How Did Modern Dance Begin?

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American dancer and choreographer Martha Graham (1894–1991) revolutionized the art of dancing and created what is known as modern dance. She was thirty-five years old when the Martha Graham Dance Group made its debut on April 14, 1929. This event marked a turning point in dance performance by dissolving the separation between mind and body and relying on a highly personalized technique.

Graham's lifelong interest in dance culminated in her revolutionary abilities to manipulate light and space, making her one of the masters of the modern art movement. She single-handedly changed dance from a highly structured art form to free-form physical theater. She choreographed over 180 works in her lifetime and taught many of the masters of modern dance, including Merce Cunningham (1919– ) and Paul Taylor (1930– ).

Further Information: Ancona, George. Let's Dance. New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1998; De Mille, Agnes. Martha: The Life and Work of Martha Graham. New York: Random House, 1991; "Martha Graham." Electric Library. [Online] Available http:/www.encyclopedia. com/articles/05279. html, October 23, 2000; Martha Graham's Modern Dance. [Online] Available http://www.letsfindout. com/subjects/art/graham.html, October 23, 2000; Stodelle, Ernestine. Deep Song. New York: Schirmer Books, 1984.