Modern Dance

        When dance began, well the formal type of dance, there was only one form. This form was ballet. Ballet is strict and filled with rules. Keep your legs and shoulders open, head up, toes pointed, legs turned out, ribs in, the list goes on and on. Ballet was a strict form of dance and if your body did not fit the standards than you could not dance. However, then there was a new form. In the early 1900's modern began. This was set in motiion by Martha Graham. This new style of movement was nothing like ballet, the dancer could be of any age and shape and could move freely. In Modern Dance, Anna Sokolow describes modern as a revolutionary change. "Do what you feel you are, not what you think you ought to be. Go ahead and be a bastard. Then you can be an artist" (Cohen, 2002)  This was the thought that the new people had about dance. It did not have to be strict and conciese, it could be any type of movement.
         The author then goes on to the type of people that become these artists. They are daring and willing to be dramatic to morphe the image of dance, and dancers, "The creatice teacher opens doors for his student to see what life is, what they are" (Cohen, 2002). Historically, ballet teachers were the ones to follow the rules. They pushed you to fit into the idea of classical technique and that asthetic. What this author is proposing is that modern dance teachers are there only to guide creativity, to push the limits of the dancer's self identity and creativity. The teachers want to help the dancer come to a realization of their own style of movement and asthetic.

Eventhough modern dance was created off of the idea of new style movement, and free motion, there were things like flexed feet, parallel legs, and bent limbs that became part of the asthetic. The rules of modern dance were not as strict as those of the ballet world, however there were a few limitations to modern dance style. "All dance movement requires a total organisimic reponse, whether it be an exercise that is technique that becomes a part of a creative dance. Ther can be no focus on isolated movement without taking into consideration the body as a whole. (Shurr, 2004). This then means that modern dance is not just letting everything go, and move however you wish. There is a sense of controll along with the sense of loseness and the ability to flow. There is sharp and smooth, soft and hard. This was a new method of expression. In ballet the dancer is supposed to be light and airy. She is to appear like she is weightless. In modern, the dancer can be weightless, or to appear connected to the earth. They use movement to portray their own ideas and beliefs about their emotions. "Distortion in modern dance is most properly used as a movement device for communictive expression (Shurr, 2004).


Cohen, Selma J., ed. Modern Dance : Seven Statements of Belief. Middletown, CT, USA: Wesleyan University Press, 1966. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 3 December 2014.

Shurr, Gertrude, and Yocom, Rachael D.. Modern Dance : Techniques and Teaching. Hightstown, NJ, USA: Princeton Book Company, 2004. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 3 December 2014.