Modern dance is a broad genre of western concert dance, primarily arising out of both Germany and the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. (Note that contributions from American dance artists comprise this article’s primary focus. Links to articles on German modern dance are included below.) Oversimplification of modern dance’s history often leads to the erroneous explanation that the artform emerged merely as a rejection of or rebellion against classical ballet. Looking more deeply, we see that as early as the 1880s, a range of socioeconomic changes in both the United States and Europe helped pave the way to tremendous shifts in the dance world. For instance: in America, industrialization, the rise of a middle class (with some disposable income and free time), and the decline of Victorian social strictures led to (among other things) a new interest in health and physical fitness. “It was in this atmosphere that a ‘new dance’ was emerging as much from a rejection of social strictures as from a dissatisfaction with ballet.” During the 1880s, “the champions of physical education helped to prepare the way for modern dance, and gymnastic exercises served as technical starting points for young women who longed to dance”—and women’s colleges were already offering “aesthetic dance” courses by the decade’s conclusion Concurrently, dance artists such as Isadora Duncan, Maud Allen, and Loie Fuller were paving the way for aesthetic dance or free dance in the theatrical concert dance setting. As these dancers eschewed ballet’s strict movement vocabulary, corsets, and pointe shoes, they searched for greater freedom of movement. Emil Rath, who wrote at length about this emerging artform at the time stated, “Music and rhythmic bodily movement are twin sisters of art, as they have come into existence simultaneously…today we see in the artistic work of Isadora Duncan, Maud Allen, and others the use of a form of dancing which strives to portray in movements what the music master expresses in his compositions—interpretative dancing.” American modern dance can be divided (roughly) into three periods or eras: From roughly 1914 forward, sociopolitical concerns added fuel to the continued development of modernist dance in the United States and Germany. The First and Second World Wars, the rise of fascism, the Great Depression (in the US), and the evolution of other artforms each informed modern dance along the way. Moving into the 1960s, new ideas about dance began to emerge, again in large part as a response to both earlier dance forms as much as to social changes. Eventually, postmodern dance artists would reject the formalism of modern dance, and include elements such as performance art, contact improvisation, release-technique, and improvisation. The discussion that follows is by no means an exhaustive list of modern dance artists in either the United States or Germany. As will become clear below, modern dance has evolved with each subsequent generation of participating artists. Artistic content has morphed and shifted from one choreographer to another, and so too have styles and techniques. Artists such as Martha Graham and Lester Horton developed techniques in the Central Modern Period that are still taught worldwide, and numerous other types of modern dance exist today—many of which are associated with renowned schools and master teachers.