ART OF MOTION AND MUSIC
The Birth of Contemporary Dance in America
Thursday, April 12, 2018 – 5:30 p.m.
Join us for a discussion with Ballet Arkansas Artistic Director, Michael Fothergill, examining the transformation of classical ballet into neoclassical, modern, and contemporary dance in America between 1930 and the present day. This conversation defines the parallels and differences between dance genres and brings to light the historical catalysts that helped shape America’s dance community.
We often ask speakers to tell us a little more about themselves before they visit the Arts Center. This time, we’ve asked Fothergill, a dance expert, to share a little bit about varieties of dance found in the Arkansas Arts Center Collection. Here’s a primer on a few types of dance, featuring works found at the AAC.
Abraham Walkowitz, Isadora Duncan
Isadora Duncan was one of the true founders of what we know as popularized “modern dance.” She was highly active in Europe for most of her career, however an American. She was particularly well known for her dynamic and often alternated lyrical movements and very powerful gestures throughout her choreography. She also loved improvisational movement. I imagine that this what is depicted here – a lyrical, improvised movement.
Another interesting note about Isadora is that she often wore Grecian looking robes, or long dresses when dancing. These garments were of interest to her largely to cover her form, but also because the weight of the fabric would allow it to move with her. She often felt that the movement in her body should continue into her garments. The dress pictured is a very common look for her.
Edgar Degas, Blue Dancer
Degas was certainly fascinated with dancers, more than half of his works were inspired by dance. It is likely that the subject of this painting was taking a break between rehearsals, stretching out a sore muscle, or perhaps adjusting her pointe shoe ribbons. It was common during the early stages of ballet training, for all dancers to wear uniformed ballet attire. Because of this, without inside knowledge of the specific location of the painting, it would be difficult to assess whether this painting was a depiction of a class of students, or a group of professionals in costume before performance.
Terry Rosenberg, Home #13 (Mark Morris Dance Group),
Mark Morris is one of the big names in American modern dance. His troupe, based out of Brooklyn, NY, tours all over the world and presents some of the most vibrant and thought provoking repertory out there. This piece is likely inspired by a rehearsal or performance of one of his ensemble pieces. Knowing that Mark’s work of is often very high energy, it is likely that the blur in the work represents speed and intensity.
Tickets are still available for Fothergill’s April 12 lecture on Contemporary Dance in America here.
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