Assignment title: Types of modern dance
Name : Abirami Nadarajan
Course: WCC 115 – Tarian Moden
Matrix No: 113559
2.0 Modern dance styles
3.0 Type of Modern dance
In the early twentieth century, a new movement in dance arose. This movement was
guided by a few pioneering dancers who began to use dance as a form of personal expression.
Their movement often stressed emotion and addressed contemporary subjects. This was in
contrast to ballet, a dance form with aristocratic European roots, which frequently told stories of
princesses, fairies and enchanted forests. These early pioneers of modern dance each developed
their own personal movement vocabulary. There has never been a single specific style of modern
dance. Though it often uses the body alignment and movement of ballet, modern dance has
developed beyond the vocabulary of ballet.
The most prominent of the first generation of modern dance creators were Isadora
Duncan and Ruth St. Denis. In the 1920s, several dancers who studied with St. Denis, (Martha
Graham, Doris Humphries and Charles Weidman) broke away and developed their own
philosophies of modern dance. Many of these early pioneers were women. Modern dance
provided women the opportunity to become directors and choreographers. In the ballet world,
these roles had been and continue to be dominated by men. Martha Graham, the most recognized
of these women, has had an enormous impact on the field of modern dance. Her notion of
contraction and release (a torso based movement of a sharp intake of breath followed by a strong
exhalation), her groundbreaking dances based on mythology, and her theatrical personality have
made her the best known modern dancer of all time.
Each new generation of modern dance has inspired another. Often the inspiration comes
in the form of rebellion against what came before. In the 1950s, Merce Cunningham, a member
of Martha Graham’s company, formed his own dance company based on the idea of movement
for movement’s sake and the use of chance methods of choreography. Paul Taylor, who danced
for both Cunningham and Graham, further shaped modern dance by choreographing dances
about real people and the everyday activities of life. The next rebellion came in the 1960s, when
dancers such as Trisha Brown rejected the codified and strict technique they felt modern dance
had become. experimental and minimal dance, sometimes called post-modern, developed during
this time, as did contact improvisation. These dance makers were also influenced by the societal
changes that were taking place in the United States during the 1960s.
However, not all choreographers were interested in rejecting the past. One in particular,
Twyla Tharp, embraced all that had come before. By combining ballet with modern dance and
adding in her own movement ideas, she developed a style that was enthusiastically embraced by
Just as modern dance gave way to post-modern, ethnic dance gave way to concert dance
based on ethnic roots. The work of Pearl Primus and Katherine Dunhaminfluenced that of Alvin
Ailey and Donald McKayle, among others. These choreographers created dances informed by
the African-American experience, but not exclusively about it. Ailey was also influenced by
Lester Horton, who formed the first American multiracial dance company in 1934. Horton
worked in Los Angeles, where his work was not as well-known as that of New York based
Another choreographer who combines modern technique with other dance forms is Mark
Morris. The folk dance, flamenco and ballet he studied as a youth infuse his work with a unique
flavor. Popular for its humor and musicality, his work harkens back to the early modern
pioneers; it includes form, technique and storytelling.
Today, it is possible to see and study nearly all the forms of modern dance that have
developed over the years. As new styles develop, the old remain. The future also looks rich, as
new choreographers continue to search for their unique voices and make contributions to the
field of modern dance.
Image 1: Modern dance of 21st century
Image 2: Martha Graham
2.0 Modern Dance Styles
This style expresses a message or tells a story through movement. It shows the
relationships between the performers’ characters.
A method of choreographic development based on random selection of movement. The
dancers learn many combinations of movements but do not know what order they will be
performing them in until right before the performance.
Usually done as a duet or in a large group, the movement is improvised as each dancer
follows the other’s movements and reacts to them. Dancers move in and out of physical
contact while rolling, spiraling, supporting and falling.
A process producing spontaneous movements stemming from a specific stimulus, such as
sounds or colors, and how they relate to certain feelings or the environment.
Improvisation is often a part of the choreographic process.
A form of modern dance which evolved in the 1960s and 70s, and departed from
narrative theme. Post-modern experimented with new concepts and forms and is
sometimes referred to as experimental or minimalist dance.
3.0 Types of Modern Dances
There are different kinds of modern dance. Modern dance is a type of dancing that
permits freedom of expression and emotion in the dancing. It does not use specific costumes or
stage presentations as ballet does. It does not use precise, choreographed steps. Instead, the
dancer is allowed to connect with the audience through inner interpretation that is expressed in
the dance steps.
One of the most fascinating of all dances, the tango is a sensual ballroom dance that
originated in South America in the early twentieth century. Tango is usually performed by a man
and a woman, expressing an element of romance in their synchronized movements. Originally,
the tango was performed only by women, but once it spread into Argentina, it developed into a
dance for couples. The popularity of the tango has greatly increased over the years. Argentine
Tango is much more intimate than Modern Tango, and is well-suited to dancing in small settings.
Argentine Tango retains the intimacy of the original dance.
3.2 Castle Walk
Castle Walk is a dance originated and made famous by Vernon and Irene Castle. The
Castle Walk became popular through its introduction into the Tango. This is a walking step of
direct advance and retreat, not used to move to the side. The couples are in closed position, the
woman, therefore, stepping backward as the man steps forward, and vice versa. The advancing
foot is planted in fourth position, the knee straight, and the toe down so that the ball of the foot
strikes the floor first. The walk presents an appearance of strutting, although the shoulders are
held level, and the body firm; a sharp twist that punctuates each step is affected by means of
pivoting on the supporting foot. The shoulder and hip movements that originally
characterized the "trot" are no longer practiced.
Originally from Cuba, the Mambo is enjoyed throughout the world at both the social and
competitive dance levels. The mambo is a favorite of ballroom audiences because of its high
energy level and infectious rhythms. Popularized in recent years by singers such as Ricky
Martin, the Mambo is fascinating and diverse.The feel of the Mambo is based mostly on forward
and backward movements. The basic components of the dance include rock steps and side steps,
with occasional points, kicks and flicks of the feet. Important to Mambo is the distinctive hip
movement, hence the meaning of the word mambo: "shake it."
3.4 Hip Hop
Hip hop is a dance style, usually danced to hip hop music, that evolved from the hip hop
culture. The first dance associated with hip hop was break dancing. While break dancing consist
primarily of moves executed close to the ground, the majority of hip hop moves are done
standing up. Hip hop dance steps require skill and experience to perfect. Hip hop dancers
practice a lot in order to master basic steps and movements that appear simple when performed.
Dancers with a good sense of rhythm find it easier to learn hip hop steps.
Jazz has become one of the most popular dance styles in recent years, mainly due to its
popularity on television shows, movies, music videos and commercials. People enjoy watching
jazz dancers, as the dancing is fun and energetic. Jazz dancing is a form of dance that showcases
a dancer's individual style and originality. Every jazz dancer interprets and executes moves and
steps in their own way. This type of dancing is energetic and fun, consisting of unique moves,
fancy footwork, big leaps and quick turns. To excel in jazz, dancers need a strong background in
ballet, as it encourages grace and balance.
3.6 Contemporary dance
Contemporary dance is a style of expressive dance that combines elements of several
dance genres including modern, jazz, lyrical and classical ballet. Contemporary dancers strive to
connect the mind and the body through fluid dance movements.Contemporary dance stresses
versatility and improvisation, unlike the strict, structured nature of ballet. Contemporary dancers
focus on floorwork, using gravity to pull them down to the floor. This dance genre is often done
in bare feet. Contemporary dance can be performed to many different styles of music.
3.7 Cha Cha Cha
Cha Cha is derived from two other dances, it is a derivative of the Mambo and Swing . It
is such an "on the beat" dance that you can't help inject your own feelings into it. It has also been
suggested that the name Cha Cha is derived from the vocal imitation of the sound of the feet in
the chasse, which included in many of the steps. This would account for it being called the "Cha
Cha Cha" by some people whereas others call it the "Cha Cha". It is danced "Cha Cha" with the
accent on the "1" beat. The tempo is fast, sassy and staccato.Like most Latin dances, it is done
with the feet remaining close to the floor (toe steps). The dancers hips are relaxed to allow free
movement in the pelvic area as a result of the bending and straightening of the knees. The upper
body shifts over the supporting foot as the steps are taken (foot moves, body follows). This hip
action is called Latin or Cuban motion.
3.8 Bollywood dance
Bollywood dancing has been heavily influenced by Western dance styles, and
incorporates elements from the West. In modern Bollywood films, the musical numbers are often
based on the Hip-Hop style of dance as well as other variations of Hip-Hop dance. Currently
Bollywood Dance is still influenced by Western culture; perhaps even more so today than when
it began. Elements include the use of frequent costume and location changes during dances, as
well as the use of larger dance troupes. And the movements have become more bold &
extroverted to capture the audience’s attention. The Evolution of Bollywood Dance is a process
that is entirely Indian and yet cross-cultural at the same time.
The dances and their images as follows:
Cha Cha Cha
Modern dance centers on a dancer's own interpretations instead of structured steps, as in
traditional ballet dancing. A modern dancer rejects the classical ballet stance of an upright, erect
body, often opting instead for deliberate falls to the floor. There are a lot of examples of modern
dance besides the given examples and these dances are widely practiced and embraced by vast
amount peoples around the world.