Post Modern Dance Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 08:25:15
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Introduction

            By the late 1950s, post-modern dance had refined its styles and its theories, and had emerged as a recognizable dance genre. It used stylized movements and energy levels in legible structures (theme and variations, ABA, and so on) to implicate emotions, tones and social conveyance. The choreography was buttressed by expressive characters of theater such as music, props, special lighting and costumes.

The aspirations of post-modern dance, anti-academic from the first, were simultaneously primitivist and modernist[1]. Meanwhile, the new wave dance, which had seemingly replaced the post-modernistic era had issued characteristics similar to the post-modern dance through message implications, but also performs altered character through presentations themselves. The topic for the discussion involves the Twyla Tharp as the new wave dance and the post-modernistic dance.

Twyla Tharp Choreography: Post-modern Era 1960-1973

            Twyla Tharp began her career in 1965, at the age of nearly 23, with Tank Dive, a work in three movements, choreographed for her and four non-dancers. It was performed partly to the accompaniment of Petula Clarks recording of downtown[2]. In the dance world, perhaps only Twyla Tharp could have fitted such a definition at the time, but her work was not commonly considered post-modern dance[3]. Twyla Tharps early choreography explored many of the same experimental issues that interested the Judson choreographers, the Grand Union, and Meredith Monk[4]. Several of Tharps dances, beginning with Tank Dive (1963), contrasted dance and pedestrian movement vocabularies and mixed trained and untrained performers.

Tharp could transpose movement from one context to another because of her various syntactic procedures. Whether the movement was pedestrian or theatrical in origin, Tharp manipulates it using simple mathematical equations or principles based on theme and variation[5]. Twyla Tharp had greatly contributed in the field of post-modern dance. By the end of 1973, she hit her greatest success in the field of post-modern dance. The water-shed in her career was Deuce Coupe (1973), which Robert Joffrey commissioned for his ballet company[6].  During this year, another generation of dance trend was born and Tharps contribution to the post-modern dance had greatly provided certain contributions to the New Wave modern dance of 1973.

New Wave Modern Dance: 1973

            Meanwhile, the next generations of younger choreographers of 1973 such as Peter Gordon of Life Orchestra of 1977, Karole Armitage, Rhys Chatham, and many others had initiated the formulation of new wave dances. If Twyla Tharp performed in silence at the Judson Church in 1966, had diverged from the analytic postmodern line of inquiry because her choreography was so musically inclined, by the early 1980s, when the analytic choreographers rediscovered music and its various uses, such interest realigned the fields of dance steps and choreography.

The next bearers of dance trends had differentiated themselves from their minimalist, analytic, anti-music forebears in a way that fit with the general cultural trend; in part to engage with their own artistic contemporaries in other fields. For the late seventies and early eighties, the younger generations of new music composers were often hybrid creations that endeavors pop experience and characteristics[7].

Modern dance today is a virtual accumulation of all the influences mentioned in the past evolution of dance steps. The plurality of perspectives has not dampened debate nor the tension that has continued to generate innovation in modern forms. The basic idea of dance in Tharps concept of post-modernistic dance has placed remains in the evolution of choreography evidently through instinctive pairings[8]. One example of modernistic evolution occurred in 1973 wherein the Alvin Ailey company revived Ted Shawns Kinetic Molpai and merged the tradition of white gay men with that if African American men. The achievement and influence of choreographers such as Trisha Brown and Twyla Tharp greatly revolutionize the characteristics of the new wave dance or the modern dance of 1970s[9].

Characteristics of New Wave Dance

            During the trend of the late dance choreographers including Twyla Tharp, dance steps mainly connote ballet form. The term modern dance or new wave dance connotes absence to little presence of uniformity and synonymous steps. The most striking features of its development were that of a diversity of forms.

New wave dance refers to performance art dance that is not founded on the ballet nor in the various forms of popular dance entertainment, although, relationships might still be traced since the basis of these modern steps were these classical or post-modernistic choreographies[10]. Modern dance chiefly aims the expression of an inner compulsion; but it has also seen the necessity for vital forms for this expression, and indeed has realized the aesthetic value of form in and of itself as an adjunct to this expression[11].

New wave dance possessed relatively increased dynamics and patterns of steps, which encourages freedom of movement through expression, emotions, or creative instinct of the dancer[12].  From this desire to externalize personal, authentic experience, it is evident that the scheme of modern dancing is all in the direction of individualism and away from standardization[13].

Twyla Tharps Involvement in Modern Dance

            The next wave dances were greatly influenced Tharp whose work has embraced both sides of all these pairings and indicated a shift toward a concern with the dances perceptual effects. Representation and abstraction, emotion and motion, content and form, and psyche and environment are the prime similarities of ballet dance step formulation of Tharp and the composition of next wave dances. However, the differentiations of these dances are the standardization and strict classicism of post-modern dance of Tharp, while next wave dances basically thrived free expressions[14].

Bibliography

Julia L. Foulkes , Modern Bodies: Dance and American Modernism from Martha Ailey, UNC Press (2002)183

Martha Bremser, Fifty Contemporary Choreographers, Routledge (1999) 217

Michael Huxley and Noel Witts, The Twentieth Century Performance Reader, Routledge (2002) 38

Press (1994) 321

Randy Martin, Performance As Political Act: The Embodied Self, Praeger/Greenwood (2000) 91

Sally Banes , Writing Dancing in the Age of Postmodernism ,Wesleyan University

Susan Leigh Foster, Reading Dancing: Bodies and Subjects in Contemporary American, University of California Press (1998) 209

[1] Michael Huxley and Noel Witts, The Twentieth Century Performance Reader, Routledge (2002) 38

[2] Martha Bremser, Fifty Contemporary Choreographers, Routledge (1999) 217

[3] Huxley and Witts, 38

[4] Susan Leigh Foster, Reading Dancing: Bodies and Subjects in Contemporary American, University of California Press (1998) 209

[5] Foster, 209.

[6] Bremser, 217

[7] Sally Banes , Writing Dancing in the Age of Postmodernism ,Wesleyan University

Press (1994) 321

[8] Foster, 209; Bremser, 217

[9] Julia L. Foulkes , Modern Bodies: Dance and American Modernism from Martha Ailey, UNC Press (2002)183

[10] Helen Thomas, Dance, Modernity and Culture: Explorations in the Sociology of Dance, Routledge (1995) 24

[11] Huxley and Witts, 38; Foulkes, 22

[12] Bremser, 217; Banes, 321

[13] Huxley and Witts, 38; Foulkes, 297, 300

[14] Randy Martin, Performance As Political Act: The Embodied Self, Praeger/Greenwood (2000) 91

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