The purpose of interperative or modern dance is to express by means of body movement the emotions felt by the dancer in a more impromtu and spontaneous, informal manner. It is performed both individually and in groups. It also difers from ballet in that it avoids telling stories and avouds pantomine and characterizations. Isadora
Duncan in the early 20th Century helped found the school of interperative or modern dance. Costuming usually involves like, diaphonous Greek style tunics.
Greek drama evolved from the dance. The dramas retained dance which served to express deep religious emotion. Dance was later used sparingly to only embelish the dramas that developed in Renaisance Europe. Dance was used to express light, convention or erotic emotions in the plays, opera, romantic comedies, amd revue of Europe, in contrast to the grave emotion of Greek dance. Ballet eventually developed to tell a story in music and dance, but was a highly formalized dance style. Isadora Duncan in the early 20th Century helped found the school of interperative or modern dance. The purpose was to express by means of body movement the emotions felt by the dancer in a more impromtu and spontaneous, informal manner. It is performed both individually and in groups. It also difers from ballet in that it avoids telling stories and avoids pantomine and characterizations.
American dancer Isadora Duncan (1878-1927) is noted for her founding of new dance techniques based largely on the dances of the ancient Greeks. With her graceful barefoot movements, flowing Grecian costumes, and maverick views on everything from ballet to marriage, Isadora Duncan sparked a revolution in American dance and challenged society's rigid expectations of women. Often called the "Mother of Modern Dance", she revolutionized dance, introducing an improvisational, emotion-driven form that would give birth to a new American style of dance. Isadora Duncan has been one of the most enduring influences on 20th century culture. Ironically, the very magnitude of her achievements as an artist, as well as the sheer excitement and tradgedy of her life, have tended to dim our awareness of the originality, depth and boldness of her thought.
Her personal life was tragic. She endured poverty as a child. An unfortunate mairage terminated in divorce. Though not a believer in what she saw as the chains of marriage, Isadora did have two children, Deidre and Patrick, with two of her lovers, Gordon Craig and Paris Singer. Tragically the two children drowned with their governess in the Seine river in 1913. The following years were difficult for Isadora, and she stopped dancing for a time. Finally, however, she found a renewed artistic energy when she returned to her schools and her "foster" children, the school pupils. She even adopted six of those children, the "Isadorables" as they were billed by the press later when they began to perform with Isadora. She experienced severe financial difficulties in her last years. She was killed in
an car accident.
Interperative dance schools for children were opened throughout Europe and America during the 1920s and 1930s. They were popular with girls, but less so with boys. Many mothers felt, however, that that such cultural pursuits were an important part of a boy's education. She instructed young children to listen to the music with their souls and in doing so they would feel an inner self awaken to give them strength. This awakening of the soul was the first step in dance as she conceived it.
Duncan is best known for her natural technique based upon daily movements such as walking, running, skipping and leaping. Her style has dancers wearing loose robes with bare feet so as to reflect the swaying of trees and the rocking of ocean waves. In contrast to classic ballet movements, there are no stiff postures or rigid movements because straight lines do not occur in nature. Duncan's motivation for dance was to "express the feelings and emotions of humanity" and thus her dance movements emanate from the soul to become an embodiment of individuality and extreme passion.
Isadora danced in free-flowing costumes, bare feet and loose hair. She advocated similar costumes at her schools. Dancing costumes varied widely at the different schools, depending on the directors ideas about costume an dance. Ducan's school often had the children, boys and girls,
dress in loose, flowing costumes reminesent of Greece. Many of the other schools introduced similar costumes. At the Texas school pictured on this page the children wear such costumes, although two of the three boys at lower left dance in white shirts and shorts with dance slippers. One of the boys, the one in bangs, wears the same Grecian outfit as the girls (figure 1).
HBC at this time has little information about the personal experiences of boys who participated in interpretive dance. In his biography, the late Peter Scott, son of the famous polar explorer' is shown dressed in an Isadora Duncan tunic as a child. He has short trousers under his tunic.
A variety of movies have dealt with dance thems, especially ballet. There have been few movies that have dealt with interpretive dance, except movies like Isadora that have been about the life of Isadora Duncan. Like wise there are few movies that have even hace secenes involving intrpretive dance. One of the few exceptions is the Shirly Temple vehicle Blue Bird. Boys in the film wore shorts under their tunics as in the "Going to Paradise" scene.
Isadora Duncan, My Life.
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