George Balanchine's Influence On American Dance

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The world has always had dance. Whether it be as a form of worship, recreation, work or ritual, people have used movement to express their values and beliefs since the beginning of time. Throughout the years, dance has changed and grown and and taken on many forms of art as different choreographers bring their innovation and creativity to the table. I will be discussing two very different dances that have completely changed modern American dance. Martha Graham’s Lamentation, and George Balanchine’s Serenade. Martha Graham was Dennisshawn student in 1916 but left to begin her solo career in 1926. She was considered to be a forerunner of the first generation of American modern dance. Graham created Lamentation in 1930 and called it a “dance of sorrow”. She believed that dance was an expression of one’s inner landscape and showed great emotion in all of her dancing. The dance was meant to embody grief and Graham really connected these emotions with her movement. You can see this as her movements are incredibly strong and bound as her costume greatly limits and hides her body. The dance is performed sitting, which is very unconventional for…show more content…
With beautiful dancing, costumes, and music by Tchaikovsky, America fell in love with Serenade and it is still admired today as classic American ballet. Balanchine turned his focus back to the European aesthetic classic values and really embodied these in his choreography. He believed that simplicity created beauty and thought that movement was the most important element in any ballet. You can see this simplicity in the staging, costume and scenery in Serenade. He created live geometry with his incredible use of space, and created long lines and beautiful movement that was very light, free and quick. Balanchine’s ballet is exactly what we think of when we think ballet, and all the girls where long blue tutus, point shoes and dance with extreme poise and

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