In the first half of the twentieth century, modern dance spread and installed itself in different training spaces in Argentina, occupying a performance space that enabled an aesthetic renewal. In the 1960s, dance took on a more experimental perspective through the Instituto Di Tella and other stages in Buenos Aires. Dance soon took its place among the neo-avant-garde of the period, crossing over into the visual arts, pop culture and popular theatre, as well as pop and rock music. The force and vitality that always characterised modern dance – as opposed to the rigorous control of the body seen in its classical counterpart – opened the door to trajectories more closely associated with contemporary life and its constant social changes. Defiant women, unconventional bodies, new sounds and ways of dressing, and an unprejudiced journey through theatrical performances made modern dance in Argentina an experience that transcended styles and schools.
New, unprecedented research by the Museo Moderno aims to highlight this artistic legacy that has often been overlooked by art history and by curators. We have explored modern dance from a twin historical perspective: the expansion of its boundaries through interdisciplinary research and women’s liberation, in line with the emancipation of bodies that took place in those years.
The exhibition will focus on key experiences of dance as a practice of disruption and freedom aligned with the construction of a regional identity. Among the different groups featured is Danza Actual, whose innovative and experimental profile occupies a central place in the exhibition. Created in 1962 by Graciela Martínez (Córdoba, 1938 – Buenos Aires, 2021) and with the participation of Ana Kamien (Buenos Aires, 1935) and Marilú Marini (Mar del Plata, 1945), the group reformulated the boundaries of dance in a very short space of time. Building on their experience is the Laboratorio de Danza, directed by Susana Zimmerman (Buenos Aires, 1932-2021) and the renowned figures of Iris Scaccheri (La Plata, 1949 – Buenos Aires, 2014) and Oscar Araiz (Punta Alta, 1940), choreographers and dancers whose most high-profile activities were launched within the Centro de Experimentación Audiovisual, the experimental centre of the emblematic Instituto Di Tella in Buenos Aires, which was active between 1963 and 1970, as well as in other spaces such as the Teatro de la Alianza Francesa and the Asociación Amigos de la Danza, an established group which attracts many of the country’s choreographers and dancers. The historical journey ends with the creation of the Ballet del Teatro San Martín in 1968, a leading institution of modern and contemporary dance.
Dance: Ana Itelman, Ana Kamien, Ana María Stekelman, Cecilia Ingenieros, Dore Hoyer, Esther Ferrando, Graciela Martínez, Iris Scaccheri, José C. Campietelli, Laura Mouta, Lía Jelín, María Fux, Marilú Marini, Marucha Bo, Mercedes Robirosa, Miriam Winslow, Oscar Araiz, Otto Werberg, Patricia Stokoe, Renata Kestelboim, Renate Schottelius, Rodolfo Danton, Estela Maris, Susana Tambutti, Susana Zimmermann
Graphic Design: Carlos Soler, Edgardo Giménez, Humberto Rivas, Juan Andralis, Juan Carlos Distéfano, Norberto Coppola, Roberto Alvarado, Rubén Fontana
Photography: Annemarie Heinrich, Alicia Sanguinetti, Eduardo Newark, Leone Sonnino, Susana Thénon
Video: Ignacio Masllorens, Julia Parodi, Silvina Szperling
Music: Martín Román, Miguel Ángel Rondano
Costumes and objects: Alfredo Arias, María Julia Bertotto, Delia Cancela, Oscar Palacio
Curated by: Francisco Lemus
Curatorial Assistance: Violeta González Santos
Exhibition Design: Daniela Thomas, Felipe Tassara and Iván Rösler
Graphic Design: Job Salorio
Production: Patricia Pedraza
Special thanks for their contributions to the research: Victoria Alcalá, Irene Aschero, Oscar Araiz, Anabel Caeiro and Natalia Iglesias (Estudio María Fux), Margarita Bali, Mariana Bellotto, María Julia Bertotto, Mariela Cantú (Arca Video Argentino), Patricia Dorin, Paula Félix-Didier, Leandro Varela and Andrés Levinson (Museo del Cine), Victoria Fortuna, Carlos Fos and Pía Villaronga (CEDOC “Ana Itelman”, Complejo Teatral de Buenos Aires), Diego Fischerman, Rubén Fontana, Fernando García, María Martha Gigena, Edgardo Giménez, Beba González Toledo, Marcelo Isse Moyano, Silvia Kaehler, Déborah Kalmar, Ana Kamien, Sofía Kauer and Nicolás Licera Vidal (Investigación histórica, Archivo Graciela Martínez), Kado Kostzer, Lía Jelín, Fernanda Pinta, Martín Paz and Inés Esteves (Archivo IIAC-UNTREF), Lucrecia Platt, Wustavo Quiroga, Alicia Sanguinetti, Sergio Selim, Andrea Servera, Diana Szeimblum, Leone Sonnino, Silvina Szperling, Susana Tambutti, Pablo Tesoriere, Milka Truol and Javier Villa.