Influenced primarily by cultural roots and incredibly opportunity, Dunham had the luxury of studying in the West Indies as well as anthropological study of other cultural style dances. The West Indian experience changed forever the focus of Dunham’s life and caused a profound shift in her career. This initial fieldwork began a lifelong involvement with the people and dance of Haiti. And, importantly for the development of modern dance, her fieldwork began her investigations into a vocabulary of movement that would form the core of the Katherine Dunham Technique. Though many of Dunham’s primary influences lies within her multicultural experiences, Mark Turbyfill also seemed to play a large role in her future dance career, giving her private lessons despite his doubt in the opening of her student company (Kaiso! 187). Katherine Dunham has been list as an influence to “everyone from George Balanchine to Jerome Robbins, Alvin Ailey, Bob Fosse and Twyla Tharp. American dance, including ballet, modern dance, Hollywood and Broadway, would not be the same without her” (Aschenbrenner 226).
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.
Dance began as a form of communication and storytelling. Thousands of years ago dancing served as a way for people to tell a story and helped distract themselves of the hardships they faced. Furthermore, dance was a form of storytelling through communication, which then turned into using storytelling through dance as entertainment. According to the History World, many dancers during the BC time danced in front of only a few people to get a story across. That later turned into hundreds of thousands of people as dance was used by many. Today, dance is also a form of entertainment and storytelling, but in a modern sense. However, today perfection and technique are stressed more than they were in the past. Yet, the passion for dance has not changed. Many dancers who share this passion also have many of the same qualities. Among a discourse community of trained dancers, one expects to find individuals who are healthy and active athletes, expect perfection from themselves through competition, and religiously attend dance performances.
Graham inspired Ailey to go off and open his own successful dance company where he could inspire others by his type of work he choreographed. They both moved to New York to sought new opportunities. Their work had a sentiment background as to why they choreographed the type of art they did in each and every performance. Graham and Ailey both thought it was important to add their feelings and thought of how they felt about the theme of their work. Graham wanted to use “release” and “contraction” in her works to express the body movements.
As ballets were about telling stories or formulating movements, modern dance broke the rules and started to focus more on individual expressions. Loie Fuller (1862 – 1928), Doris Humphrey (1895-1958), and Ruth St. Denis (1877-1968) were pioneering women who took a stand and used their dance performance to speak up for women’s rights. Using dance, they significantly contributed to the Feminist movement in which they embraced self-expression and creativity so that women could be acknowledged in the dance field and in the society as a whole. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, they found for women’s rights by “taking dance to a new form, and creating dances to speak directly and intimately to the viewer” (Au 89). Loie Fuller, Doris Humphrey, and Ruth St. Denis demonstrated the transformation of dance with their innovation of costumes and stage lighting, incorporation of foreign cultures into performance, and creation of natural movements and individual expression that rejected the formal structures of ballet to deform a woman’s body, allowing women to be free from stereotype of a traditional woman.
Graham's style of modern dance was never seen in America before. Therefore, the audience had to get accustomed to it (Switzer 108). People often defined modern dance as a contrast to ballet, but Graham's new modern dance style moved away from the strong ballet traditions. Anyone could see that Martha was not afraid of being unique. For example, music was not required in all of her dances. Without the music, the audience would then be able to hear the sounds of the dancer (Microsoft Encarta). In the dances that did have music, Graham expressed herself in metaphors or images (McLanathan and Brown 173). These dances involved posture, role of gravity, and character movements. Graham's style was considered prominent among other performers.
“Silent Dancing” by Judith Ortiz and “Homeplace: A site of Resistance” by bell hooks are two stories about their experiences throughout their difficulties of adaptation while growing up and the battle to familiarize in a surrounding where they weren’t comfortable. They both share their story and their experiences during their childhood and as they grow. The difference between the two is their background and how they deal with it now.
Jane Desmond introduces her article, “Embodying Difference: Issues in Dance and Cultural Studies,” by describing a dance that readers can picture as the dance of tango in their minds. This helps lead to her connecting dance, or body movement, with cultural studies and social identities. In her article, Desmond focuses on connecting how dance and body movement can be portrayed differently in social identities, such as race, class, gender, nationality, and sexuality.
“Go within everyday and find the inner strength so that the world will not blow your candle out” (A Quote by Katherine Dunham 1). Once one of the most successful dancers in both American and European theater, Katherine Dunham, a dancer, anthropologist,social activist,and educator, continues to inspire people throughout the world. Named America’s irreplaceable Dance Treasure in 2000. Dunham remains a name heard regularly in dance schools across the world (“Katherine Dunham Biography” 4). She is known for always trying to make a difference and in the process she has become of the world’s greatest humanitarians (Osumare 5). Katherine Dunham’s work in African American rights in the dance world and her creation of new styles of dance makes her an important figure in American dance History.
For many, the relationship they form with their parents establishes the standard for how the majority of their other connections will cultivate in their life. According to psychologist Sigmund Freud, these relationships -whether positive or negative- have a tremendous impact on how people comport themselves with others later in life. Additionally, the relationships maintained with ones’ parental figures become somewhat of a mirror of how one will act themselves in their adult life, any sort of trauma experienced during childhood can compromise your behavior. This Freudian analysis is apparent in the novel, We the Animals by Justin Torres. “Paps” as his own children tenderly refer him, is suggested to have
Graham used teaching methods such as bare feet, floor exercises to strengthen back and legs, standing balances, falls, side extensions, and walks, runs, skips and leaps across floor in diagonal. This was taught as early as 1927. "Contraction and release" principle was in Graham's teachings in late 1920s. Martha "protested" against "feminine" movements in dance.
Dance is one of the most beautiful, expressive forms of art known to mankind. It expresses joy, love, sorrow, anger, and the list truly goes on for all the possible emotions that it can convey. Dance not only can express how one feels, but it can tell a story or even be used to praise a higher power. Dance has intricately played an important role to every culture over the course of time. Two forms of dance that have not only stood against the test of time but have influenced the development of other various styles of dance is none other than Classical Ballet and Modern Dance.
Just when social dancing was at its height, World War 2 put a stop to its popularity. Lack of attendance, plus the intricate rhythmic patterns of modern jazz music, which were too complex for social dancing, led to the closing of dance halls and ballrooms. With the demise of social dance, the growth of jazz dance as a professional dance form began. During the 1940’s, jazz dance was influenced by ballet and modern dance. By blending the classical technique of ballet with the natural bodily expression of modern dance, jazz developed a sophisticated artistic quality. Unlike early jazz dance, which was performed by talented entertainers without formal training, modern jazz dance was performed by professionals trained in ballet and modern dance.
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.
Watching the video “A Dancer’s World” made me want to become a professional dancer. Martha Graham’s dancers showed how delicate, defined, sharp, smooth, and astatic a choreography can be. It illustrated how much hard word and dedication it’s needed, but the results will always be beautiful. Also Martha Graham explained how dancing with a partner can be. She also talked about males as dancers, but in her video she demonstrates how men danced with females using physical contact. The techniques and how the piece turns out to be. Both genders jumped a lot through out each piece of performed and that’s something loved. During a piece, there can be both gender dancing separately doing their own thing. The techniques are used differently by males