Modern dance began in the early 20th century. This dance style centers around the dancer’s inner feelings. Instead of the structured steps in other dances, modern dance consists of the dancer’s interpretations. Modern dance rejects the limitations of classical ballet and favor movements that express their inner feelings. In the 1900’s, European dancers shied away from the more rigid ballet style. Instead of the formal outfits and ballet shoes, modern dancers use more freeing and revealing costumes and like to dance barefoot.
Characteristics of Modern Dance
Modern dancers are told to use their emotions and moods to help design their own steps and routines. There are no strict code or dance steps to follow. It is more free flowing. Another key characteristic of this dance is the use of gravity. In ballet, a dancer tries to be light and airy on their feet. Modern dancers use their body weight to enhance their movements. The body position for a ballet dancer is more upright and erect. While a modern dancer throws themselves around the dance floor, often times on the floor.
Modern Dance Pioneers
A lady by the name of Martha Graham is known as an American pioneer in modern dance. She developed a language of movement to express feelings like rage, passion and ecstasy. She focused on the basic human movements, concentrating on contraction and release. The movements were meant to be sharp and jagged instead of long and fluid. She wanted to show the raw human emotion. Graham’s vision lead to many honors and awards.
Modern Dancers Today
Modern dancers use dancing to express their inner emotions. They are taught to try and get closer to their inner-selves. The first step in creating a routine is to decide what emotion they want to express to their audience. Many like to choose a subject that is close to their heart, like love or failure or lose. Then they will choose music that helps express their feelings and tell a story. Sometimes there may not be any music. Once the routine is set, a costume is chosen. These are normally edgier then in ballet.