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Ted Shawn, Father of American Dance

You've likely heard of Martha Graham and possibly of Ruth St. Denis, but it was the latter's husband, Ted Shawn, who pioneered and encouraged the participation of men in American modern dance. After the dissolution of their marriage and their boundary-pushing studio, Denishawn [NSFW/nudity], in the early 1930s he went on to form Ted Shawn and His Male Dancers, which frequently performed bare-chested or nude. Keeping with the precedent he and St. Denis had established, their work unapologetically appropriated from many cultures as a way to repudiate [NSFW/nudity] traditional preconceptions about professional dance. The company disbanded when most of its members left to fight in World War II, but the retreat space he purchased in western Massachusetts to house and train his dancers has since evolved to become a dance center and festival hub called Jacob's Pillow. [more inside]
posted by psoas on Jun 1, 2014 - 6 comments

This Is Your Head

You, too, can learn modern dance!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero on Dec 24, 2013 - 15 comments

"One can see why virgins went astray."

To The Great God Pan
There is only one piece of film that shows Isadora Duncan dancing. It is four seconds long, the very end of a performance, and it is followed by eight seconds in which Duncan accepts applause. This small celluloid footprint – light-struck in the manner of Eugène Atget – contains quite a bit of information. It is an afternoon recital, early in the 20th century, and it takes place en plein air, trees in the background, like so much of the painting of the day. Duncan enters the frame turning, her arms positioned in an upward reach not unlike ballet’s codified fourth position, but more naturally placed. ... Because of her thrown back upper body it seems as if she is running, but she is actually slow and steady, offering herself to something so large she doesn’t need to move fast. The dance over, she stands simply and acknowledges her audience with a Christ-like proffering of her palms. In fact, her classical garb is as much that of the sandalled shepherd of men as it is a barefoot goddess of Greek mythology. ‘I have come,’ she once said, ‘to bring about a great renaissance of religion through the dance, to bring the knowledge of the beauty and holiness of the human body through its expression of movements.’ Thus spake Isadora.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 11, 2013 - 5 comments

Following up after Pina

Wim Wenders at the Film Society Lincoln Center introducing Pina, and post-film talk and Q&A session [50m] during which he describes much about the groundwork for the film, how it was made, and the challenges of filming a 3D dance documentary. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Apr 15, 2012 - 20 comments

Contemporary Dance Video Database

Contemporary Dance Video Database
posted by Joe Beese on Nov 22, 2009 - 8 comments

If I can't dance, I don't wanna be part of your (information) revolution.

Mortal Engine (highlights; interview) and Glow (interview) combine dancing and projected video to stunning effect. The secret? The dancers aren't following the light — the light is following the dancers. [more inside]
posted by nebulawindphone on May 9, 2009 - 24 comments

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