In my opinion, Merce Cunningham is the most influential person in the history of contemporary dance. Cunningham was both a dancer and in the early 1940s began to choreograph. A former dancer of the Martha Graham Dance Company, Cunningham went on to found the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, where many of the dancers went on to become prestigious choreographers as well. In his works, the choreography, music and design all work separately yet together. Through his belief that “anything can follow anything” (Au 155), use of space and music, exploration of chance, is what makes Merce Cunningham the most influential person in the history of dance.
During my research, I found various interviews with dancers of all different backgrounds based on how they felt about the dance world and the struggles that come with it. I picked out a couple of questions and answers that helped me develop a better understanding of my chosen area for this dissertation. Having read a number of interviews, I found the majority of answers were very similar which may suggest most dancers, even if from different genres, experience a similar pressure and fears when it comes to this industry.
In the movie Save the last dance the film explores various issues current in the United States as well as all over the world. The movie explores peer pressure especially in a black dominant school population. Themes of Violence, adolescent pride and interracial relationships were greatly represented in the film. Also it touches on early parenthood, pressures of a low income environment, racial status, racial stereotypes and prejudice as well as loyalty to friends. Psychologically the movie represents Memory, Learning, Thinking, Motivation and emotion, Development, Sex and gender as well as Social realm.
Michael Jackson was known around the world as the “King of Pop.” He was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, which molded him into a shy and quiet person. Something he was opposite of on stage. It is well documented that his father became violent with him and his brothers in order to push them to become successful. Thus, missing out on his childhood. During his early life, Michael had an accident that resulted in burns on his head and face. After this incident he had plastic surgery, changing the shape of his nose. Although he was born an African American, it became apparent that he started to appear lighter and lighter, bleaching his skin and ultimately appearing white. He created his own amusement park called Neverland, where there were exotic
Alvin Ailey, a well known second generation American choreographer and activist was born in Rogers, Texas on January 5, 1931. Ailey grew up poor in the small Texas town of Navasota. Although he did not have much growing up, it did not stop his drive to succeed. He became inspired by attending black church services and by the music he heard at the local dance hall. Because of this, Ailey left Texas at the young age of 12 and moved to Los Angeles. While in Los Angeles, Ailey excelled in different subjects such as language and athletics. He became inspired to pursue dancing after seeing the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo perform. In 1949, at the age of 18, he began to study modern dance with Lester Horton and joined Horton’s dance company the following year. Horton became Ailey 's major influence, as he was his mentor that gave him a foundation and technique that allowed him to grow artistically. Even though he developed his own style, he still used Horton’s technique that emphasized a strong fluid torso and ease of movement. In his years to follow, Ailey founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York in 1958. Ailey’s dance company became very popular because of its multi-racial modern dance ensemble. Due to his modern, jazz and ethnic dance styles, and extensive world tours, Alvin Ailey became one of the leading figures in the 20th century modern dance, making modern dance popular all over the world. Ailey is a significant artist to me because he paved the way for
Dance demands the same physical skills that are required in other sports. Flexibility, strength, and endurance are key characteristics that most dancers need to posses. As with other “athletes,” most dancers are not born with these abilities but must establish them through practice and repetitive training. Similar to traditional sports practices, dance rehearsals are extensive and require diligence, dedication, and patience from the dancers as they will have to repeat exercises and stretches to perfect their technique and stay on
Many choreographers shape dance into something different and defy certain styles. Alvin Ailey not only did this through dance but changed the racial norms in the dance world. The Alvin Ailey American Arts Theatre has performed for over 25 million people in 48 states, 71 counties and on 6 continents. Throughout his life he made a difference. Ailey himself “changed forever the perception of American dance.” Alvin Ailey changed the views of modern dance and racial acceptance in the arts throughout America.
Dancing is a recreational activity that has been enjoyed by millions of people for centuries. There have been countless styles of dance and thousands of memorized steps that have been performed in front of people or even just simply enjoyed alone without and audience. When a handful those thousands of steps come together, it creates a routine. Even though there are countless dancers that are breathtaking when they perform the routine in front of and audience, most dancers cannot be proficient without someone to assemble those countless steps together to create something awe inspiring, beautiful, and entertaining to watch. Dance is a world of constant change due to the want of awe, the need to produce something unique, and the necessity to catch the audience’s attention. Although many people believe some dance styles have not changed for centuries, innovative choreographers flip dance styles upside down with their unique approaches.
Dance has come a long way since it first began, and that road has been paved by different styles and choreographers. Modern dance is one of the biggest contributions to dance today. It all began with the rebellion against classical ballet. If it wasn’t for Modern, many aspects and styles of dance would not exist today. Also, without choreographers we would have no dance. One of the most influential Modern choreographers is Twyla Tharp.
Alvin Ailey was an accomplished dancer and choreographer whose African-American heritage influenced his works in the 20th century. His successful dance career has gained international recognition and acclaim thus rendering a significant legacy. Ailey’s background as a dancer and choreographer had many strong influences from social, cultural, economic and political aspects during his early life. His African-American heritage has greatly influenced his works. Alvin was the founder of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (1958-), galvanized and stabilized an African American presence in theatrical dance. An outstanding performer, choreographer, company director, and mentor to scores of dance artists, Ailey oversaw the growth of his small, pick-up group of seven dancers into a large, carefully managed, internationally-renowned enterprise including several ensembles of dancers and a thriving school in New York City housed in the largest building devoted to dance in the United States. Along the way, Ailey changed the landscape of modern dance by developing new audiences for its performance through a consistent combination of exceptional artistry and wellcoordinated community outreach programs. In all, Ailey invigorated the art of dance with his distinctive creative imagination, his “blood memories” of cultural formations he witnessed as a child-- including the jook joint and the black church --and the strong survivalist ethic he learned as an African American man born in the
Some may say that the determination to do well came from his father Joseph and how he pushed him to succeed in life. This type of personal attribute can be seen as genetic as it is father who pushed him to be successful and have this need to do bigger and better things like for instance his performances. Michael Jackson's performance progressed into bigger and better things due to the fact that he was self-confessed workaholics which are possible treats inherited from his father. Both his brothers and his father had also had a music talent.
Concurrent with his singing career, Michael also trademarked some his unique dance moves accompanied by some of his songs like “Billie Jeans” and “Ghosts”. Though I am not a dancer, I am absolutely awed by his dance moves such as the moonwalk, circle slide, the pelvic thrust and the spin, all of which serves as a trademark icon to him. No doubt, many dancers all over the world had been greatly inspired by Michael as with the many singers and musicians.
Dance is an ever evolving form of art; in much the same way that one can categorize and differentiate between eras and styles of architecture one can also do so with dance. These eras at times have sharp delineations separating them from their antecedents, other times the distinction is far more subtle. Traditional forms of dance were challenged by choreographers attempting to expand the breadth and increase the depth of performance; preeminent among such visionaries was Seattle born dancer and choreographer Mark Morris. Mark Morris' began as one of the millions of hopeful individuals attempting to simply make a career in dance; he not only succeeded but managed to have a lasting effect on the entire landscape of dance.
Michael Jackson once said, “the greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work”. And that saying could be the same for Michael Jackson The King of Pop. And he was right. One of the best ways to learn was watching the master at work, as Michael Jackson had one of the largest impacts in the entertainment industry. Without the influence of Michael Jackson, the R&B and Hip-Hop industry would not have had the artists or music that it has today. He was known as one of the best entertainers of all time, Michael Jackson was the most decorated pop artist. He was a developer in the music industry, thanks to his ground-breaking music, choreography, and music videos. Michael Jackson transformed what it means and takes to be a pop