Modern dance in a postmodern world

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jan E. Van Dyke, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
David E. Purpel

Abstract: The purpose of this research was to define a modern dance point of view through the work of early, seminal dance artists and to then describe ways in which important social forces have shaped the form in the years since 1965. Special attention was paid to the policies of the National Endowment for the Arts for its catalytic influence on both the art and the field, including its impact on other sources of funding and on the organization of dance companies. It is suggested that NEA policies have led to a realignment of goals for modern dance artists, replacing a traditional counter-cultural stance with a focus on marketing and fiscal strength. The education and training of dancers is explored, noting the links between NEA policies and both the shift to a technical emphasis within university dance departments and the ongoing integration of ballet into modern dance training. This is followed by discussion of how dancers' lives and work are affected by the stress on technical excellence and by economic demands. In-depth interviews with four modern dance artists examine life in the field during the period under examination, 1965-1989, pointing up the effects of cultural changes on standards for success. Finally, an analysis of the interaction between cultural forces and modern dance artists is presented, followed by recommendations for further research.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1989
Modern dance $x History $y 20th century
Modern dance $x Social aspects

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