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Dance Appreciation Notes

by: Courtney Schmitz

Dance Appreciation Notes ESS 104

Courtney Schmitz
UW - L
GPA 3.2

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About this Document

These notes cover modern dance of the 50s, 60s, etc.
Dance Appreciation
Kathy Gorman
Class Notes
25 ?




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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Courtney Schmitz on Wednesday March 30, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ESS 104 at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse taught by Kathy Gorman in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 15 views. For similar materials see Dance Appreciation in Physical Education at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse.

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Date Created: 03/30/16
The State of Modern Dance in the 1950’s  1.  Modern Dance was truly an American art form. Most modern dance activity was  occurring in the U.S. 2.  There were many modern dance companies and choreographers throughout the U.S.  and there were also modern dance courses in colleges and universities. 3. However, despite #1 and #2, the great surge of creativity and popular enthusiasm for  modern dance seemed to be over and there was not a large audience for modern dance.  There were 5 reasons for this: a.  Modern dance in the 1950’s was hard to understand and the audience did not  know how to receive it. Understanding a modern dance concert meant people  had to think which many people were not used to doing at ballet concerts. b.  Modern dancers themselves did not always educate their audiences as to how  to view modern and how to understand and appreciate it. c.   By the 1950’s, there were many modern dance techniques and it was confusing  to the audience. d.  In the 1950’s, many modern dance choreographers were moving away from the  theatrics and complexity of ballet and into minimalism and many audience  members thought it was boring. e.  Ballet was changing—especially due to George Balanchine, ballet now had a  new vitality and excitement that it lacked in the 1930’s when modern began. So  ballet was now drawing audience members away from modern. The State of Modern Dance in the 1960’s – 70’s  ● There was a “new experimentalism” (minimalism). The new experimentalists’  performances were very “un­dancelike.” Their performances seemed to be improvised  and unstructured, utilizing  very simple, “pedestrian” movements. They often performed  in impromptu, casual settings such as warehouses, churches, parks, and streets rather  than in theatres. Their costumes were also very casual, for example, jeans and t­shirts  and they often performed to silence or the spoken word. These new experimentalists had a “non­dance” or “anti­dance” approach and they appealed to a  new type of audience. People who normally did not go to dance concerts or theatrical art events  became the new audience for these events. A similar experimentalism was happening in all the arts at this time. Experimentalism has always flourished in modern dance. The essence of modern dance is that  it challenges old traditions and represents a seeking of the new. Three Major Changes in Modern Dance in the 1980’s  1.  New Choreographic Approaches  These happened probably as a reaction to the minimalistic approach of the 60’s and 70’s when  modern choreographers rejected complex organization and technical virtuosity. Instead, they  used simple, pedestrian movement and stage settings and costumes. So, in the 1980’s, modern  dancers started rejecting the minimalistic approach and made dances very theatrical with  complex movements and patterns, used fuller staging and elaborate costumes, décor, and  musical accompaniment. Choreographers once again presented dances that had meaning.  2.  Modern Dance Cooperatives  Independent choreographers and small modern dance companies began to work together in  cooperative producing groups. By organizing small companies with limited resources together,  they could pool their monies and efforts and do more than they could alone, for example,  presenting a concert of several small companies. 3.  Changing Relationship with Ballet  ● During the early decades of modern dance, there was hostility between modern dance  and ballet.  ● Much of early modern dance was a statement against ballet. Early modern dancers felt  that ballet was no longer significant—it was stale and outdated. And ballet dancers in the  early days of modern dance felt modern dancers were not “real” dancers—they had no  technique. ● But starting in the 1980’s and continuing today, there were 2 major shifts in these  attitudes: ○ Modern dancers began to realize the importance of ballet training. Most modern  dance techniques of today incorporate ballet movements and principles. ○ Ballet has been influenced by modern dance in terms of choreography. Many  ballet choreographers of today starting with Michel Fokine have been influenced  by modern choreography and have incorporated modern movements into their  ballets.


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