This style was founded by dancer Lester Horton, who was born in 1906. Horton studied Native American dance in Indiana. Horton choreographed for theater and film. Horton studied the human body, and developed exercises focused on strengthening and preparing it for performances. A typical Horton class starts standing up with roll-downs and flat backs and later moves on to more complex moves. Alvin Ailey was one of Mr. Horton's students. Many companies use Horton including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Dallas Black Dance Theater.
Nothing Martha Graham was born in Pennsylvania and began dancing after high school, studying at Denishawn. At the school, she was a student and teacher and choreographer. In the 1920s Ms. Graham moved to New York City with Louis Host who was a choreographer and pianist. About 10 years later Graham started her own technique. She based her moves off of "contract and release" which is what one does while breathing. The technique of contracting is common throughout modern dance today.
Merce Cunningham started his dance career at age 20 as a soloist with the Martha Graham Dance Company. He taught the idea of music and dancing as both together and separate. He formed his own company in 1953. Cunningham choreographed over 150 dances. His techniques include isolated movements and have been used by dance companies including the New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. In 2009 he won the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award.
José Limón was born in Mexico and moved to the US to study art at UCLA. He soon found his calling in dance. He danced with Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman for 10 years before starting his own company. He choreographed at least one dance per year. He served on the board at the Juilliard School, one of the most competitive dance schools in the country. He won many awards including two Dance Magazine awards.
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- "Chapter 3: The Modern Dancers." Home. N.p., n.d. Web. March 6, 2014
- "Merce Cunningham (American Dancer and Choreographer)." Encyclopædia Britannica, n.d. Web. March 6, 2014.
- "Limón." Limn RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. March 11, 2014.