This essay seeks to analyze some of these dances and how they have contributed to the development of American culture. The essay focuses on Denishawn, Dancing with the stars as a ballroom dancing reality and Balanchine and Stravinsky dances in exile…
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Over the years, there have been different forms of dance and choreographers who have steered the American culture. Non-academic modern dance in America was first introduced by St. Denis and Shawn, collectively referred to as Denishawn, who coached their students to use their talents so as to express themselves through movement (Thomas 85). This dance group was created against the backdrop of the First World War when America had developed a high sense of nationalism and the federal government took control of almost of sectors of the society. The Denishwan dance was characterized by ballets and exoticisms, adopted from Greek movements. According to Thomas, any person who was suspected of engaging in activities that could undermine national security was arrested and imprisoned (87). After the war, though, political goals posts changed and the then government minimized federal interference in business and other sectors. According to Thomas, progressive education during this era championed for change. The modern dance was characterized by different experiments with bodily movements, which did not rely on Greek methods of dancing. In short, the new age dancers were in search of dance methods that reflected the American culture, as opposed to oriental culture. The Americanized dance involved more profound body movements as a way of expressing art. In addition, the modern dances sought to establish the independence of dance from music, considering that Denishawn had always viewed dance as secondary to music (Thomas 89). Martha Graham, a former dancer in Denishawn became one of the modern age dancers and produced numerous choreographic works in her career. Graham, for example, fused humor and dance as a form artistic expression relevant to the American culture. Graham’s choreography was characterized by increased torso movements, to go along with the breathing partners of the dancers (Thomas 89). The exaggerated contractions and expansions represented the inner conflicts within the inner self of a human being. Additionally, there was the inclusion of emotional intensity and expression of inner feelings in the modern dance as compared to the formal ballet dances that were more narrative. Humphrey’s choreography involved isolating music from dance, in such a way that dancers sometimes performed in complete silence or a spoken word (Thomas 89). The relationship between balance and imbalance, depicted by falls and the rises of the dancers from the floor characterized much of Humphrey’s choreography. In addition, Humphrey preferred individual work as opposed to group dances in her choreography. Dancing with the Stars Dancing with the stars as a ballroom dancing reality show is designed to exemplify the American dream that encourages personal growth. The dream that everyone in America is accorded the chance to showcase their talents regardless of race, religion, background and other factors that make individuals different is what dancing with the stars is all about. The reality show serves to encourage people to pursue their dreams and believe that they can be successful regardless of any limiting factors.
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