Contemporary dance is a genre that has been growing in popularity in recent years. But where did it come from? What are its roots and how has it evolved over time? In this blog post, we will explore the history and evolution of contemporary dance.
Contemporary dance as a genre emerged in the mid-20th century, in the aftermath of World War II. Dancers were looking to break away from the strict forms and structures of traditional ballet and modern dance, and explore new ways of expressing themselves through movement. Some of the pioneers of contemporary dance include Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, and Alvin Ailey.
Martha Graham was one of the most influential figures in the development of contemporary dance. Her technique, known as "Graham technique," emphasized the use of the torso and breath to create movement. Her choreography was often deeply emotional, exploring themes of love, loss, and human relationships.
Merce Cunningham was another important figure in the development of contemporary dance. His style was more experimental and abstract than Graham's, often incorporating chance elements into his choreography. He also collaborated frequently with avant-garde composers and visual artists, such as John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg.
Alvin Ailey is perhaps best known for his dance company, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which he founded in 1958. His choreography drew from a wide range of influences, including African-American spirituals, blues, and jazz. His work was often political, exploring issues of race and social justice.
Since its origins in the mid-20th century, contemporary dance has continued to evolve and change. In the 1980s and 1990s, a new generation of contemporary dancers emerged, including Mark Morris, William Forsythe, and Twyla Tharp. These choreographers continued to push the boundaries of the genre, incorporating elements of pop culture, technology, and performance art into their work.
Today, contemporary dance is a highly diverse and eclectic genre, with influences from around the world. Many contemporary dancers continue to draw inspiration from the pioneers of the genre, such as Graham, Cunningham, and Ailey, but also incorporate elements of hip hop, street dance, and other styles into their choreography.