Avant-garde dance of the 1960s and 1970s changed the way we look at dance, as well as our idea of what the art of dance could and should be. The new choreographers of those years—postmodernists (as they came to be called) like Anna Halprin, Yvonne Rainer, Trisha Brown, Steve Paxton, David Gordon, Lucinda Childs, Laura Dean, and Twyla Tharp—created dances based on the conviction that dance should consist of nothing but movement, and that movement should be its only subject. They discarded as superfluous distractions the proscenium stage, dancing to music, costumes, sets, stories, romance, traditional drama, virtuosity, and pre-existing vocabularies of steps. Their dances took place in unusual spaces—lofts, rooftops, parking lots, museums, and fields—and were composed of nonsystematized, nonrepresentational movement that focused on parts of the body little used in traditional dance, and a restricted...


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