Modern Dance

Demi VanHorn AA2 Fall 2014

History of Modern Dance

Modern Dance was born in America during the turn of the 20th century when a number of choreographers and dancers rebelled against the two forms of dance that were prevalent at the time, ballet and vaudeville. They rejected what they interpreted as the rigid and imperialistic nature of ballet, and they wanted to be taken seriously as artists rather than be seen simply as entertainers. Loie Fuller, Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, and Ted Shawn are considered to be the pioneers of modern dance in America.

Major People in Modern Dance

Considered the founding mother of American modern dance, Isadora Duncan was largely self‐taught. In 1891, Loie Fuller began experimenting with the effects of gas lighting on her silk costumes. Ruth St. Denis was raised in a Bohemian environment and was encouraged to perform from a young age. In 1916, Martha Graham began studying at Denishawn. Mary Wigman was the most highly regarded modern dancer and choreographer in Central Europe and one of the principal proponents of modern dance during the 1920s and ‘30s.


Pictures of Modern Dance's Major People below

Modern Dance Today

The social and artistic upheavals of the late 1960s and 1970s signaled even more radical departures for modern dance. Modern dance today is much more sophisticated, both in technique and technology, than the dance begun by its pioneers. Current pioneers in modern dance find a much softer dividing line between modern dance and ballet. In truth, ballet, modern, and contemporary dance companies today have come to regard fluency in all genres of dance as important to their work. Today’s modern dance has become a fusion of multiple dance genres, as demonstrated by choreographers Mark Morris, Ohad Naharin, and Shen Wei.

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