An Introduction to Modern Dance
Modern dance is widely viewed as one of the most expressive forms of dance. A modern dancer uses a combination of techniques to tell a distinct story with dramatic body movement and passionate facial expressions.
Modern dancers frequently make use of ballet training to strengthen their modern technique. However, modern dance distorts and often breaks the structured rules of ballet in order to achieve captivating theatrics.
Here are three popular modern dance techniques:
• Graham Technique: Founded by American choreographer and dancer Martha Graham, Graham technique challenges the body’s restrictions to complete movements that work against the dancer’s natural physical instinct. Creating spirals around the spine, flexible transitions, and strike poses, Graham technique pushes the body to new limits.
Of the modern techniques, Graham is thought to introduce the most drama with its use of breath, abdominal contraction and release, exaggerated drops and falls, and purposeful shapes. For this reason, Graham is very popular.
• Limon Technique: Established by Mexican dancer and choreographer Jose Limon, Limon technique is characterized by its use of space, body weight, and fluid transitions. Dancers learn to convert everyday actions into dance movements.
Limon technique develops the dancer’s range of motion by amplifying each move and overstating the body’s response to gravity. Limon tends to evoke a “feel good” reaction from the dancer, since it encourages dancers to travel with and through movements.
Limon’s Mexican influence is evident in this technique with its free-flowing style.
• Horton Technique: Horton technique, founded by American dancer and choreographer Lester Horton, focuses on parallel and lateral movements to build the dancer’s strength, with a concentration on core stability. Horton technique includes a series of conditioning and strengthening exercises known as preludes and fortifications, and encourages dancers to rely on the body’s core to shift from one position to another. Lateral stretches, flat-back positions, and lunges characterize the Horton technique and assist the dancer to create cleaner and longer lines.
These and other modern dance techniques, including Cunningham, Humphrey, and Dunham, have ensured that dance remains a powerful and dynamic form of expression.