Referring to some videos that I saw about the different dance techniques of two great figures in modern dance, Jose Limon and Alwin Nikolais, I felt the need to write about what their thoughts were regarding an audience’s reaction toward a modern dance piece. Knowing that in those times when modern dance was beginning, people did not quite accept modern dance as an art, compared to ballet.
As a lover of modern dance, I couldn’t agreed more when Jose Limon expressed in the video that modern dance it’s a challenge for the audience. He likes the audience to experience that challenge which is a presentation of an artistic idea. Complementing that thought with this one of Nikolais’s, who says that he likes to give the audience the freedom to imagine what they want from his work. He is giving the audience a conceptual gift, an idea that is up to the audience’s criteria to figure it out.
It is impressive how two different artists with different styles think like one person, in reference to modern dance and its effect in the audience. I think that today we still struggle with close minded people to appreciate the beauty of modern dance. And will stay that way until they understand what modern dance is about, overcoming the “challenge” and using the “freedom of imagination” that modern dance artists provide.
Videos: “Jose Limon and Company, with a collaboration of Doris Humphrey" (no specific date) and, "The world of Alwin Nikolais" (1990).