Modern Dance. Exploring the genres of Modern, Post-Modern, and Dance-Theatre Chapter 6 from Learning About Dance textbook by Nora Ambrosio. What is Modern Dance?.
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Modern Dance Exploring the genres of Modern, Post-Modern, and Dance-Theatre Chapter 6 from Learning About Dance textbook by Nora Ambrosio
What is Modern Dance? • noun; a form of contemporary theatrical and concert dance employing a special technique for developing the use of the entire body in movements expressive of abstract ideas.www.Dictionary.com • Modern dance started as a revolt against ballet. • It throws out the idea of turn out and rigorous ballet technique. There are several different modern dance techniques. • It began in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s. • It usually tells a story or has a theme. • It uses the elements of time, space, and energy differently than ballet. • The movements are unique and innovative.
Early Modern Dance • Isadora Duncan is credited with being the “Mother of Modern Dance,” but Loie Fuller and Maude Allen were also creating dances that were new and different. • Loie Fuller used light and colored fabric to create visual spectacles. • Maude Allen was known for her dramatic dances and extensive knowledge of music. • All three women found fame in Europe, not the U.S., during the early 20th century. • Loie Fuller’s Serpentine Loie Fuller courtesy of missmeadowsvintagepearls.blogspot.com Maude Allen courtesy of swedenburg.blogspot.com
Isadora Duncan • She felt that pointe shoes, ballet costumes, and the ballet vocabulary were too confining. • She decided to dance in a way that more natural. • She based her movement off of movement she observed in nature – swaying, hopping, running, skipping. • She believed the solar plexus (the center of the body) is where all movement should begin. • She was inspired by Ancient Greece. She wore tunics and bare feet when she danced. Isadora Duncan courtesy of jadoreisadora.blogspot.com
Isadora Duncan’s Career • Isadora initially gained fame in Europe. United States found her movement to be too progressive. • Late in her career, in the 1920’s, she finally found fame with United States audiences. She paved the way for future Modern Dance choreographers. • She loved music by Beethoven, Chopin, Schubert, and Wagner. • She opened several schools in Europe. She spent a majority of her time in Russia, Germany, and Greece. • She adopted six of her students. They are referred to as the “Isadorables.” • After Duncan’s death, the “Isadorables” continued to teach the Duncan technique. They are the reason her technique still survives today. Isadora Duncan surrounded by her Isadorables courtesy of dollhousebettie.com Isadora Duncan courtesy of theworldbyus.com
Isadora’s Life • Isadora Duncan had 2 children. • Her children died in an automobile accident. Their deaths inspired one of her most famous pieces, Mother. This piece showed the sorrow and heartbreak that she felt when her children died. • Isadora died in 1927 when her scarf became entwined with the wheel of the car in which she was riding. • Isadora Duncan Isadora Duncan courtesy of http://www.duncandancers.com/about.html The dancer’s body is simply the luminous manifestation of the soul.~Isadora Duncan Isadora Duncan courtesy of nndb.com
Ted Shawn and Ruth St. Denis • Ted Shawn and Ruth St. Denis married and formed the Denishawn school. • The Denishawn school educated the whole dancer – mind, body, and spirit. • St. Denis and Shawn focused on imitating dances different cultures. They were particularly inspired by Asian cultures. Their dances were not authentic. • The Pioneers of Modern Dance were pupils of the Denishawn school – Martha Graham, Charles Weidman, and Doris Humphrey. A Tribute to Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn Ted Shawn Denishawn School courtesy of asecretforest.typepad.com Ted Shaw and Ruth St. Denis courtesy of he.wikipedia.org
Martha Graham • Martha Graham was a student of the Denishawn school. • Her technique is based on the concepts of contraction and release. • The Martha Graham Dance Company is still in existence today. Graham technique is taught worldwide. • She was named one of Time Magazines 100 most influential people of the 20th Century. • She was inspired by psychology, Ancient Greece, Native American Legends, and American Pioneers. A Tribute to Martha Graham Martha Graham courtesy of reclusland.com, topics.nytimes.com, en.nkfu.com, louisvilleorchestra.org
Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman • Their technique is based off of the concepts of fall and recovery. • Their dancers were very proficient at balance and working with and against gravity. • Humphrey choreographed using the ideas of “musical visualization,” where the dance is a visual representation of the patterns and rhythms in the music. • She focused on group dynamics and using breath to guide movement phrases. • Weidman’s dances were often comical. He also choreographed serious works about social issues. Humphrey Technique Lynchtown Excerpt Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman courtesy of tumblr.com, wird.com.ua,
Anna Sokolow • Sokolow was a former Graham dancer. • She created dances that reflected life during her time. • She was born of Russian Jewish descent. • One of her most famous dances, Dreams, was about the survivors of the Holocaust. • Steps of Silenceis an anti-war statement. • Rooms is about the isolation and depression that comes from being “just another face in the crowd” of a big city. Anna Sokolow courtesy of forward.com, tonyaplank.com, annasokolow.org, nytimes.com
José Limon • Limon was a student of Humphrey and Weidman. • His technique is very close to that of Humphrey – focusing on fall and recovery and weight. • Humphrey became artistic director of his dance company in the 1950’s. • Limon’s Mexican-American heritage influenced a lot of his work. • His works are considered Modern Dance Classics. José Limon Bio José Limon courtesy of en.wikipedia.org, kids.britannica.com, exploredance.com
Post-Modern Dance What is Post-Modern Dance? • In the 1950’s choreographers felt confined by the rigorous technique of Graham, Limon, Humphrey, etc. • Their choreography focused on the movement rather than the storyline. • Their movement came to be known as “abstract.” Post Modern Dance courtesy of carpedancem.wordpress.com
Merce Cunningham • Cunningham was the first choreographer to step out of the traditional modern dance box. • He believed in dances that showed “movement for movement’s sake.” • He often used chance or indeterminacy as tools for his choreography. • He collaborated with avant-garde musicians including John Cage. Interview with Merce Cunningham Merce Cunningham courtesy of mercecunningham.org, pbs.org, nytimes.com, tumblr.com Chance Theory
AlwinNikolais • Nikolais’ dancers often appeared as objects on stage rather than people. • He was one of the first to use the idea of dance bags. • He was concerned with “motion not emotion.” AlwinNikolais’ Noumenon AlwinNikolais courtesy of bearnstowjournal.org, nypl.org, danceheritage.org, flickr.com
Paul Taylor • Taylor danced in Martha Graham’s and Merce Cunningham’s companies. • His early work included very pedestrian movement. • In 1957 he stood still for the whole dance. • He is known for his very athletic and dynamic dance style. • He created works with narratives as well as works that were just movement. Promethean Fire About Paul Taylor Paul Taylor courtesy of dancestlouis.org, ephemeralarchives.wordpress.com, ovationtv.com, thelodownny.com
Judson Dance Theatre • In the 1960’s and 1970’s a new wave of choreographers stripped dance down to its simplest form. • They focused on basic movements such as walking, running, skipping, and hopping – pedestrian movement. It was movement without technique. • Many choreographers worked only with untrained dancers. • Their dances were performed at the Judson Church in New York. Sometimes they were performed at train stations, on rooftops, or on the sidewalk. • The works had a strong basis in improvisation. Yvonne Rainer’s Trio A Trisha Brown’s Man Walking Down the Side of a Building Judson Dance Theatre courtesy of looseleafreport.com, intermedia.vancouverartinthesixties.com, tumblr.com
Alvin Ailey • Ailey did not follow the post-modern movement. • He focused on creating dances that were accessible to the general audience. • His dances included technique and form. • His signature piece “Revelations” is still performed around the world. It celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010. • “Revelations” is set to Negro Spirituals and celebrates the religious heritage of African-Americans. Revelations’ 50th anniversary Alvin Ailey courtesy of students.cis.uab.edu, blackpast.org, cuckookachooanartsreview.blogspot.com, myhero.com, theepochtimes.com
Similarities and Differences Between Traditional Modern Dance and Post-Modern Dance