Dance History Quiz | New Dance Group

Fun facts for teachers & students

What is the New Dance Group?

a. A Chicago-based company that stages flash mobs at public events
b. A Denver-based ballet company that includes performers with a range of body types
c. The original name for what became the Mark Morris Dance Group
d. A 1930s-era group of dancers with leftist politics

d. A 1930s-era group of dancers with leftist politics

Formed in 1932 by left-wing students from New York’s Mary Wigman school, the group dedicated itself to dance that addressed social and political themes, and offered concerts in union halls as well as on concert stages. (Its first program announced, “Dance is a Weapon of the Class Struggle.”) According to the Dance Heritage Coalition, NDG offered inexpensive dance classes to professionals, workers, and children, and the curriculum included forms ranging from Afro-Caribbean and Middle Eastern dance to ballet. The dancers also created a choreographic collective; individuals were not necessarily credited with the specific dance works they created. NDG allied itself with the Workers Dance League and served as a training ground in New York City for African-American dancers including Pearl Primus and Donald McKayle. The group existed in various configurations until 2009, when deficits forced its closure: the Joyce Theater took over its studios, which now operate under the name DANY Studios.