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Modern Dance History
Transcript of Modern Dance History
A number of choreographers and dancers rebelled against the two forms of dance that were prevalent at the time
Vaudeville Rejected what they interpreted as the rigid and imperialistic nature of ballet.
Wanted to be taken seriously as artists and not just entertainers. Pioneers of Modern Dance
Ruth St. Denis
Ted Shawn Loie Fuller Developed a form of natural movement and improvisation techniques. In 1891, she began experimenting with the effects of gas lighting on her silk costumes She emphasized visual effects rather than storytelling or expressing emotions Considered the founding mother of American Modern Dance and was self - taught. Presented her first recitals in 1898, and by 1900 she was performing in Europe. She was truly revolutionary. She discarded
the corset, slippers and tutu of conventional ballet dress and adapted tunics that freed the body and revealed its movement. Duncan spoke of her dancing as art with a high moral purpose. She insisted upon the essence of dance as movement. Her vocabulary was simple but performed with a musicality, dynamic subtlety and charisma that made it powerfully expressive. In 1904, Duncan established her first school of dance where she began to develop her theories of dance education and to assemble her famous dance group, the Isadorables. Isadora Duncan Ruth St. Denis She studied skirt and ballroom dancing and was encouraged to perform at a young age. Her early influences include eastern spiritualism and imagery along with European travel. She called her dances translations, which were inspired by Eastern cultures and mythologies including those from India and Egypt. By 1906, St. Denis had found the essence of her distinctive dance style. She built a stunning solo career and in 1914 acquired a professional and personal partner in Ted Shawn. A year later, the two opened Denishawn, a school and company that nurtured the leaders of the next wave of modern dancers. St. Denis was responsible for most of the creative work while Shawn taught technique and composition. Denishawn They developed the art we know today Martha Graham Doris Humphrey Charles Weidman The First Generation
1920s A passion for interpretive dancing swept America. Isadora Duncan's fame and Denishawn's tours had introduced audiences and dancers alike to the concept of a new form of theatrical dance. The ground work had been laid for the first generation of modern dancers. Mary Wigman Hanya Holm Agnes de Mille Lester Horton Martha Graham Studied at Denishawn and evolved from student to teacher during her seven years there. What was one of the company's best-known performers. By 1930, she had identified a new system of movement she called contraction and release. This method was based on her own interpretation of the Delsartean principle of tension and relaxation. Mary Wigman She was the most highly regarded modern dancer and choreographer in Central Europe Her choreography employed non-Western instrumentation such as bells, gongs and drum from Asia and Africa. Her most well-known dances were accompanied by percussion, which contrasted greatly with her use of silence. She was concerned with fundamental human emotions, relationships, and superstitions. Her costumes were simple, made with dark, rough fabrics, and often included masks. Doris Humphrey A choreographic master, theoretician and creator of the technique known as fall and recovery. She studied at Denishwan but left in 1928 and gave her first independent concert with Charles Weidman. They formed the Humphrey-Weidman Studio and Company in New York. Her work demonstrated an aboslute sense of form, as well as an in interest in large-scale abstract works. The Second Generation By the end of WWII the original founders of modern dance had produced a crop of talented students who set out to create their own kind of dance. Erick Hawkins Merce Cunningham Paul Taylor Katherine Dunham Alvin Ailey Twyla Tharp Merce Cunningham A dominant force in modern dance since the 1960s Founded the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in 1953. He experimented with chance procedures and developed a collaborative approach that insisted upon the autonomy of music, design and dance. She was the grand dame of African-American Dance. Studied anthropology at the University of Chicago and in 1935 she spent 18 months investigating the dance cultures of the Caribbean. This became the basis for the African-American style she was then developing. Her technique drew on movements from the Pacific as well as Africa and the Caribbean. All of this together led toward an experience of total rhythmic immersion. Alvin Ailey He began his dance training as a teenager on Broadway and made appearances with Sophie Maslow and Anna Sokolow. He founded Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in 1958 as a repertory enseble for modern dance classics and new works by Ailey and others. Ailey's best works drew on African-American traditions and subject matter. Katherine Dunham His technique emphasized balletic leg action and flexibility of the back and torso.