Modern dance was born in the first decades of the 20th century in the USA.
“Real dance is able to transmit the earth’s energy through the body.” Ιsadora Duncan
Isadora Duncan is considered a pioneer of modern dance. Her dancing rejected the rules imposed by ballet in the technical execution of the steps, the costumes and the rigid positions of the dancers, because in her view they restricted the natural movement of the body and the freedom of the spirit.
Her personal dancing style, influenced by nature, waves and the movement of the trees, by ancient Greek sculptures and the philosophical thinking of Fr. Nietzsche and Havelock Ellis, was based on the flow of the body’s movement, in a manner which in her opinion expressed the rhythms of nature and man’s nobler sentiments. Her free dancing was incredibly harmonious and her movement particularly emotive. In her performances she started wearing ancient Greek-inspired tunics and danced barefoot.
The “barefoot dancer” believed that the source of all movement was in the solar plexus, and her dancing, in contrast to the ballet, focused on the use of gravity and the body's weight. Her dancing vocabulary included moves like simple jumps, running, skipping, large expressive and playful imitating motions. Using music by Beethoven, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schubert and others, she rebelled against the prevailing opinion of her time, that classical music was not suitable to be choreographed.
Martha Graham and Helen Tamiris were another two of the most influential dancers that shaped the course of modern dance.