Contemporary Modern Dance - Limón and Cunningham

Modern Contemporary

Technique as any good teacher will tell you, is a means to an end, not an end in itself. In the 20th century when modern dance was born, it seemed nearly every choreographer wanted to distinguish themselves with a specific style and technique. Numerous camps developed as dancers, students and professionals aligned themselves in balkanized fashion with a specific choreographer or technique. You could tell a Graham dancer by the way she held her chin and wound her hair in a high full bun. A Dunham dancer? The walk, like coursing through a sandy beach gave it away. But today choreographers and artistic directors demand versatility not allegiance. The ability to remain flexible enough to tackle any number of stylistic or technical demands is what divides good dancers from great ones. ( Lisa Trager)

Modern contemporary class/ Limón, Muller and Cunningham

The classes are inspired by the techniques of Limón, Muller and Cunningham and they are divided into three parts: The first part of class involves floorwork, which strengthens and stretches the major muscles and joints, activate the core and energizes the body. As the whole body and the breath connects with the floor, the dancers develop awareness of the floor as their primary fundament and a strong sense of moving the body in various directions using their weight and the rebounds against the floor.

Floorwork develops into standing up working in parallel position, with focus on correct placement and breathing in portebras and plies, to obtain fullness and speed in high pitch moments of suspense /release. The second part of the class involves a well structured balletique - logical barre work, involving parallel and turn out position - plies with upper and lower curves and armswings, tendues moving in space from the pelvis - fall/recovery brushes - rond de jambes combined with upperbody curves - rapid foot work released into throw away high pase and off-center tilts - stretchy full-body adagios with tilts, curves and balances all connected by in between codas. The barre exercises focuse on the dancer's articulation, coordination, alignment and balance and prepare the dancers physically and mentally for the final segment of class.

The third part involves moving across the floor, sharpening the awareness of the body in space, finding the flow and the dynamic in the movement and at the same time make sudden changes of directions crisply. Suspension, momentum musicality and change are other keywords. The dancers finish the class by working with a longer combination, which will be developed continuously along the way, during several classes. The combination will be created from the elements learned during the classes and will give the dancers an opportunity to go deeper into the quality of the movements and the music, to experiment and develop more personal skills in terms of how to interpret their dancing.

The aim

The technique as described above may be built on differing foundations but the aim and the end result after the 2 year program remains constant: well-trained and adaptable dancers. Articulated dancers capable of expressing themselves through the dance, while working artistically with the wholeness of body, mind and emotions.

Dorte Persson.