modern dance

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Modern Dance

Modern Dance was born at the beginning of the twentieth century out of the need to recreate dance, to tear it away from the formal, stifling rigor of ballet, as well as from the image of other forms of dance as light-weight, sordid entertainment. One of the first dance artists associated with the movement was Isadora Duncan, whose insistence on dance as self-expression and high art paved the way for the more sustained schools of Mary Wigman, Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, and the Denishawn dance troupe. In Germany and the United States, these founders worked on movement systems which focused on the grounding of the body, natural dance, harmony, creative expression, and feeling. Their techniques continue to shape contemporary theatrical dance.

—Petra Kuppers

Further Reading:

Brown, Jean Morrison, editor. The Vision of Modern Dance. London, Dance Books, 1980.

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modern dance Dance style that began to develop during the late 19th century as a protest against classical ballet. It is often said to have been pioneered by Isadora Duncan. In Europe and the USA, such innovators as Rudolph von Laban, Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn attempted to make dance a viable contemporary art form.

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