A reference work on the developments that pioneered the entry of dance in modernity.
Between 1870 and 1945, with urban expansion and changing attitudes, new forms of shows emerged in the West, bringing with them new, multiple and sometimes contradictory visions of the dancing body. Some dancers, fascinated by technological modernism, dreamt of body-machine hybridisation. For others, the challenge was to rediscover natural movement ability and vital energies, thwarted by modern life. Still others found a liberating inspiration in exotic dances or the example of “primitive peoples”.
But in New York and Paris, in Berlin and Moscow, dance was accountable for its political, social and cultural role in the face of the economic crisis and the rise of totalitarianism. Choreographers, performers and teachers were all aware that they were striving in a time of changes and that they needed to position their creative process according to the disruption and violence of their times. This book tells that complex and fascinating story.
Based on what has most recently been discovered through international research in dance, it places the emergence of works – and of the initiatives and theories beyond them – in their cultural context and social environment, while comparing the study of body practices with the analysis of aesthetic and political issues of a changing art.
Well-documented, providing a comprehensive picture of the artists and trends of the period and written clearly, this book fills a gap often pointed out in dance publications. It provides a unique, fertile perspective on the history of dance by replacing it in a broader cultural context, in the history of mindsets, the social and political history but also that of other arts. Beyond the scope of dance, this book is intended for readers interested in the history of arts and more generally the evolution of Western societies.
This is the first volume of a new collection – Histoires – (graphic design by Jérôme Saint-Loubert Bié) published by the Centre national de la danse. That collection will bring together books identifying current knowledge over a given period and geographical area connected with dance.