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Dancing and Mixed Media

Early Twentieth-Century Modern Dance Theory in Text and Photography


Judith B. Alter

During the first third of the twentieth century, innovators and developers of modern dance evolved exercise systems, established schools, and published books on «dancing» illustrated by numerous photographs. Some of the books are by dancer-authors: Isadora Duncan, Raymond Duncan, Mary Beegle, Helen Moller, Margaret H'Doubler, Eleanor Elder, and Margaret Morris. These media - books and photographs - are also used by art critics, Charles Caffin and John E. Crawford Flitch and photographer, Arnold Genthe in books on dancing and dancers during this period; analysis of their works adds other dimensions to this study. The social, political, and cultural movements of radical utopianism, idealization of nature, rational recreation, anti-Victorianism, and the adulation of ancient Greek culture contribute to understanding the forces which influenced the newly emerging art forms of modern dance and photography.