Segments in this Video

Introduction: History of Modern Dance (02:12)


Understanding the history of modern dance helps choreographer innovate and provides a foundation for growth. Because the genre is so broad, modern dance is hard to define, but Neijla Yatkin explains it as the new folk dance of our generation.

Early Dance Pioneers in the United States (1900-1940) (04:44)

Loie Fuller used technology to enhance her dance performances. Isadora Duncan studied Indian and Asian dance movement to enhance her choreography. Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn's modern dance company, Denishawn, performed across the country.

Experimentation in Ballet (1900-1930s) (05:46)

Ballet Russes pioneered the modern dance era. Contributors include Sergey Diaghilev, Vaslov Nijinsky, Igor Stravinsky, George Balanchine, and Anthony Tutor. Modern dance is more grounded and the movements are more connected than ballet.

Foundations of Modern Dance (1910-1940s) Part One (05:06)

Although modern dance is considered an American creation, Russian and German dancers and choreographers contributed to the art form. Learn how Rudolf Laban, Mary Wigman, Hanya Holm and John Martin contributed to the art form.

Foundations of Modern Dance (1910-1940s) Part Two (06:45)

Martha Graham is considered one of the most famous pioneers of modern dance. Modern dance spread in popularity due to the Works Project Administration during the Depression. Helen Tamiris used dance as a form of social protest.

The Second Generation of Modern Dance (1935-1980s) (04:35)

Jose Limon's cultural background influenced his choreography. Anna Sokolov focused on the Depression and the Holocaust in her works. Alvin Ailey and Pearl Primus were influential African American modern dancers.

New Directions for Modern Dance (1940s-Present) Part One (03:57)

Merce Cunningham pioneered the isolation dance movement. Paul Taylor initiated the Pedestrian Movement. Alwin Nikolas was nicknamed "the Wizard"— he would create the wardrobe, the lighting and the music for his performances in addition to the choreography.

New Directions for Modern Dance (1940s-Present) Part Two (07:37)

The post-modern dance movement questioned every construct of modern dance. The Judson Church Movement pioneered post-modern dance. Learn what contributions Yvonne Rainer, Anna Halprin, Pilobolus Dance Theater, Mikhail Barishnikov, Mark Morris, Pina Bausch, Bill T. Jones, and Butoh made to dance history.

The Growth and Development of Modern Dance Education (1920s-Present) Part One (07:50)

Margaret Doubler created the first dance program at the University of Wisconsin in 1926. Bennington College helped spread the influence of modern dance throughout the country by hosting the American Dance Festival. Experts discuss the future of the genre.

Credits: History of Modern Dance (02:01)

Credits: History of Modern Dance

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

History of Modern Dance

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



In this program, dance historians, instructors, and choreographers trace the evolution of modern and postmodern dance. They explores the influences of such dance pioneers as Duncan, Fuller, St. Denis, Shawn, Balanchine, Graham, Laban, Wigman, Tamaris, Humphrey, Weidman, Limo+C2n, Sokolow, Ailey, Dunham, Cunningham, Taylor, Hawkins, Nikolais, and Bausch. Modern dance education is also disussed in the program.

Length: 52 minutes

Item#: BVL116769

ISBN: 978-1-64023-288-4

Copyright date: ©2008

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.