Postmodern Dance – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Dance Theory Glossary

I. What is Postmodern Dance?

Postmodern dance is a genre of dance that emerged in the mid-20th century as a reaction against the formalism and rigidity of modern dance. It is characterized by its rejection of traditional dance techniques and structures, as well as its exploration of new forms of movement, improvisation, and collaboration. Postmodern dance is often experimental and interdisciplinary, incorporating elements of theater, visual art, and music into its performances.

II. How does Postmodern Dance differ from Modern Dance?

While modern dance sought to break away from the constraints of classical ballet and explore new forms of expression, postmodern dance takes this rejection of tradition even further. Modern dance still maintained certain technical principles and choreographic structures, whereas postmodern dance often abandons these conventions altogether in favor of a more free-form and spontaneous approach to movement.

III. What are the key characteristics of Postmodern Dance?

Some key characteristics of postmodern dance include a focus on everyday movement, an emphasis on improvisation and collaboration, a rejection of narrative or thematic content, and a blurring of the boundaries between performer and audience. Postmodern dance also often incorporates elements of chance, humor, and irony into its performances, challenging traditional notions of what constitutes dance.

IV. Who were some influential figures in the development of Postmodern Dance?

Some influential figures in the development of postmodern dance include Merce Cunningham, Trisha Brown, Yvonne Rainer, and Steve Paxton. These choreographers and dancers were at the forefront of the postmodern dance movement in the 1960s and 1970s, pushing the boundaries of what dance could be and redefining the relationship between movement, space, and time.

V. How has Postmodern Dance influenced contemporary dance practices?

Postmodern dance has had a profound impact on contemporary dance practices, influencing choreographers and dancers to explore new forms of movement, collaboration, and expression. Many contemporary dance artists continue to draw inspiration from the principles of postmodern dance, incorporating elements of improvisation, interdisciplinary collaboration, and non-traditional performance spaces into their work.

VI. What are some notable Postmodern Dance works or performances?

Some notable postmodern dance works or performances include Merce Cunningham’s “RainForest,” Trisha Brown’s “Set and Reset,” Yvonne Rainer’s “Trio A,” and Steve Paxton’s “Contact Improvisation.” These works exemplify the experimental and innovative spirit of postmodern dance, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in terms of movement, choreography, and performance.