Women have always been at the forefront of pushing the art of dance forwards. There are many forms of dance all around the world so we thought we would take a look at some of the most inspirational and influential women in the dance world.
Amelia was a dancer and choreographer from Mexico, and it was clear from an early age that she loved to dance. At college she studied modern dance with European instructors and went on to work as a choreographer in her own right. Although she had a European dance grounding, she missed the flair and flavour of her Mexican heritage and went on to create the dance group Folklorico de Mexico, which blended the Mexican vibe of the danzas with ballet and modern dance for a completely unique approach.
Martha was an American dancer and choreographer, known as the mother of modern dance. She created the Graham technique, which emphasises the human body’s potential for expression. She danced and taught for more than seventy years.
Iolani was a Hawaiian dancer, chanter and a Kumu Hulu, a master teacher of the art of the hula! She is respected for her knowledge of the sacred ceremony and celebrated for her advocacy and conservation of her culture.
After joining the elite Imperial Ballet School, her teachers quickly recognised that Anna had a unique style and she was known as the greatest ballerina of her era. Her ballet style was exceptional, and she became popular very quickly and with many different types of audiences. It is believed she performed more than 4,000 times. She is reported to be heavily involved with the design of the modern style pointe ballet shoe.
Ginger Rogers’ career started when she won a performance dance tour as the prize in a Charleston dance contest. She went on to make movies in Hollywood with Fred Astaire, in which they flirted and danced in ways audiences had never seen before.
Isadora drew her dance inspiration from the history and culture of ancient Greece. She ignored the limitations the Victorian era in favour of Grecian-style robes and a natural and free style of movement. She laid the groundwork for what we now call modern dance. Isadora created her unique modern, Grecian inspired dance style in Europe and danced barefoot to classical music. Her movement was notes to be simply graceful which was very new to those who watched traditional and theatrical dance at that time.
Katherine brought African and West Indies dance styles together with traditional ballet and combined that with modern dance to create something completely fresh. This created a new style of dance reflecting African American heritage and culture and resembling in some way modern jazz. Katherine then founded a school for dance focussed on African American students and a dance company featuring African American dancers who performed across a huge range of places including on Broadway, in movies, in nightclubs and on TV.
Margot was a British ballerina who attracted early celebrity after being made prima ballerina of the Sadler's Wells Ballet. Margot Fonteyn met the Rudolf Nureyev when she was considering retirement and he changed her mind. She agreed to dance with him in a production of Giselle and their chemistry was known to be electric, even though she was 20 years older than him. She then continued to dance until her 60’s.