Choreography that Changed the World of Dance

Choreography has undergone a radical evolution over the past 150 years and produced many influential and famous choreographers. Katherine Dunham, an American icon and revolutionary choreographer, is noted for her accomplishments over 97 years in dance, writing, directing, social activism and even archeology. Dunham, while on tour in the West Indies during the 1930s, became inspired by her surroundings and created a mesh of transforming classical dance to modern while incorporating local styles. Merce Cunningham was soloing under the Martha Graham Dance Company banner by the time he was 20, later opening his own studio in 1953 and eventually incorporating the use of computer technology into his choreography. Bob Fosse and Paul Taylor both took the dance world by storm by exuding sexuality in their performances, pushing classical styles to the next level. Rennie Harris brought hip hop and street dance to the main stage, an endeavor that changed the creative and storytelling aspect of dance forever.

These performers' legacies continue to influence new generations of choreographers. How will the dance styles of today stack up against moves in the future, and which trends will fall behind? What makes choreography truly unforgettable? Can anyone learn to dance? As Martha Graham once said, "Dance is the hidden language of the soul."

Written by Curiosity Staff July 7, 2014

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