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modern dance

The Combining of Forms

By the late 20th cent., distinctions among modern dance, ballet, and show dancing were not as rigid as they once had been. Ballet technique and choreography have remained more formal than those of modern dance, but their themes and stage effects are often similar. Important modern dancers have been invited to perform with and create dances for ballet companies, and in 1990, Mikhail Baryshnikov joined with dancer-choreographer Mark Morris to form a new eclectic dance company. In addition, Paul Taylor performed with the New York City Ballet in a work created for him by George Balanchine, Taylor himself created dances for Rudolf Nureyev, and Tharp's dancers joined the Joffrey Ballet to perform her Deuce Coupe and As Time Goes By.

Since Agnes de Mille first introduced a dance sequence as an integral part of the plot development of Oklahoma! in 1942, dance has become more than just light entertainment during interludes in the action of Broadway musicals. Anna Sokolow, of the Graham company, brought her modern dance technique to the Broadway stage, as did Hanya Holm, choreographer of Kiss Me, Kate (1948) and My Fair Lady (1956). The dance style that has evolved in musicals usually combines elements of modern dance, modern ballet, and the jazz dance that is based on Afro-Caribbean dances.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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