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Abstract Dance

  Abstract dance was the name of a specific style of ballet, devised in the 1920s and developed at the Bauhaus. Its aim was to remove from dance any external associations, so that the dancers could concentrate on pure movement and pure pattern. (Other dancers and choreographers, from Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham onwards, have used terms like ‘expressive dance’, ‘free dance’ and ‘new artistic dance’ to describe the same phenomenon.) In the wider sense, a great deal of dance is ‘abstract’. Ballroom dancing, for example, is concerned with the pleasure the movement and pattern-making give to the dancers, and not with some external ‘programme’. The main kinds of representational (that is, non-abstract) dance are religious dance, for example in India and Indonesia, and ballet—although, even with these abstraction is common, for example in the dancing of the Whirling Dervishes, or in modern ballet from Balanchine to Ailey, from Tetley to Bausch. KMcL  



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