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Modern Dance History

Decent Essays
The history of modern dance dates back as early as the 19th century when Isadora Duncan, began her career as a performer and choreographer, leading her to evolve into one of the world’s most renown and innovative modern dance influences of the time. A rich history followed with the birth of other significant and revolutionary individuals such as Martha Graham in 1894 (Terry, 2017) and George Balanchine in 1904 (Walker, 2017). These pioneers of dance, introduced the world to a new style of choreography, originally derived from and based upon romantic classical ballet. The Oxford Dictionary (1989) defines modern dance as ‘a free expressive style of dancing that developed in the early 20th century as a reaction to classical ballet.’ Classical ballet has a rigid style, it requires supreme discipline and structured movement. Modern dance was established as an alternative way to perform, where dancers were not restricted by costume or movement and used this freedom to push visual boundaries. Many people criticised the choreography and reviewers in the 1930’s-1940’s wrote of how it was unsavoury and distasteful (Gilbert, 1999), although, eventually becoming a worldwide phenomenon. It can be argued that Balanchine, Graham and Duncan were inevitably the three most significant dance figures in the development of modern dance choreography from foundations built by romantic classical ballet.
A variety of expert sources highlight that there has been a clear development of modern dance
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