modern and contemporary dance

isabelle garlotte

history of modern dance

Modern Dance began in America early in the 20th century when dancers began rebelling against both the formality of ballet and the predictability of popular show dancing of the period.The whole idea of modern dance is to look forward, not back.The artists of modern dance have been known to pride their selves on taking the polar opposite road than of ballet. Modern dance, is almost entirely the story of the personalities, spirits, quirks and hearts of individual dancers who devise their own philosophies, and set their own unique styles. These styles evolve and are passed down to students who then break away to create something new and just as personal. Therefore, studying the history of modern dance is rather like tracing the story of an extended family through several generations.




pictures of modern and contemporary dance

Choreographer Mary Wigman

The German dancer, choreographer, and teacher Mary Wigman, is considered one of the founders of modern dance. When she was young she enrolled in rhythmic gymnastics but disliked the rigidity and rules it required. At age twenty five she moved to Switzerland to study dance and performed her first solo performance

Only three years later. Mary Wigman really helped push the contemporary dance movement around that time. Her peices greatly consisted of five elements:

- Striding and sliding

- Springs, vibrations and bouncing

- Momentums and oscillations

- Falling and dropping (floor technique)

- Tensions: relaxed, sustained and motor tensions


Wigman choreographed many pieces including, "Totentanz" and “Abschied und Dank”