Developed in the 20th cent., primarily in the United States and Germany, modern dance resembles modern art and music in being experimental and iconoclastic. Modern dance began at the turn of the century; its pioneers were Isadora Duncan, Loie Fuller, and Ruth St. Denis in the United States, Rudolf von Laban and Mary Wigman in Germany. Each rebelled against the rigid formalism, artifice, and superficiality of classical academic ballet and against the banality of show dancing. Each sought to inspire audiences to a new awareness of inner or outer realities, a goal shared by all subsequent modern dancers.
In the early 1900s European and American dancers started to rebel against the rigid constraints of Classical Ballet. Shedding the authoritarian controls surrounding classical ballet technique, costume, and shoes, these early modern dance pioneers focused on creative self-expression rather than on technical virtuosity. Modern dance is a more relaxed, free style of dance in which choreographers use emotions and moods to design their own steps, in contrast to ballet's structured code of steps. It has a deliberate use of gravity, whereas ballet is rigid in its technique. Because of the common history, the two forms (classical ballet and modern) share a similar terminology and structure. Modern dance is a term that applies to a variety of different disciplines, all with subtly different techniques, that responded to the imperialism of ballet through varying, culturally specific catalytic factors.
Denise's Dance Connection (Dance Studio) in Rochester, NY offers a variety of Modern dance classes for students of all ages!