Modern Dance

Modern Dance, Photo by Kevin Eddy
Photo by Kevin Eddy*

Renowned dancer and choreographer Karole Armitage will talk about her career at the Library in April. Learn more about modern dance and its dancers, watch this dance form on film, or check out a few movies choreographed by Armitage.

Modern dance | Modern dance on film | Movies choreographed by Karole Armitage

Modern Dance

No Fixed Points: Dance in the Twentieth Century
By Nancy Reynolds and Malcolm McCormick
This book chronicles one hundred years of dramatic developments in ballet, modern, and experimental dance for stage and screen in Europe and North America. The volume is magisterial in scope, encompassing the history of theatrical dance from 1900 through 2000. Beginning with turn-of-the-century dancer-choreographers like Loie Fuller, Isadora Duncan, Michel Fokine, and a bit later Vaslav Nijinsky, and proceeding through the profusion of dance styles performed today, the book provides an unparalleled view of dance in performance as it changed and grew in the twentieth century.

Ailey Spirit: The Journey of an American Dance Company
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; text by Robert Tracy
Published to coincide with the opening of Alvin Ailey's brand-new building in NYC, these stunning images are accompanied by extracts from in-depth interviews with dozens of dancers and artists associated with the company for over 45 years.

Chance and Circumstance: Twenty Years with Cage and Cunningham
By Carolyn Brown
This memoir from one of the most celebrated modern dancers of the past fifty years tells the story of Brown’s remarkable career, of the formative years of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and of the two brilliant, iconoclastic, and forward-thinking artists at its center-- Merce Cunningham and John Cage. From its inception in the l950s until her departure in the l970s, Brown was a major dancer in the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and part of the vibrant artistic community of downtown New York City out of which it grew.

Howling Near Heaven: Twyla Tharp and the Reinvention of Modern Dance
By Marcia B. Siegel
For more than four decades, Twyla Tharp has been a phenomenon in American dance, a choreographer who not only broke the rules but refused to repeat her own successes. Starting in the rebellious 1960s, Tharp tried her creative wings on minimalism, pedestrianism, and Dada, then abandoned both the avant-garde and the established modern dance.

Katherine Dunham: Dancing a Life
By Joyce Aschenbrenner
Founder of the first self-supporting African American dance company, Dunham relied on her fieldwork as an anthropologist to fundamentally change modern dance. She shaped new dance techniques and introduced other cultures to U.S. and European audiences by fusing Caribbean and African-based movement with ballet and modern dance. This biography is the thoroughly examines her pioneering contributions to dance anthropology and her commitment to humanizing society through the arts.

Modern dance on film

An Evening with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater brings its distinctive style to two stunning dance pieces. "Diving" evokes a strong feeling for African tribal ritual and is set to hauntingly rhythmic drum music. "Revelations" expresses vivid "blood memories"of the South during the Depression.

Paul Taylor, Dancemaker
Nominated for an Oscar, Dancemaker is a journey into the world of choreographer Paul Taylor and his creations. Filled with archival footage from Taylor's early years as a featured dancer and performances from his troupe, this program is a rare glimpse inside the creative collaboration between the master and his performers.

Movies choreographed by Karole Armitage

The White Countess

The White Countess (2005)
Set in Shanghai in the late 1930s, this is the story of the relationship between a disillusioned former US diplomat and a refugee White Russian countess reduced to a sordid life in the city's bars.

The Golden Bowl (2000)
An intricately plotted tale of thwarted love, betrayal and retribution, The Golden Bowl tells the story of an extravagantly rich American widower and his sheltered daughter, both of whom marry only to discover that their respective mates are romantically entangled with one another. Set in England and Italy between 1903 and 1909.

Book and film descriptions provided by BookLetters.

* Photo by Kevin Eddy

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