Contemporary Dance

What is Contemporary Dance?

Modern dance is the official name of a series of dance styles, including modern dance. Extremely interpretive in its choreography, modern dance often includes an innate focus on alignment, conflicting movements, raw emotions and systematic breathing.

While many dance genres including jazz and lyrical, focusing on flexibility and quality of various structured steps, the technique of modern dance is much more focused on nontraditional choreographic movements, which was drafted in the first 60 years of the 20th century by various masters in the craft. Below is some brief information about these important contributors to the origin of modern dance.

The Masters of the Dance

There are several people who helped to develop what we know as the modern dance today. Each has made an outstanding contribution in his or her own way, gives us a rich tapestry to consider when examining the background of modern dance.

Martha Graham

Graham is often credited as the founding mother of modern and contemporary dance. As a dancer and choreographer for more than seven decades, she brought this unorthodox style into the mainstream, as the first dancer ever invited to perform at the White House and get a medal of freedom.

Ironically, she hated the term "modern" and "modern", which she thought was the dance styles are constantly evolving and changing according to the times. She would not have her choreography or her ideals in the bay, and it continues to be a driving philosophy among modern dance choreographers, immediately after her through the day.

Merce Cunningham

Born in Washington in 1919, Cunningham danced for Martha Graham's company until he formed his own company in 1953. He and his romantic partner, John Cage, created what is known in the contemporary dance world as a "chance operations." It is based on the Chinese idea of throwing your assets out of the hexagram. The number 64 in music, for example, that you could to throw the chance to discover what sound would first appear, and then casting again to predict the second, and so on until an entire song has been driven in this way . Cunningham applied the same principle to dance, by a chance series of movements that he wrote on pieces of paper. He had this fragmentary style of choreography, and it continues to be practiced in studios across the nation today.

In its contribution to a more modern version of modern dance, Cunningham was instrumental in its technological, 21 century origins, serving as a developer for a dance program called Danceforms software that allows one to choreograph via a computer.

Lester Horton

Horton was known for infusing elements of Indian dance and modern jazz in his modern dance routines. He continued to practice some dance greats, including Alvin Ailey. He founded Dance Theater in Los Angeles, and while this company is no longer together today, his technique, and quite different style of choreography that lended itself to the background of modern dance will forever be remembered.

Other Origins of Influence

One of the nice things about modern dance's origin is that they come from all different directions. In modern movement, you will not only see technical dance steps, but also moves borrowed from Pilates, yoga, and lots of dance improvisation, like no other. Perhaps the true origin of modern dance in the hearts and creativity of all who have dared to take it on, extending their choreographical borders and give up their inhibitions for a trade, which tolerates no.


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