1970’s American Culture and the Impact on Dance
The freedom of the American life and culture of the 1970’s overflowed to make a major impact on music and dance during this period. American culture flourished. The events of the times were reflected in and became the inspiration for much of the music, literature, entertainment, and even fashion of the decade. Choreographers wanted to motivate the dancers to leap into the unknown and experience the contact of dance in their own way.
Free love and the idea surrounding it helped break down barriers from traditional dance movements. Men and women began using their bodies to portray physical acts, built on to each other creating unique and interesting positions. They were working with the physical forces of gravity, momentum, and inertia. They would use the force of one body hurling into another to find out what would happen. For the first time in history, it was not unusual for a man and woman to depict the act of making love on the dance floor. The term “bump and grind” did start during this era of free love. Another dance that originated during this period was the “bump.” This dance consisted of partners literally bumping parts of their body against the other.
Dancers of this era became more open-minded and creative with their attire. With contact improvisation, dancers did not hide their body or movements under tutu’s or flowing garments. It was not unusual for modern dance groups to dance in black or flesh colored leotards and tights. Nothing was considered inappropriate for dancers to wear while performing improvisation. In this era and culture, the word “inappropriate” was not frequently used. Outside the studio, teenagers and young adults preferred to wear hip hugger, bell-bottomed jeans, hot pants, and topped these off with halter-tops and clingy shirts.
With contact improvisation, it was acceptable for women to partner women. Partnering was not limited to only two people; some men were able to partner two women at once. The movement that resulted from contact improvising was spontaneous movement leading to unexpected phrasing and positions. Dancers based...