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Free Jazz

Free Jazz emerged in the late 1950s out of the ongoing negotiation of the American jazz tradition. By the mid-twentieth century, this African-American musical tradition…

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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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Mambo

Mambo music, which emerged in Cuba in the 1940s but was popularized in Mexico City and New York, blended jazz harmonies and instrumentation with Afro-Cuban…

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Ernst, Max (1891–1976)

Max Ernst was a painter, sculptor and printmaker. He was born in Germany, but he lived in Paris and then New York; he returned to…

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Eurhythmics

Eurhythmics, a coined word meaning ‘good’ or ‘right rhythm’, is the English name for the interactive approach to music education developed in the early 1900s…

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Kishida, Kunio (1890–1954)

Kishida Kunio is considered to be one of the founders of Japanese shingeki drama and one of the most important modern Japanese dramatists. Through his…

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Ellington, Duke (1899–1974)

Duke Ellington was an American jazz composer, pianist, and big-band leader who authored over 1,000 compositions throughout his career. Having studied piano since the age…

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Palladium

New York’s Palladium Ballroom is commonly revered as the birthplace of modern Latin dancing. Known as “the home of the mambo,” the Palladium was New…

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The Great Depression

Beginning on New York’s Wall Street on October 29, 1929, which would come to be known as ‘Black Tuesday’, the Great Depression was the most…

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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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Hamilton, Richard (1922–2011)

British painter and printmaker Richard Hamilton is best known as a progenitor of Pop Art. While mass media and consumer culture remained key points of…

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Jazz Dancing

Jazz dancing is an important modern art form that developed in tandem with jazz music between the 1910s and 1940s in America. Emanating from African-American…

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Modern Ballroom Dancing

Twentieth-century modern ballroom dancing differed from social dancing of the nineteenth century in its shift in focus from group cohesion to individual personal style. This…

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Menken, Marie (1910–1970)

Marie Menken was a New York-based experimental filmmaker who produced her main work during the 1950s and 1960s. Born in Brooklyn to an immigrant Lithuanian…

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Lye, Len (1901–1980)

New Zealand native Len Lye was an experimental innovator in painting, sculpture, documentary film, and animation. After studying indigenous art in Samoa, he emigrated to…

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Dudley, Jane (1912–2001)

Jane Dudley, a key figure in the radical dance movement of the 1930s, was a choreographer who developed her own distinctive voice within the modern…

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Tamiris, Helen (1902–1966)

Helen Tamiris was a key figure in the development of American modern dance; along with Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, and Hanya Holm, she helped to…

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Wiesenthal, Grete (1885–1970)

The Austrian dancer and choreographer Grete Wiesenthal was a transitional figure at the crossroads of ballet and modern dance. Initially trained and employed as a…

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Guy, Edna (1907–1983)

Edna Guy was a major figure in establishing African-American modern dance in the 1930s. Grounded in the technique of her mentor Ruth St. Denis, Guy…

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Laban, Rudolf (1879–1958)

Rudolf Laban was one of the leaders of Ausdruckstanz (“expressionist dance”) in Germany. He worked as a dancer, choreographer, writer, educator, movement analyst, ballet master,…

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Ashton, Frederick William Mallandaine (1904–1988)

Frederick Ashton was a British choreographer and dancer whose work significantly contributed to the development and identity of The Royal Ballet. Along with its founder,…

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Palucca, Gret (1902–1993)

Gret Palucca took a distinctive improvisational and pedagogical approach to German modern dance in a career spanning four different political systems in Germany. After studying…

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Ausdruckstanz (1910–1950)

The term Ausdruckstanz became common usage after World War II to designate a widespread dance practice in the early and middle decades of the 20th…

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Music and Dance

The histories of modernist music and dance are vast and inextricably related, so much so that it is as daunting to consider them in tandem…