Art for the Smart: The Evolution of American Modern Dance over Time and through Higher Education




Crain, Grace

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This multi-disciplinary study examines the integration of modern dance into areas of higher education through a historical disquisition of modern dance pioneers and educators, various personal accounts of participants in the field of modern dance education, and finally a visual representation of my discoveries in the form of a screen dance. At the inception of my research, I asked myself these questions: “How has the art of dance evolved into higher education? Who made this possible, and why is it important?” In the first discipline of the study, a historical account, I present the quintessential trailblazers of modern dance in America in chronological order, piecing together their interlacing biographies from the early 1900s to the 2000s. The second section of my study is comprised of the findings of interviews I conducted with modern dance educators of the present and my personal relationship with modern dance. Finally, in the third aspect of this project, I display all of the discoveries I made through my research into an artistic screen dance. The purpose of this study is to present the totality of American modern dance education in a concise, chronological, visual exhibit which produces a foundation for future studies of the evolution of modern dance and its journey in academia, and to solidify the notion that the art of dance as a profession is feasible, purposeful, and legitimate.



dance, dance education, modern dance, dance history, Honors College


Crain, G. (2023). Art for the smart: The evolution of American modern dance over time and in higher education. Honors College, Texas State University.


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