What was once only an amusement for courtiers recieved its professional framework in 1661, when Louis XIV established the first academy of dance. Movement positions and postures were written down a standards which still characterise ballet today. In the 18th century, reformers such as Noverre gave dance works a dramatic and moral content thereby making the art of dance accessible to the middle-class public. In 1832, as Marie Taglioni portrayed a sylph, thouching the dance floor only with her toes, she bacame the ideal of romantic ballet and dance enpoint bacame dance perfection for ballerinas. From the middle of the 19th century Paris, as a batsion of ballet, got competitiom from St .Peterburg, where classical academic ballet was undergoing further development at the Tsarist court, under the direction of Marius Petipa. Its high point were the ballets...,,Sleeping Beauty"(1890) and ,,Swan Lake" (1895) at the begining of the 20th century a renewal of ballet begin with the impresario Serge de Diaghilev and his company, the Ballet ts Russes. A nrew style of ballet, oriented toward the expressive body, arose. The dancer Nijinsky was the perfect example of this style. New developments of modern dance in 20th century influenced even ballet, whose basic dance technique remained that of classical dance unchanged. In the USA, with Russian emigre choreographer George Balanchine, classical ballet began to find its feet in the mid-Thirties. As a choreographer in the primarily neo-classic style, out of which he formrd his concert-like and non-narrative ballets, Balanchine influenced the entire development in the second half of the 20th century. Next to him, from the Fifties on, choreographer such as Hans van Manen, Maurice Bejart, John Cranko, John Neumeire of William Firsythe gave classical ballet a contemporary form, so that modern ballet became a topic as well.
Modern dance arose at the beginniing of the 20th century. For its European development, especially for Germany, its most influential representative was the American dancer Isadora Duncan. She radically rejected the regulated technique dance work of classical ballet and oriented herself reward portrayals from Greek antiquily, showing the harmony of natural, organic postures. Isadora Duncan propagated the naturalness of modern dance. Dance movements shold folloe from inner impulse which the dancer sensed from events in nature, work of art or music. Because of this. individual sensibilities and the connection between physical harmony and expreriences in nature came to the centre point of dance interest. Through her emancipated understandingof herself as a woman Isadora Duncan changed the image of the dancer, who was now recognised no longer only as an interpreter of roles, but also as a choreographer of her own works. Untill well into the Twenties, modern dance was presented extensively outside of the theatre, by indipendent dancers. From these beginning expressionist dance arose in Germany, and modern dance arose in the USA.
The predominant form of the dance in the Germany of the Twenties was designed expessionist dance. Its most important representative were Rodolf von Laban and Mary Wignam. Both possessed an understanding of dance that was a philosophy of life, that explained dance as a metaphysical experience . An abundance of dancers belonged to the dance culture of the Twenties, such as the socially critical Valeska Gert or the communist Jean Weidt. All had in common the striving to bring to expression an individual world vision, though a dance touching on natural body movement. Out of expressionist dance came not a dance technique as out of American (USA) modern dance, but rather a system of movement. Influenced by the youth movement and the gymnastics and health movement, Rudolf von Laban developed a system of natural and harmonious body movement which bacame foundation of expressionist dance bod y movement. In order to record his system of movement, Laban invented a symbolic alphabet which was used as kinetography or, in later international developments up untill today, as Labanotation. To exptress the individual sensibilities of aingle persons, to created the inner movement as outer movement, this was th central point of expressionist dance. Laban's pupil, Mary Wignam, was the most famous dancer in Germany from 1919 on. Her dance touched on existential human experiences, but also on metaphysical subjects, such as her ,,Hexentanz"(Witches Dance) or ,,Totentanz"(Dance of the Dead). Mary Wignam performed predominantly as a solo dance, but between 1921 and 1928 she also performed with her dance group. In Dresden she led the largest school of its time for artistic dance, and contributed to the great popularity of dance in the Weimar Republic with the numerious tours. She was also a successful guest performer. For example she made expressiionist dance known in the USA as German dance, thereby influencing modern dance in the USA.From the beginning of the 1930s there were no further developments in the expressionist dance. The designation ,,expressionist dance" was forbidden under the National Socialist regime, and the non-classical directionof dance were driven into exile, such as laban pupil Kurl Jooss, who had founded the department of dance at the Folkwang Academy, Many other fell victim to persecution.
The American dancer, Rush St. Denis was the pioneer of modern dance in the USA. In the USA where, other than occasional guest performances by European ballerinas there was no other tradition of classical ballet, dance was extensively only a risque entertainment in variety shows and in vaudeville. With the artistic experiences that she had collected in the Europe at the turn of the century. Ruth St. Denis pitted herself against this with her own sophisticated style of dance. Together with dancer Ted Shawn, she created dance work with united a dance full of expression, on the basis of natural and harmonious body movement, with opulent costumes and decorations. In this way she artistic dance popular in the USA and the simulated its recognized as a form of art . St. Denis also worked in the spectacular of the early years of Hollywood film industry with the Denishawn School, the school founded jointly by herself and Ted Shawn. This school was kernel of artistic dance in USA. Out of it came both outstanding representatives of modern dance, Doris Hamphrey and Martha Graham, in the mid-Twenties, both divorced themself from the decorative stlye of the Danishawn School and created dance worked in which their individual personalities and experiences of the world stood at the centre. Their American heritage characterised their subjects in the earlt years: in the case of Martha Graham, phychological and mythological content wad added later. Important representatives of historical modern dance went forth from the schools of both Hamphrey and Graham, suchas Charles Weidman, Jose Limon, Erick Hawkins. The modern dance technique developed by Martha Graham spread to Europe starting in the Sixties. Today is implemented by many companies and institutions for dance educations as a modern training technique. In Germany, the Cologne Danz Forum was the first company to work on the basis of Graham technique.
Post modern dance
The term designated various styles of dance which have arisen in the USA since the Fifties, pararell to the content-emphasising stlye of dance ontroduced by Martha Graham and their pioneer generation. Int he first generation of post modern dance, young choreographers rebelled against the comtent and form of historical modern dance, and put autonomy at the centre of their dance. Their predecessor and example of this direction was Merce Cunningham, who had already turned away form modern dance at the end of Forties. He stripped dance of literary content and let the body find its way to free forms of movement whoch were themselves testimony. Improvisationand co-incidence were important cretive media in the choreographic process, whicj was characterised by collaboration with other forms of art. Close collaboration with the composer John Cage and the visual artists of American avant-garde was extremely influential in Cunningham's work. Among the second generation of post modern dance in the USA are the choreographers who from the Seventies on performed pararell to, and in the part scuceeded, Cunningham. Next the autonomy of dance movement, their point of departure included a strong emphasis on the formal structure of dance work, in the part influenced by the representational reduction of minimal art, or by the encounter with other forms, such as show dance, the musical and black dance. From the Eighteies on, the individuality of the dancer came ever more strongly to the fore. Methods of physical perceptions - especially contact improvisation, Feldenkrais and body-mind centering - increasingly influenced the choreographic form of dance for which the designations contemporary dance, post-post modern dance or, in Germany, new dance. was used. The sirn for this newest generation of choreographers is the turning toward subjective body experience, toward perception of internal bodily processes, often in connection with a light . almost playful relations-hip with movement often determine the choreographic structure.
Rudolf von Laban was already using this designation in the Twenties. It came into normal usage only at the beginning of the Seventies, first as a designation for the new municipal theatre companies - such as the Dance Theatre of Darmstadt, taken over by Gerhard Bohner in 1972 and later the Wuppertal Dance Theatre of Pina Bausch - which consciously want to saperate themselves form the title ,,ballet company". However the turn has to be primary understood as a program designaton for the specific language of dance which young choreographers in Geramny developed and adopted into a special relationship for the media of dance and theatre staring at the end of the Sixties. This generation of dancers come partly, like Grayhard Bohner or Johann Kresnik, out of the classical opera house companies and turned away from the dominating traditionalism of classical dance. Or they came, like Pina Bausch, Susanne Linke and the Reinhild Hoffmann. out of the Folkwang Academy, in Essen where Kert Jooss, former pupil of Rudolf Laban, taught an individualistically characterised understanding of dance on the basis of modern and classical dance. Pina Bausch's form of staging, which characterises her especially form the time of her piece, ,,Bluebeard" in 1977, was an inspiration for dance theatre style. In regard to content, dance theatre concentrated on the first generation of everybody subjects, such as social standards, social conventions or the relationship between the sexes. Charateristic features of dance theatre are primarily the inclusion of everyday movement and language in the dance, the unmediated contact to the public, the introduction of new narrative structure which refer to montage of many single scenes, the openness of a work called ,,work in progess" and the recession of any regular rules of dance technique. Despite these mutualities, the dance theatre movement of the Seventies was still very heterogeneous, the scale stretched from the poetic body images of the human situation, by Pina Bausch , to the strikingly violent actions with the political sophistication by Johann Kresnik. The first real differences appear beginning in the Eighties, parallel to and in part the successor to the first generation of young choreographers working in dance theatre. American post modern dance and its successors, especially, affected the German dance scene so strongly that, for conemporary events in dance outside the work of the first dance theare generation. the term comtemporary dance has become customary as a kind of collective designation for the diversity of dance events at present.