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Modern Dance

Modern dance is a dance form developed in the early 20th century. Although the term "Modern dances" has also been applied to a category of 20th Century ballroom dances, "Modern dance" as a term usually refers to 20th century concert dance.

In the early 1900s a few dancers in Europe started to rebel against the rigid constraints of Classical Ballet. Shedding classical ballet technique, costume and shoes these early modern dance pioneers practiced free dance.

In America Loie Fuller, Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis and Martha Graham developed their own styles of free dance and laid the foundations of American modern dance with their choreography and teaching.

In Europe Rudolf Laban, Émile Jaques-Dalcroze, Alvin Ailey and Francois Delsarte developed theories of human movement and methods of instruction that led to the development of European modern and Expressionist dance.

* 1891 - Loie Fuller (a burlesque skirt dancer) began experimenting with the effect that gas lighting had on her silk costumes. Fuller developed a form of natural movement and improvisation techniques that were used in conjunction with her revolutionary lighting equipment and translucent silk costumes.

* 1903 - Isadora Duncan developed a dance technique influenced by the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche and a belief that dance of the ancient Greeks (natural and free) was "the dance of the future". Duncan developed a "philosophy of dance" based on natural and spiritual concepts and advocated for that acceptance of "pure dance" as a "high art".

* 1905 - Ruth St. Denis influenced by the actress Sarah Bernhardt and Japanese dancer Sado Yacco, St. Denis developed her "translations" of Indian culture and mythology. Her performances quickly became popular and she toured extensively whilst researching Oriental culture and arts.

Fuller, Duncan and St. Denis all toured Europe seeking a wider and more accepting audience for their work. Only Ruth St. Denis returned to the United States to continue her work, Isadora Duncan died in Paris in 1927 and Fuller's work received little support outside Europe.

Legacy of Modern dance

The legacy on Modern dance can be seen in lineage of 20th century concert dance forms. Although often producing divergent dance forms many seminal dance artists share a common heritage that can be traced back to free dance.

Postmodern and Contemporary dance

Both Postmodern dance and Contemporary dance built upon the foundations laid by Modern dance and form part of the greater category of 20th century concert dance. Where as Postmodern dance was a direct and opposite response to Modern dance, Contemporary dance draws on both modern and postmodern dance as a source of inspiration.

Source: Wikipedia

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