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Atkinson, Madge (1885–1970)

A dancer, choreographer, educator, and writer, Madge Atkinson worked during the second and third decades of the twentieth century on the development of the dance…

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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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Mavo

Mavo was a coterie of vanguard artists, designers, and poets centered on Tokyo between July 1923 and late 1925. It sought to politicize art amid…

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Physical Culture

The obsession with physical culture apparent throughout the tense and formative modernist movement extended well beyond sport, games, and purposive exercise through gymnastics, body building,…

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Bauhaus

In 1919 a young architect named Walter Gropius initiated one of the most modern art schools of the twentieth century in the city of Weimar…

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Spencer, Penelope (1901–1993)

The career of the English “creative” dancer, choreographer, teacher, and dance writer Penelope Spencer spanned the period between the World Wars. Spencer’s versatile training and…

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de Mille, Agnes (1905–1993)

Agnes de Mille performed as a self-producing female dance soloist; she choreographed for Ballets Russes and Ballet Theatre (now the AmericanBallet Theatre) and transformed the…

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Winfield, Hemsley (1907–1934)

An early initiator of Black modern dance, Hemsley Winfield first gained recognition as an actor and director of the New Negro Art Theater in New…

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Shawn, Ted (1891–1972)

The self-proclaimed “Father of American Dance,” Ted Shawn attained international prominence as a professional dancer and choreographer. Along with his wife Ruth St. Denis, Shawn…

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Keita, Fodéba (1921–1969)

Fodéba Keita was a poet, playwright, musician, choreographer, impresario, anti-colonial activist, and statesman. As the leader of several musical bands, author of poems and essays,…

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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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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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Furukawa, Roppa (1903–1961)

Furukawa Roppa was a Japanese comedian, film actor, and essayist, who was known for his round face with Lloyd’s glasses. He was active before and…

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Montreal Modern Dance Company (1952–1955)

The Montreal Modern Dance Company (1952–1955) was an important though shortlived collaborative project between Lithuanian émigrés and dancers Yoné Kvietys (1924–2011) and Birouté Nagys (1920--).…

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Denishawn (1915–1931)

Denishawn, a for-profit enterprise combining a school and dance company, was founded in Los Angeles in 1915 by the internationally acclaimed solo performer Ruth St.…

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Sorel, Ruth Elly Abramovitsch (1907–1974)

Upon immigrating to Montreal in 1944, Ruth Abramovitsch (also known as Abramowitz) Sorel was one of the first dancers to regularly teach and perform modern…

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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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Åkesson, Birgit Anna Ida (1908–2001)

Birgit Åkesson (b. March 24, 1908, Malmö, Sweden; d. March 24, 2001, Stockholm, Sweden) is considered one of Sweden’s foremost modern choreographers. In the late…

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Ginner, Ruby (1886–1978)

Working primarily during the second and third decades of the twentieth century, Ruby Ginner devised a new dance form called Revived Greek Dance (later changed…

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Gerrard, Saida (1913–2005)

Toronto-born Saida Gerrard was one of the first artists to import modern dance to Canada following study in the United States. Her early training included…

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Barrett, Cynthia (1921–2006)

Choreographer, teacher, and dance artist Cynthia Barrett was a modern dance artist who established her own company in Toronto. For a short while she directed…

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Ailian, Dai (1916–2006)

Dai Ailian, a woman of Chinese descent, was born and raised in Trinidad and first visited mainland China in 1941. Together with Wu Xiaobang, Dai…

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Dent, Nancy Lima (1919–2013)

Nancy Lima Dent helped to establish modern dance in Toronto. She initially studied with Rita Warne and Boris Volkoff, and later was a student of…