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托福听力短文 I-15-3

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(Woman) So, why did what is now called "modern dance" begin in the United States? To begin to answer this question, I'll need to backtrack a little bit and talk about classical ballet.

By the late 1800's, ballet had lost a lot of its popularity. Most of the ballet dancers who performed in the United States were brought over from Europe. They performed using the rigid techniques that had been passed down through the centuries. Audiences and dancers in the United States were eager for their own, "contemporary" dance form. And, so, around 1900, dancers created one.

So, how was this "modern" dance so different from classical ballet? Well, most notably, it wasn't carefully choreographed. Instead, the dance depended on the improvisation and free, personal expression of the dancers. Music and scenery were of little importance to the "modern" dance --- and lightness of movement wasn't important either. In fact, modern dancers made no attempt at all to conceal the effort involved in a dance step.

But even if improvisation appealed to audiences, many dance critics were less than enthusiastic about the performances. They questioned the artistic integrity of dancers who were not professionally trained and the artistic value of works that had no formal structure. Loie Fuller, after performing Fire Dance, was described as doing little more than turning "round and round like an eggbeater." Yet, the free, personal expression of the pioneer dancers is the basis of the "controlled freedom" of modern dance today.

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