Ruth Anderson Radir
Release Date: 15 March 2007
odern FOR THE YOUTH OF AMERICA A Text for High School and College Teachers RUTH ANDERSON RADIR, M. A. Drawings by RAY GOUGH NEW YORK A. S. BARNES COMPANY 4 s - BARNES AND COMPANY, INCORPORATED zs w fy protected by copyright and nothing ke appears in it may be reprinted or reproduced in any manner, either wholly or in part 3 - for any use whatever, without special written permission of the copyright owner. This volume has been manufactured in accordance with the regulations of the War Production Board. PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA To Dr. Bertha Stuart Dyment BINDERY mT 1949 3J, f i3 INTRODUCTION DANCE, AS DISCUSSED IN THIS BOOK., is an art concerned with the communi cation of idea or feeling through the medium of movement. Modern dance is a term in current use applied to that kind of contemporary dance that organizes expressive movement in certain characteristic ways in a time-space structure. This manifestation of dance has developed in our democracy. As such, it represents, like other contemporary develop ments in the arts, the unique expression of an individual, or a group. The modern dancer, or the artist, uses his medium In a very individu alized way to give expression to those aspects of life which move him. He is likely to concern himself with the changing world which im pinges upon him in his daily life. He considers the sordid, the grim, the ugly, the humorous and the ridiculous aspects of life as worthy of ex pression as the nobler aspects of his world. He experiments freely with tone, color, clay or movement, and manipulates them according to no pattern, nor tradition, but in any way that he can devise, to reveal the essence of his experience. Since modern dance isthus a highly indi vidualized expression, since it Is experimental and since it takes for content phases of the passing scene, the modern dance of tomorrow will be something quite different from modern dance today. For ours is a world of rapid change. As society is restructured under the impact of far-reaching world events, dancers find new ideas which seem worthy of expression. But only so long as ours is a free country, or only so long as democracy, that makes possible freedom of expression, persists, will art remain individualized and experimental. Since in the freedom of democracy, dance may concern itself with socially significant ideas, it may, in turn, like the other arts, influence the direction of social change. Thus we see that there is a reciprocal relationship between the arts and the culture. The ballet dance of the previous tradition, like all art, was also a product of the culture. But, as a spectacular form of entertainment, arising from the demand of kings and courts for amusement, It had no INTRODUCTION dynamic interrelationship with the culture. It found subject matter, not in the problems of life, but in legend, fairy tale and fantasy. Such sub ject matter was pleasing to the court with its affectations and preten sions, as was the bird-like techniques of this form. Since performances were given on command, these techniques tended to become crystallized. The connoisseur who enlarges his ego by being able to make esoteric comment on virtuosity of performance, demands adherence to tradition. He is disconcerted if an artist makes radical departures from accepted style, because such change undermines his basis of criticism.. And, in any case, the aerial work of theballet, its flight from earth and the curves of its arabesque were well-suited to this escapist form of ex jgression. How the modern manifestations of dance as an art differ from the artistic dance of the preceding tradition, may be seen by looking at an example of each. Pavlova, early in her career, danced the Dying Swan. Like all save two of the dances in her repertoire, the Swan was not of her own creation, but the work of a choreographer, in this case, Fokine. For an artist to perform a dance composed by another was, and is, in the ballet, customary practice...
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