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Interpretive dance

Women's interpretive dance class, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1949

Interpretive dance describes a family of modern dance styles commencing in its formative years, around 1900, with Isadora Duncan. It used classical concert music but marked a departure from traditional concert dance.[1][2][3] It seeks to translate human emotions, conditions, situations or fantasies into movement and dramatic expression, or else adapts traditional ethnic movements into more modern expressions.[4]

The effect of interpretive dance can be seen in many Broadway musicals as well as in other media. While it was—and most often, still is—thought of as a performing art, interpretive dance does not have to be performed with music. It often includes grandiloquent movements of the arms, turns and drops to the floor. It is frequently enhanced by lavish costumes, ribbons or spandex body suits.


  1. ^ Making Music For Modern Dance. Oxford University Press. p. 33–. ISBN 978-0-19-991148-6. 
  2. ^ Elizabeth Kendall (1979). Where She Danced: The Birth of American Art-dance. University of California Press. pp. 182–. ISBN 978-0-520-05173-7. 
  3. ^ Selma Jeanne Cohen (1 April 2011). The Modern Dance: Seven Statements of Belief. Wesleyan University Press. pp. 4–. ISBN 978-0-8195-7093-2. 
  4. ^ [1], 1