Monday, September 20, 2010

Pioneers of Modern Dance

The modern program is expected to not only learn who the pioneers of modern dance were but who studied with who and where modern dance technique came from. At Tennessee Dance Arts we strive to teach modern dance as it was taught by the creators themselves. Megan generally teaches in the style of Mary Wigman, using influences from Laban. However, there is a heavy amount of Graham, Cunningham, and Horton technique fused in there. What we teach as modern dance today, while staying true to our roots is still a melting pot of techniques. You may ask what is the difference? Some studios teach contemporary ballet or lyrical jazz as modern dance. These new fusion genres do not equal true modern dance. There is also the new wave of post modern dance that doesn't stick true to the same beliefs of Wigman and Graham.

Students in the program learn about different dancers and choreographers each year. Last year they learned about Horton/Ailey, Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham,Mary Wigman, Nikolais, Isadora Duncan, with a few new ones that went with our field trips, such as Trey McIntyre. (He calls himself contemporary, but his work is great).

This year students will research and discuss Doris Humphrey, Hayna Holm, Laban/Bartineff Analysis. After seeing the following fields trips they will review the work of David Dorfman, Doug Varone, Trisha Brown, and Momix. They also have two outside studies that include Dance Photography and Lois Greenfield. During this project students will get the opportunity to use a professional camera, lights, and backdrop to learn how to capture the art of dance. Dancers will also learn more on the subject of Dance or Movement Therapy.

Our modern classes are pure technique. An elective in our program is Choreography and Improvisation.
Students will have the opportunity to work on their own choreography that they can present in our Modern Showcase at TDAC's new black box theater.

Modern dance isn't just for the free spirits!
We encourage all our dancers to give it a try and require our ballet program to take at least 1 modern class once they hit a certain level. Modern dance allows the student to find their own movement, feel comfortable in their skin, and really become more body aware. Also, in the way the modern classes focus on technique and anatomy, the mechanics of the body students learn a set of skills that can virtually take them into any other classroom.

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