Modern Dance Masters Of The Twentieth Century Essay

1026 Words Oct 26th, 2016 5 Pages
Two modern dance masters of the twentieth century, Merce Cunningham (1919 - 2009) and Alvin Ailey (1931 - 1989) both deceased and both from entirely different backgrounds, created genius compositions of movement and interpretation as exhibited on stage through their chosen art, modern dance. Suite for Five by Merce Cunningham (1956) and Revelations by Alvin Ailey (1960) were considered to be some of their greatest compositions and although the pieces were created and performed within four years of each other, the characteristics and qualities of both creations are vastly different. Both will be discussed and examined in regards to: choreographic methods, style of movement and its relationship to the music, the use of space on the stage, and the cultural context of the production.
Cunningham’s choreographic methods are sharply contrasted to Ailey’s. When watching Suite for Five, which Cunningham himself choreographed, the moves are stiff, deliberate and precise; appearing somewhat robotic with a sense of emptiness. A true creation of modern dance highlighting and encompassing ballet moves with pointed toes, stiff legs, outstretched arms and precision turns with exceptional balance. There is unity of motion, balance and counterbalance, flexibility, geometric angles and off-beat rhythmic motion exhibited at different times throughout the performance. It is an unpredictable composition of movement. The plainness of the costumes suggests the importance of individuality and…

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