Technique, author, educator, anthropologist, and social activist. Dunham had one of the most successful dance careers in Afr ...

Katherine Dunham
,
Charles Weidman Charles Weidman (July 22, 1901 – July 15, 1975) was a renowned choreographer, modern dancer and teacher. He is well known as one of the pioneers of modern dance in America. He wanted to break free from the traditional movements of dance forms ...
, and
Lester HortonLester Horton (23 January 1906 – 2 November 1953) was an American dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Biography Early years Lester Iradell Horton was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on January 23, 1906. His parents were Iradell and Pollyanna Horto ...
sought to develop distinctively American movement styles and vocabularies, and developed clearly defined and recognizable dance training systems. In the
Late Modern period In many periodizations of , the late modern period followed the . It began approximately in the mid-18th century and depending on the author either ended with the beginning of after , or includes that period up to the present day. Notable hist ...
( 1946–1957), José Limón,
Pearl Primus Pearl Eileen Primus (November 29, 1919 – October 29, 1994) was an American dancer, choreographer and anthropologist. Primus played an important role in the presentation of African dance to American audiences. Early in her career she saw the need t ...
,
Merce Cunningham Mercier Philip "Merce" Cunningham (April 16, 1919 – July 26, 2009) was an American dancer and choreographer who was at the forefront of American modern dance for more than 50 years. He was notable for frequent collaboration with artists of o ...
,
Talley BeattyTalley Beatty (22 December 1918 – 29 April 1995) was born in Cedar Grove, Shreveport, Louisiana, Cedar Grove, Louisiana, a section of Shreveport, but grew up in Chicago, Illinois. He is considered one of the greatest of African American choreograph ...
,
Erick Hawkins Frederick "Erick" Hawkins (April 23, 1909November 23, 1994), was an American modern-dance choreographer Choreography is the art or practice of designing sequence In mathematics, a sequence is an enumerated collection of objects in which repet ...
,
Anna Sokolow Anna Sokolow (February 9, 1910, Hartford, Connecticut Hartford is the List of capitals in the United States, capital city of the U.S. state of Connecticut. It was the seat of Hartford County, Connecticut, Hartford County until Connecticut disb ...
,
Anna Halprin Anna Halprin (born Hannah Dorothy Schuman on July 13, 1920) helped redefine dance in postwar America and pioneer the experimental art form known as postmodern dance Postmodern dance is a 20th century concert dance form that came into popularity in ...
, and Paul Taylor introduced clear
abstractionism Abstractionism is the theory that the mind obtains some or all of its concepts by abstraction, abstracting them from concepts it already has, or from experience.Geach, Peter (1957) Mental Acts - Their Contents and Their Objects. Routledge Kegan Pau ...
and
avant-garde The avant-garde (; In 'advance guard' or '', literally 'fore-guard') are people or works that are experimental, , or unorthodox with respect to , , or .John Picchione, The New Avant-garde in Italy: Theoretical Debate and Poetic Practices' (Tor ...
movements, and paved the way for
postmodern dance Postmodern dance is a 20th century concert dance form that came into popularity in the early 1960s. While the term "postmodern" took on a different meaning when used to describe dance, the dance form did take inspiration from the ideologies of the ...
. Modern dance has evolved with each subsequent generation of participating artists. Artistic content has morphed and shifted from one choreographer to another, as have styles and techniques. Artists such as Graham and Horton developed techniques in the Central Modern Period that are still taught worldwide and numerous other types of modern dance exist today.


Background

Modern dance is often considered to have emerged as a rejection of, or rebellion against, classical
ballet Ballet () is a type of performance dance that originated during the Italian Renaissance in the fifteenth century and later developed into a concert dance form in France and Russia. It has since become a widespread and highly technical form of ...

ballet
, although historians have suggested that socioeconomic changes in both the United States and Europe helped to initiate shifts in the dance world. In America, increasing
industrialization Factories, refineries, mines, and agribusiness are all elements of industrialisation Industrialisation ( alternatively spelled industrialization) is the period of social and economic change that transforms a human group from an agrarian societ ...
, the rise of a middle class (which had more disposable income and free time), and the decline of Victorian social strictures led to, among other changes, a new interest in health and physical fitness. "It was in this atmosphere that a 'new dance' was emerging as much from a rejection of social structures as from a dissatisfaction with ballet." During that same period, "the champions of physical education helped to prepare the way for modern dance, and
gymnastic Gymnastics is a sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants and, in some cases, entert ...
exercises served as technical starting points for young women who longed to dance."
Women's college Women's colleges in higher education Higher education is tertiary education leading to award of an academic degree. Higher education, also called post-secondary education, third-level or tertiary education, is an optional final stage of formal ...
s began offering "aesthetic dance" courses by the end of the 1880s. Emil Rath, who wrote at length about this emerging art form at the time stated,
"Music and rhythmic bodily movement are twin sisters of art, as they have come into existence simultaneously...today we see in the artistic work of Isadora Duncan, Maud Allan, and others the use of a form of dancing which strives to portray in movements what the music master expresses in his compositions—interpretative dancing."


Free dance

*
Isadora Duncan Angela Isadora Duncan (May 26, 1877 or May 27, 1878 – September 14, 1927) was an American dancer who performed to great acclaim throughout Europe and the US. Born and raised in California, she lived and danced in Western Europe, the US and the ...

Isadora Duncan
(born in 1877) was a predecessor of modern dance with her stress on the center or torso, bare feet, loose hair, free-flowing costumes, and incorporation of
humor Humour (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World ...

humor
into
emotional expression An emotional expression is a behavior that communicates an emotional state or attitude. It can be verbal or non-verbal, and can occur with or without self-awareness. Emotional expressions include facial movements like smiling or scowling, simple beh ...
. She was inspired by classical Greek arts, folk dances, social dances, nature, natural forces, and new American athleticism such as skipping, running, jumping, leaping, and abrupt movements. She thought that
ballet Ballet () is a type of performance dance that originated during the Italian Renaissance in the fifteenth century and later developed into a concert dance form in France and Russia. It has since become a widespread and highly technical form of ...

ballet
was ugly and meaningless gymnastics. Although she returned to the United States at various points in her life, her work was not well received there. She returned to Europe and died in Nice in 1927. *
Loie Fuller Loie Fuller (born Marie Louise Fuller; January 15, 1862 – January 1, 1928), also known as Louie Fuller and Loïe Fuller, was an United States, American actress and dancer who was a pioneer of both modern dance and stage lighting, theatrical lig ...

Loie Fuller
(born in 1862) was a
burlesque A burlesque is a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects. William Shakespeare, Shakespeare's Pyramus and Thisbe scene in ''Mi ...
"skirt" dancer experimenting with the effect that gas lighting had on her silk costumes. Fuller developed a form of natural movement and improvisation techniques that were used in conjunction with her revolutionary lighting equipment and translucent silk costumes. She patented her apparatus and methods of stage lighting, that included the use of coloured gels and burning chemicals for luminescence, and her voluminous silk stage costumes. * (born in 1879) influenced by the actress
Sarah Bernhardt Sarah Bernhardt (; born Henriette-Rosine Bernard; 22 or 23 October 1844 – 26 March 1923) was a French stage actress who starred in some of the most popular French plays of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including ''La Dame Aux Camelia ...

Sarah Bernhardt
and Japanese dancer
Sada Yacco Sada Yacco or was a Japanese geisha, actress and dancer. Early life Sadayakko Kawakami was born July 18, 1871, the youngest of twelve children.Downer, Leslie. (February 2004)
003003, O03, 0O3, OO3 may refer to: *003, fictional British 00 Agent *003, former emergency telephone number for the Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe *No ...

003
''Madame Sadayakko The Geisha Who Bewitched the West''. Gotham ...
, developed her ''translations'' of
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
n culture and
mythology Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the ca ...

mythology
. Her performances quickly became popular and she toured extensively while researching Asian culture and arts.


Expressionist and early modern dance in Europe

In Europe,
Mary Wigman Mary Wigman (born Karoline Sophie Marie Wiegmann; 13 November 1886 in Hanover – 18 September 1973 in Berlin) was a German dancer Dance is a performing art The performing arts are arts such as music, dance, and drama which are perfo ...

Mary Wigman
in Germany, Francois Delsarte, Émile Jaques-Dalcroze (
Eurhythmics Dalcroze eurhythmics, also known as the Dalcroze method or simply eurhythmics, is one of several developmental approaches including the Kodály method, Orff Schulwerk The Orff Schulwerk, or simply the Orff Approach, is a developmental approach ...
), and
Rudolf Laban Rudolf von Laban, also known as Rudolf Laban ( hu, Rezső Lábán de Váraljas, Lábán Rezső, Lábán Rudolf; 15 December 1879 – 1 July 1958), was an Austro-Hungarian dance artist and theorist A theory is a rational type of abstract thinkin ...

Rudolf Laban
developed theories of human movement and expression, and methods of instruction that led to the development of European modern and
Expressionist dance Expressionist dance'' is a term for a movement that arose in 1900 as a protest against the artistic stagnation of classical ballet and towards maturity in the future of art in general. Traditional ballet was perceived as the austere, mechani ...
. Other pioneers included
Kurt Jooss Kurt Jooss (12 January 1901 – 22 May 1979)Kurt Jooss
Internationales Biographisches Archiv ...

Kurt Jooss
(
Ausdruckstanz Expressionist dance'' is a term for a movement that arose in 1900 as a protest against the artistic stagnation of classical ballet and towards maturity in the future of art in general. Traditional ballet was perceived as the austere, mechani ...
) and Harald Kreutzberg.


Radical dance

Disturbed by the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
and the rising threat of
fascism Fascism () is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and strong regimentation of society and the economy that rose to prominence in early 20th-century Europ ...

fascism
in Europe, the radical dancers tried to raise consciousness by dramatizing the
economic An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products ...

economic
,
social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology The word "Social" derives fr ...

social
,
ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously a ...

ethnic
and
political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of res ...

political
crises of their time. *
Hanya Holm Hanya Holm (born Johanna Eckert; March 3, 1893, Worms, Germany – died November 3, 1992, New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the Unit ...
- A student of
Mary Wigman Mary Wigman (born Karoline Sophie Marie Wiegmann; 13 November 1886 in Hanover – 18 September 1973 in Berlin) was a German dancer Dance is a performing art The performing arts are arts such as music, dance, and drama which are perfo ...

Mary Wigman
and an instructor at the Wigman School in
Dresden Dresden (, ; wen, label=Sorbian languages, Upper and Lower Sorbian, Drježdźany) is the capital city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony and its second most populous city, after Leipzig. It is the List of cities in German ...

Dresden
, founded the New York Wigman School of Dance in 1931 (which became the Hanya Holm Studio in 1936) introducing Wigman technique,
Rudolf Laban Rudolf von Laban, also known as Rudolf Laban ( hu, Rezső Lábán de Váraljas, Lábán Rezső, Lábán Rudolf; 15 December 1879 – 1 July 1958), was an Austro-Hungarian dance artist and theorist A theory is a rational type of abstract thinkin ...

Rudolf Laban
's theories of spatial dynamics, and later her own dance techniques to American modern dance. An accomplished choreographer, she was a founding artist of the first
American Dance Festival The American Dance Festival (ADF) under the direction of Executive Director Jodee Nimerichter hosts its main summer dance courses including Summer Dance Intensive, Pre-Professional Dance Intensive, and the Dance Professional Workshops. It also host ...
in Bennington (1934). Holm's dance work ''Metropolitan Daily'' was the first modern dance composition to be televised on
NBC The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), c ...
and her
labanotation Labanotation or Kinetography Laban is a notation system for recording and analyzing human movement that was derived from the work of Rudolf Laban who described it in ''Schrifttanz'' (“Written Dance”) in 1928. His initial work has been further ...

labanotation
score for ''
Kiss Me, Kate ''Kiss Me, Kate'' is a musical written by Bella and Samuel Spewack with music and lyrics by Cole Porter Cole Albert Porter (June 9, 1891 – October 15, 1964) was an American composer and songwriter. Many of his songs became standards n ...
'' (1948) was the first
choreography Choreography is the art or practice of designing sequence In mathematics, a sequence is an enumerated collection of objects in which repetitions are allowed and order theory, order matters. Like a Set (mathematics), set, it contains Element (m ...

choreography
to be
copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. ...

copyright
ed in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
. Holm choreographed extensively in the fields of
concert dance 300px, Ballet dancers executing ''grand jetes'' during a concert dance performance. Concert dance (also known as performance dance or theatre dance in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly know ...
and
musical theater Musical theatre is a form of theatre, theatrical performance that combines songs, spoken dialogue, acting and dance. The story and emotional content of a musical – humor, pathos, love, anger – are communicated through words, music, ...
. *
Anna Sokolow Anna Sokolow (February 9, 1910, Hartford, Connecticut Hartford is the List of capitals in the United States, capital city of the U.S. state of Connecticut. It was the seat of Hartford County, Connecticut, Hartford County until Connecticut disb ...
- A student of Martha Graham and Louis Horst, Sokolow created her own dance company (circa 1930). Presenting dramatic contemporary imagery, Sokolow's compositions were generally abstract, often revealing the full spectrum of human experience reflecting the tension and alienation of the time and the ''truth'' of human movement. * José Limón - In 1946, after studying and performing with Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman, Limón established his own company with Humphrey as artistic director. It was under her mentorship that Limón created his signature dance ''The Moor’s Pavane'' (1949). Limón's choreographic works and technique remain a strong influence on contemporary dance practice. *
Merce Cunningham Mercier Philip "Merce" Cunningham (April 16, 1919 – July 26, 2009) was an American dancer and choreographer who was at the forefront of American modern dance for more than 50 years. He was notable for frequent collaboration with artists of o ...
- A former ballet student and performer with Martha Graham, he presented his first New York solo concert with
John Cage John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially classical ...
in 1944. Influenced by Cage and embracing
modernist Modernism is both a philosophical movement A philosophical movement refers to the phenomenon defined by a group of philosophers A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and ...
ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of ...
using
postmodern Postmodernism is an intellectual stance or mode of discourse defined by an attitude of skepticism Skepticism (American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known a ...
processes, Cunningham introduced ''chance procedures'' and ''pure movement'' to choreography and ''Cunningham technique'' to the cannon of 20th-century dance techniques. Cunningham set the seeds for
postmodern dance Postmodern dance is a 20th century concert dance form that came into popularity in the early 1960s. While the term "postmodern" took on a different meaning when used to describe dance, the dance form did take inspiration from the ideologies of the ...
with his non-linear, non-climactic, non-psychological abstract work. In these works each element is in and of itself expressive, and the observer (in large part) determines what it communicates. *
Erick Hawkins Frederick "Erick" Hawkins (April 23, 1909November 23, 1994), was an American modern-dance choreographer Choreography is the art or practice of designing sequence In mathematics, a sequence is an enumerated collection of objects in which repet ...
- A student of
George Balanchine George Balanchine (; Various sources: * * * * born Georgiy Melitonovich Balanchivadze; ka, გიორგი მელიტონის ძე ბალანჩივაძე; January 22, 1904 (O. S. January 9) – April 30, 1983) was ...
, became a soloist and the first male dancer in Martha Graham's dance company. In 1951, Hawkins, interested in the new field of
kinesiology Kinesiology is the scientific study of human body movement. Kinesiology addresses Physiological, Anatomical, Biomechanical, and Neuropsychological Principles and Mechanisms of Movement. Applications of kinesiology to human health include biomecha ...
, opened his own school and developed his own technique (Hawkins technique) a forerunner of most somatic dance techniques. * Paul Taylor - A student of the
Juilliard School The Juilliard School () is a Private university, private performing arts music school, conservatory in New York City. Established in 1905, the school trains about 850 undergraduate and graduate students in dance, drama, and music. It is widely ...
of Music and the
Connecticut College Connecticut College (Conn College or Conn) is a private Liberal arts colleges in the United States, liberal arts college in New London, Connecticut. It is a residential, four-year undergraduate institution with nearly all of its approximately 1, ...
School of Dance. In 1952 his performance at the
American Dance Festival The American Dance Festival (ADF) under the direction of Executive Director Jodee Nimerichter hosts its main summer dance courses including Summer Dance Intensive, Pre-Professional Dance Intensive, and the Dance Professional Workshops. It also host ...
attracted the attention of several major choreographers. Performing in the companies of
Merce Cunningham Mercier Philip "Merce" Cunningham (April 16, 1919 – July 26, 2009) was an American dancer and choreographer who was at the forefront of American modern dance for more than 50 years. He was notable for frequent collaboration with artists of o ...
,
Martha Graham Martha Graham (May 11, 1894 – April 1, 1991) was an American modern dancer and choreographer. Her style, the Graham technique, reshaped American dance and is still taught worldwide. Graham danced and taught for over seventy years. She was ...
, and
George Balanchine George Balanchine (; Various sources: * * * * born Georgiy Melitonovich Balanchivadze; ka, გიორგი მელიტონის ძე ბალანჩივაძე; January 22, 1904 (O. S. January 9) – April 30, 1983) was ...
(in that order), he founded the
Paul Taylor Dance Company Paul Taylor Dance Company, is a modern dance company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Natural person, natural, Legal personality, legal or a mixture of both, wit ...

Paul Taylor Dance Company
in 1954. The use of everyday gestures and
modernist Modernism is both a philosophical movement A philosophical movement refers to the phenomenon defined by a group of philosophers A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and ...
ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of ...
is characteristic of his choreography. Former members of the Paul Taylor Dance Company included
Twyla Tharp Twyla Tharp (; born July 1, 1941) is an American dancer, choreographer, and author who lives and works in New York City. In 1966 she formed the company Twyla Tharp Dance. Her work often uses classical music, jazz, and contemporary pop music. Fro ...

Twyla Tharp
, Laura Dean, Dan Wagoner, and Senta Driver. *
Alwin NikolaisAlwin Nikolais (November 25, 1910 – May 8, 1993) was an American choreographer. Life Nikolais was born in Southington, Connecticut Southington is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than village ...
- A student of
Hanya Holm Hanya Holm (born Johanna Eckert; March 3, 1893, Worms, Germany – died November 3, 1992, New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the Unit ...
. Nikolais use of multimedia in works such as ''Masks, Props, and Mobiles'' (1953), ''Totem'' (1960), and ''Count Down'' (1979) was unmatched by other choreographers. Often presenting his dancers in constrictive spaces and costumes with complicated sound and sets, he focused their attention on the physical tasks of overcoming obstacles he placed in their way. Nikolais viewed the dancer not as an artist of self-expression, but as a talent who could investigate the properties of physical space and movement.


In the United States


Early modern dance

In 1915, Ruth St. Denis founded the
DenishawnThe Denishawn School of Dancing and Related Arts, founded in 1915 by Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn in Los Angeles, California Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., ...
school and dance company with her husband
Ted Shawn Ted Shawn (born Edwin Myers Shawn; 21 October 1891 – 9 January 1972) was one of the first notable male pioneers of American modern dance. Along with creating the Denishawn School with former wife Ruth St. Denis he was also responsible for the c ...
.
Martha Graham Martha Graham (May 11, 1894 – April 1, 1991) was an American modern dancer and choreographer. Her style, the Graham technique, reshaped American dance and is still taught worldwide. Graham danced and taught for over seventy years. She was ...
,
Doris Humphrey Doris Batcheller Humphrey (October 17, 1895 – December 29, 1958) was an American dancer Dance is a performing art The performing arts are arts such as music, dance, and drama which are performed for an audience. It is different ...
, and
Charles Weidman Charles Weidman (July 22, 1901 – July 15, 1975) was a renowned choreographer, modern dancer and teacher. He is well known as one of the pioneers of modern dance in America. He wanted to break free from the traditional movements of dance forms ...
were pupils at the school and members of the dance company. Seeking a wider and more accepting audience for their work, Duncan, Fuller, and Ruth St. Denis toured
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
.
Martha Graham Martha Graham (May 11, 1894 – April 1, 1991) was an American modern dancer and choreographer. Her style, the Graham technique, reshaped American dance and is still taught worldwide. Graham danced and taught for over seventy years. She was ...
is often regarded as the founding mother of modern 20th-century concert dance. Graham viewed
ballet Ballet () is a type of performance dance that originated during the Italian Renaissance in the fifteenth century and later developed into a concert dance form in France and Russia. It has since become a widespread and highly technical form of ...

ballet
as too one-sided:
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
an, imperialistic, and un-American. She became a student at the Denishawn school in 1916 and then moved to
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
in 1923, where she performed in
musical comedies Musical theatre is a form of theatrical Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience ...
, music halls, and worked on her own
choreography Choreography is the art or practice of designing sequence In mathematics, a sequence is an enumerated collection of objects in which repetitions are allowed and order theory, order matters. Like a Set (mathematics), set, it contains Element (m ...

choreography
. Graham developed her own dance technique,
Graham technique Graham technique is a modern dance movement style and pedagogy created by American dancer and choreographer Martha Graham (1894–1991). Graham technique has been called the "cornerstone" of American modern dance, and has been taught worldwid ...
, that hinged on concepts of and release. In Graham's teachings, she wanted her students to "Feel". To "Feel", means having a heightened sense of awareness of being grounded to the floor while, at the same time, feeling the energy throughout your entire body, extending it to the audience. Her principal contributions to dance are the focus of the ‘center’ of the body (as contrast to ballet's emphasis on limbs), coordination between
breathing Breathing (or ventilation) is the process of moving air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of th ...

breathing
and
movement Movement may refer to: Common uses * Movement (clockwork), the internal mechanism of a timepiece * Motion (physics), commonly referred to as movement Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * Movement (short story), "Movement", a shor ...
, and a dancer's relationship with the floor.


Popularization

In 1927, newspapers regularly began assigning dance critics, such as Walter Terry, and Edwin Denby, who approached performances from the viewpoint of a movement specialist rather than as a reviewer of music or drama. Educators accepted modern dance into college and university curricula, first as a part of physical education, then as performing art. Many college teachers were trained at the Bennington Summer School of the Dance, established at
Bennington College Bennington College is a Private university, private Liberal arts colleges in the United States, liberal arts college in Bennington, Vermont. Founded in 1932 as a women's college, it became co-educational in 1969. It claims to be the first college ...

Bennington College
in 1934. Of the Bennington program, Agnes de Mille wrote, "...there was a fine commingling of all kinds of artists, musicians, and designers, and secondly, because all those responsible for booking the college concert series across the continent were assembled there. ... free from the limiting strictures of the three big monopolistic managements, who pressed for preference of their European clients. As a consequence, for the first time American dancers were hired to tour America nationwide, and this marked the beginning of their solvency."


African American

African American dance African-American dance Dance is a performing art art form, form consisting of sequences of movement, either improvised or purposefully selected. This movement has aesthetic and often symbolism (arts), symbolic value. Dance can be categori ...
blended modern dance with
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...

Africa
n and
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles ...
movement (flexible torso and spine, articulated pelvis, isolation of the limbs, and polyrhythmic movement).
Katherine Dunham Katherine Dunham ( June 22, 1909 – May 21, 2006) was an African-American dancer, choreographer, creator of the Dunham Technique, author, educator, anthropologist, and social activist. Dunham had one of the most successful dance careers in Afr ...

Katherine Dunham
trained in ballet, founded ''Ballet Negre'' in 1936 and then the ''Katherine Dunham Dance Company'' based in
Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive map of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name ...

Chicago
. In 1945, she opened a school in New York, teaching ''Katherine Dunham Technique'', African and Caribbean movement integrated with ballet and modern dance.
Pearl Primus Pearl Eileen Primus (November 29, 1919 – October 29, 1994) was an American dancer, choreographer and anthropologist. Primus played an important role in the presentation of African dance to American audiences. Early in her career she saw the need t ...
drew on African and Caribbean dances to create strong dramatic works characterized by large leaps. She often based her dances on the work of black writers and on racial issues, such as
Langston Hughes James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1901 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri Joplin is a city in Jasper Jasper, an aggregate of microgranular quartz ...

Langston Hughes
's 1944 '' The Negro Speaks of Rivers'', and Abel Meeropol, Lewis Allan's 1945 ''Strange Fruit'' (1945). Her dance company developed into the ''Pearl Primus Dance Language Institute''. Alvin Ailey studied under
Lester HortonLester Horton (23 January 1906 – 2 November 1953) was an American dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Biography Early years Lester Iradell Horton was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on January 23, 1906. His parents were Iradell and Pollyanna Horto ...
, Bella Lewitzky, and later Martha Graham. He spent several years working in both concert and theater dance. In 1958, Ailey and a group of young African-American dancers performed as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City, New York. He drew upon his "blood memories" of Texas, the blues, spirituals and Gospel music, gospel as inspiration. His most popular and critically acclaimed work is ''Revelations'' (1960).


Legacy of modern dance

The legacy of modern dance can be seen in lineage of 20th-century concert dance forms. Although often producing divergent dance forms, many seminal dance artists share a common heritage that can be traced back to free dance.


Postmodern dance

Postmodern dance developed in the 1960s in United States when society questioned truths and ideologies in politics and art. This period was marked by
social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology The word "Social" derives fr ...

social
and cultural experimentation in the arts. Choreographers no longer created specific 'schools' or 'styles'. The influences from different periods of dance became more vague and fragmented.


Contemporary dance

Contemporary dance emerged in the 1950s as the dance form that is combining the modern dance elements and the classical
ballet Ballet () is a type of performance dance that originated during the Italian Renaissance in the fifteenth century and later developed into a concert dance form in France and Russia. It has since become a widespread and highly technical form of ...

ballet
elements. It can use elements from non-Western dance cultures, such as African dancing with bent knees as a characteristic trait, and Butoh, Japanese contemporary dancing that developed in the 1950s. It incorporates modern European influences, via the work of pioneers like Isadora Duncan. According to Treva Bedinghaus, "Modern dancers use dancing to express their innermost emotions, often to get closer to their inner-selves. Before attempting to choreograph a routine, the modern dancer decides which emotions to try to convey to the audience. Many modern dancers choose a subject near and dear to their hearts, such as a lost love or a personal failure. The dancer will choose music that relates to the story they wish to tell, or choose to use no music at all, and then choose a costume to reflect their chosen emotions."


Teachers and their students

This list illustrates some important teacher-student relationships in modern dance. *
Loie Fuller Loie Fuller (born Marie Louise Fuller; January 15, 1862 – January 1, 1928), also known as Louie Fuller and Loïe Fuller, was an United States, American actress and dancer who was a pioneer of both modern dance and stage lighting, theatrical lig ...

Loie Fuller
*
Isadora Duncan Angela Isadora Duncan (May 26, 1877 or May 27, 1878 – September 14, 1927) was an American dancer who performed to great acclaim throughout Europe and the US. Born and raised in California, she lived and danced in Western Europe, the US and the ...

Isadora Duncan
—''Duncan technique'' *Grete Wiesenthal * **
Ted Shawn Ted Shawn (born Edwin Myers Shawn; 21 October 1891 – 9 January 1972) was one of the first notable male pioneers of American modern dance. Along with creating the Denishawn School with former wife Ruth St. Denis he was also responsible for the c ...
—''Shawn Fundamentals'' **
DenishawnThe Denishawn School of Dancing and Related Arts, founded in 1915 by Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn in Los Angeles, California Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., ...
(school and company) ***
Doris Humphrey Doris Batcheller Humphrey (October 17, 1895 – December 29, 1958) was an American dancer Dance is a performing art The performing arts are arts such as music, dance, and drama which are performed for an audience. It is different ...
and
Charles Weidman Charles Weidman (July 22, 1901 – July 15, 1975) was a renowned choreographer, modern dancer and teacher. He is well known as one of the pioneers of modern dance in America. He wanted to break free from the traditional movements of dance forms ...
—''The Art of Making Dances'' (Humphrey) ****Humphrey-Weidman school—''Humphrey-Weidman technique (fall and recovery)'' ***** José Limón—''Limón technique'' ***
Martha Graham Martha Graham (May 11, 1894 – April 1, 1991) was an American modern dancer and choreographer. Her style, the Graham technique, reshaped American dance and is still taught worldwide. Graham danced and taught for over seventy years. She was ...
—''Graham technique'' (and Louis Horst) ****
Erick Hawkins Frederick "Erick" Hawkins (April 23, 1909November 23, 1994), was an American modern-dance choreographer Choreography is the art or practice of designing sequence In mathematics, a sequence is an enumerated collection of objects in which repet ...
(via
George Balanchine George Balanchine (; Various sources: * * * * born Georgiy Melitonovich Balanchivadze; ka, გიორგი მელიტონის ძე ბალანჩივაძე; January 22, 1904 (O. S. January 9) – April 30, 1983) was ...
)—Hawkins technique ****
Anna Sokolow Anna Sokolow (February 9, 1910, Hartford, Connecticut Hartford is the List of capitals in the United States, capital city of the U.S. state of Connecticut. It was the seat of Hartford County, Connecticut, Hartford County until Connecticut disb ...
****May O'Donnell ****
Merce Cunningham Mercier Philip "Merce" Cunningham (April 16, 1919 – July 26, 2009) was an American dancer and choreographer who was at the forefront of American modern dance for more than 50 years. He was notable for frequent collaboration with artists of o ...
—''Cunningham technique'' (also see Postmodern dance) *****Yvonne Rainer *****Margaret Jenkins *****Steve Paxton *****Richard Alston (choreographer), Richard Alston **** Paul Taylor *****
Twyla Tharp Twyla Tharp (; born July 1, 1941) is an American dancer, choreographer, and author who lives and works in New York City. In 1966 she formed the company Twyla Tharp Dance. Her work often uses classical music, jazz, and contemporary pop music. Fro ...

Twyla Tharp
****Trisha Brown ****Ohad Naharin *
Lester HortonLester Horton (23 January 1906 – 2 November 1953) was an American dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Biography Early years Lester Iradell Horton was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on January 23, 1906. His parents were Iradell and Pollyanna Horto ...
—"Horton Technique" **Bella Lewitzky **Alvin Ailey *Rudolf von Laban **
Kurt Jooss Kurt Jooss (12 January 1901 – 22 May 1979)Kurt Jooss
Internationales Biographisches Archiv ...

Kurt Jooss
(
Ausdruckstanz Expressionist dance'' is a term for a movement that arose in 1900 as a protest against the artistic stagnation of classical ballet and towards maturity in the future of art in general. Traditional ballet was perceived as the austere, mechani ...
) ***Pina Bausch (Tanztheater) **
Mary Wigman Mary Wigman (born Karoline Sophie Marie Wiegmann; 13 November 1886 in Hanover – 18 September 1973 in Berlin) was a German dancer Dance is a performing art The performing arts are arts such as music, dance, and drama which are perfo ...

Mary Wigman
(
Expressionist dance Expressionist dance'' is a term for a movement that arose in 1900 as a protest against the artistic stagnation of classical ballet and towards maturity in the future of art in general. Traditional ballet was perceived as the austere, mechani ...
) ***Ursula Cain ****Heike Hennig (see ''Dancing with Time'') ***
Hanya Holm Hanya Holm (born Johanna Eckert; March 3, 1893, Worms, Germany – died November 3, 1992, New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the Unit ...
****Valerie Bettis ****
Alwin NikolaisAlwin Nikolais (November 25, 1910 – May 8, 1993) was an American choreographer. Life Nikolais was born in Southington, Connecticut Southington is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than village ...
—''decentralization'' *****Murray Louis *****Beverly Schmidt Blossom * Émile Jaques-Dalcroze **
Mary Wigman Mary Wigman (born Karoline Sophie Marie Wiegmann; 13 November 1886 in Hanover – 18 September 1973 in Berlin) was a German dancer Dance is a performing art The performing arts are arts such as music, dance, and drama which are perfo ...

Mary Wigman
**Marie Rambert *
Katherine Dunham Katherine Dunham ( June 22, 1909 – May 21, 2006) was an African-American dancer, choreographer, creator of the Dunham Technique, author, educator, anthropologist, and social activist. Dunham had one of the most successful dance careers in Afr ...

Katherine Dunham
—''Katherine Dunham Technique'' *
Pearl Primus Pearl Eileen Primus (November 29, 1919 – October 29, 1994) was an American dancer, choreographer and anthropologist. Primus played an important role in the presentation of African dance to American audiences. Early in her career she saw the need t ...
**Garth Fagan *Helen Tamiris **Daniel Nagrin


See also

* Concert dance * List of dance styles * Women in dance


References


Further reading

*Adshead-Lansdale, J. (Ed) (1994) ''Dance History: An Introduction''. Routledge. *Anderson, J. (1992) ''Ballet & Modern Dance: A Concise History''. Independent Publishers Group. *Au, S. (2002) ''Ballet and Modern Dance (World of Art)''. Thames & Hudson. *Brown, J. Woodford, C, H. and Mindlin, N. (Eds) (1998) (''The Vision of Modern Dance: In the Words of Its Creators''). Independent Publishers Group. *Cheney, G. (1989) ''Basic Concepts in Modern Dance: A Creative Approach''. Independent Publishers Group. *Daly, A. (2002) ''Done into Dance: Isadora Duncan in America''. Wesleyan Univ Press. *de Mille, A. (1991) ''Martha : The Life and Work of Martha Graham''. Random House. *Duncan, I. (1937) ''The technique of Isadora Duncan''. Dance Horizons. * * *Foulkes, J, L. (2002) ''Modern Bodies: Dance and American Modernism from Martha Graham to Alvin Ailey''. The University of North Carolina Press. *Graham, M. (1973) ''The Notebooks of Martha Graham''. Harcourt. *Graham, M. (1992) ''Martha Graham: Blood Memory: An Autobiography''. Pan Macmillan. *Hawkins, E. and Celichowska, R. (2000) ''The Erick Hawkins Modern Dance Technique''. Independent Publishers Group. *Hodgson, M. (1976) ''Quintet: Five American Dance Companies''. William Morrow and Company. *Horosko, M (Ed) (2002) ''Martha Graham: The Evolution of Her Dance Theory and Training''. University Press of Florida. *Humphrey, D. and Pollack, B. (Ed) (1991) ''The Art of Making Dances'' Princeton Book Co. *Hutchinson Guest, A. (1998) ''Shawn's Fundamentals of Dance (Language of Dance)''. Routledge. *Kriegsman, S, A.(1981) ''Modern Dance in America: the Bennington Years''. G K Hall. *Lewis, D, D. (1999) ''The Illustrated Dance Technique of Jose Limon''. Princeton Book Co. *Long, R. A. (1995) ''The Black Tradition in Modern Dance''. Smithmark Publishers. *Love, P. (1997) ''Modern Dance Terminology: The ABC's of Modern Dance as Defined by its Originators''. Independent Publishers Group. *McDonagh, D. (1976) ''The Complete Guide to Modern Dance'' Doubleday. *McDonagh, D. (1990) ''The Rise and Fall of Modern Dance''. Chicago Review Press. *Mazo, J, H. (2000) ''Prime Movers: The Makers of Modern Dance in America''. Independent Publishers Group. *Minton, S. (1984) ''Modern Dance: Body & Mind''. Morton Publishing Company. *Roseman, J, L. (2004) ''Dance Was Her Religion: The Spiritual Choreography of Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis and Martha Graham''. Hohm Press. *Shelton, Suzanne. Divine Dancer: A Biography of Ruth St. Denis. New York: Doubleday, 1981. *Sherman, J. (1983) ''Denishawn: The Enduring Influence''. Twayne. *Terry, W. (1976) ''Ted Shawn, father of American dance : a biography''. Dial Press. {{Authority control Modern dance, Modernism Articles containing video clips Dances es:Danza moderna