This chapter deals with a period of intense changes in world politics. The 1960s were characterised by radical demands for reform in both society and the arts. Dance art moved into the postmodern era, here represented by various North American dance makers and phenomena and Japanese butoh. These new approaches sought to distance themselves from the dominant foundations of ballet and modern dance. Instead, dance was treated as a contemporary art form, a cultural language that could be consciously explored, deconstructed and reconstructed. Both a kinaesthetic exploration of movement principles and an interdisciplinary of arts were explored, dance makers employing different media and materials as components of choreographic performances. New York’s white dance avant-garde emphasised experimentation and representational critique, seeking to break away from both the movement’s mimetic relationship to reality and its connection to the body of the choreographic auteur. Choreography and dance performance could manifest as writing, as concept and task structures, on stage, in shared space, or spatially and site-specifically in public spaces. Meanwhile, new developments in Black dance drew on a strong sense of community, interdisciplinarity of arts, Afrodiasporic research and socio-political awareness. Japan’s first postmodern dance form was butoh, mixing styles, eras and cultures. Butoh was a creative fusion of both national tradition and international modern art that later gained international prominence on a range of European and American stages. In contrast, the different strategies and aims of white and Black dance led to parallel paths and a lack of convergence, a history of segregation that has only been critically examined by dance theorists and makers in the 2010s.

Kirsi Monni: The Postmodern Spectrum – New Openings and Radical Redefinitions of Dance in the 1960s

  • The Turn to the Bodily Perception in Dance – Erick Hawkins
  • Improvisation and Kinaesthetic Awareness – Anna Halprin
  • Choreographic Concept – Simone Forti
  • Dance Constructions
  • Multidisciplinary Dance Collective – Judson Dance Theater 1962–1964
  • Features of Judson’s Dance Concerts
  • Performance at the Intersection of Choreography, Visual Arts and Performance – Materials and Objects
  • Judson on Whiteness and Black Postmodern Dance
  • Postmodernists Gus Solomons jr and Blondell Cummings
  • The Art Theoretical Debate and Judson’s Legacy
  • Debate on avant-garde vs kitsch in the modernist framework
  • Minimalism and overcoming body–mind dualism
  • From metaphor to metonymy and the view from the 2020s

Hanna Väätäinen: Community in Afrodiasporic Concert Dance

  • Modern Dance Theatres and Community
  • Community as a Way of Working
  • Open Structures

Riikka Laakso: Yvonne Rainer and the Questioning of Choreographic Conventions

  • Canonical and Transforming Trio A
  • Writing, Process, Film
  • Works and Themes of the 21st Century

Riikka Laakso: Trisha Brown – Choreography as a System that Makes Dance Happen

  • First Choreographies and Judson Dance Theater
  • Working on Gravity – Dances with Equipment
  • Dances that Accumulate Movement
  • Exploring the Context of Theatre
  • Works from the 1990s and 2000s

Anna Thuring: Butoh’s Revolutionary Aesthetics and Influence on Contemporary Western Dance

  • Japanese Roots of Butoh
  • Tatsumi Hijikata and the First Generation
  • Internationalisation of Butoh in the 1980s
  • Philosophy and Aesthetics

Mirva Mäkinen: The History and Characteristics of Contact Improvisation

  • Characteristics of Contact Improvisation
  • On the Origins of Contact Improvisation
  • Openness and Community in Contact Improvisation

Riitta Pasanen-Willberg: Working with Images as a Basis for New Dance Techniques

  • Alignment and Release Methods in Dance Practice
  • Ideokinesia