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Women Choreographers

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"American modern dance began at the turn of the 20th century with three determined women seeking personal and artistic freedom in a world dominated by men. Their approaches were different, but all possessed equal amounts of fearlessness, intelligence and creative passion, and their influence on future generations was profound." - Martha Ullman West

Read more in West's essay Women's Work: American Modern Dance


TRISHA BROWN - post-modern; improvisation; task-based dancing

CARMEN DE LAVALLADE - dancer; choreographer; actor

AGNES de MILLE - Broadway choreographer; writer

JANE DUDLEY - modern dance; Graham technique; social justice

ISADORA DUNCAN - mother of American modern dance; Greek influence; rejection of ballet

KATHERINE DUNHAM: teacher; activist; anthropologist

LOIE FULLER: performer; innovated lighting and costume

MARTHA GRAHAM: modern dance pioneer; Graham technique

ANNA HALPRIN: California experimentalist; dance as healing and ritual

HANYA HOLM: modern dancer; educator;  Broadway choreographer

DORIS HUMPHREY: modern dancer; fall and recover technique; dance teacher

BELLA LEWITZKY: modern dancer; master teacher of Horton technique

SOPHIE MASLOW: modern dancer & choreographer; often focused on Jewish heritage, working class

BRONISLAVA NIJINSKA: ballet choreographer and teacher; collaborated with Nijinsky & Diaghilev

RUTH PAGE: choreographer; company directo; jazz and ballet

PEARL PRIMUS: dancer; choreographer; focus on African dance

ANNA SOKOLOW: modern dancer and choreographer; focus on Jewish heritage

RUTH ST. DENIS: choreographer and performer; eastern spirituality and imagery; co-founder of Denishawn school and company

HELEN TAMIRIS: modern dancer and trained in ballet; choreographed for theater and Broadway

TWYLA THARPeclectic choreographer; dance, theater, film, television, and video