Modern dance cannot be described as a particular style of dance or a single technical method of movement; it is rather a point of view. Dance as art. Neither ballet nor popular show dancing, modern dance is theatrical dancing for a serious artistic purpose that developed largely independently of, and in opposition to, those forms. It stresses individuality of expression over uniformity of method. The artistic movement that came to be recognized as modern dance was led by a small group of dancers in the United States in the 1920s and 30s.
Beginning around 1900, a number of dancers grew dissatisfied with the mechanical sterility of a ballet aesthetic then in decline and with the decorative triviality of conventional theater dance. Loje Fuller discovered illusionistic effects that could be created by colored light and swirling draperies, illustrating the vivid theatrical impact that movement can have. Isadora Duncan devised a free style of dance that conveyed great intensity of feeling. Ruth St. Denis and her husband, Ted Shawn, founded the Denishawn school and company in 1915 in Los Angeles, they laid the basis from which the founders of modern dance emerged.
Three members of Denishawn, finding its pseudoexoticism inappropriate to a post World War I society, left the company in the 1920s to invent a dance suited to the times. The three Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, and Charles Weidman became the founders of modern dance, although others also influenced succeeding generations of dancers.
The creative surge was not strictly an American event in central Europe a parallel trend was taking place, influenced by the scientific studies of movement conducted by Rudolf by the scientific and his mentor Francois Delsate and by the Dalcroze system of rhymic movement.
The German dancers Mary Wigman and Harld Krutzberg (1902-68) toured the United States and Hanya Holm established a Wigman School in New York City in 1931. Modern dance activity in Europe ended with World War II, and it was not until American choreographers began working overseas in the 1960s that modern dance again became an international phenomenon.