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Overview

Dance Subject Overview

Historically, modern dance scholarship has followed the contours of the field as defined by John Martin, the revered dance critic for The New York Times,…

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Expressionism

Expressionism was one of the foremost modernist movements to emerge in Europe in the early years of the twentieth-century. It had a profound effect on…

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Massine, Léonide (1896–1979)

Russian-born Léonide Massine’s career flourished in the cities of Western Europe, where he made his name as a lead dancer and choreographer for Serge Diaghilev’s…

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Ragtime Dancing

Ragtime dancing is a social dance practice, performed to ragtime music, that began in the 1890s and gained widespread popularity in US dance halls until…

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Wu Xiaobang (吴晓邦) (1906–95)

Wu Xiaobang, known in China as “the father of Chinese new dance,” was the most important pioneer of modern dance in twentieth-century China. Exposed to…

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Capoeira

Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian movement practice that has been categorized as national sport, folklore, martial art, and dance. Although capoeira has been considered a game…

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Collins, Janet (1917–2003)

Magical on stage, elusive off stage, Janet Collins was an enigmatic and complex presence in twentieth-century dance. As the first full-time African American ballerina at…

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Deboo, Astad (1947--)

Astad Deboo’s name is synonymous with Contemporary Indian Dance, a style that he pioneered at a time when innovations in Indian dance were not welcomed.…

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Dalman, Elizabeth Cameron (1934--)

In a career that has spanned over sixty years, Elizabeth Cameron Dalman has been shaped by a politically progressive view of the role of dance…

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Fokine, Michel (1880–1942)

Michel Fokine’s seventeen works for Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes (1909–29) revitalized ballet in the early twentieth century. In Fokine’s most successful works, the body became…

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Foxtrot

The foxtrot emerged circa 1914, most likely within African American practices, as a variation on the older duple meter one step popular with dancers since…

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Harlem Nightclubs

In the 1920s and 1930s, Harlem became a major hub of New York City nightlife and a prolific space for African American artistic creation. It…

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Jook House

The jook house (also juke joint), an African American institution found mainly in semiurban areas in the Southern United States, is an important cultural phenomenon…

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Expressionism

Expressionism was one of the foremost modernist movements to emerge in Europe in the early years of the twentieth-century. It had a profound effect on…

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Halprin, Anna (Schuman) (1920--)

A dancer, choreographer, community leader, and educator, Anna Halprin helped to pioneer what she called “experimental dance” in the 1960s. After training with the modern…

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Araiz, Oscar (1940--)

Oscar Araiz is a central figure in the dance world in Argentina and internationally. Maintaining equal prominence in the modern and classical dance communities throughout…

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Reda, Mahmoud (1930--)

Mahmoud Reda, a pioneer in the modern staging of traditional and folk dance in the Arab world, began his movement career in gymnastics and other…

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Modern Belly Dance

References to dances of the East have appeared in Western sources at least since the beginning of the Christian era, yet what has become known…

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Liu Feng-Shueh (1925--)

Dr. Liu Feng-Shueh is a modern dance pioneer in Taiwan. She was the first person to conduct systematic experimentation with the formal elements and creative…

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Eguchi Takaya (1900–1977)

Following in the footsteps of Baku Ishii and Takada Seiko, dancer Eguchi Takaya established an abstract dance form based on Neue Tanz from Germany. He…

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Rainer, Yvonne (1934--)

Yvonne Rainer is a key figure of both American postmodern dance and avant-garde feminist cinema. Rainer was a founding member of New York City’s Judson…

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Pavlova, Anna (1881-1931)

Considered the most expressively gifted ballerina of her generation, Russian dancer Anna Pavlova introduced ballet to a world audience through 23 years of nearly constant…

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Duncan, Isadora (1877- 1927)

Frequently credited with the invention of modern dance, Isadora Duncan was a choreographer, dancer, educator, international star, and author of a bestselling autobiography My Life…

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Kumudini Lakhia (1930--)

Kumudini Lakhia’s career as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher spans over sixty years. During this time, she brought Kathak, a traditional art dance indigenous to…