Top 5 American Choreographers of the 20th Century: Many people were artistic and original in shaping dance during the 20th century and no matter who you choose to be your favorite, someone influential will be left off of this list. These are the top 5 that we feel really struck out and were the most innovative choreographers of their century.

Martha Graham revolutionized modern dance with her pioneering technique and expressive movements. Merce Cunningham pushed the boundaries of traditional dance by incorporating chance and randomness into his choreography. Twyla Tharp blended different styles and genres to create dynamic and eclectic works. Pina Bausch’s emotive storytelling and immersive theatricality brought a new dimension to contemporary dance. Alvin Ailey’s powerful and soulful performances celebrated African-American culture and inspired generations of dancers.

George Balanchine (1904-1983)

George Balanchine was a choreographer. Nicknames as the father of American ballet, he co-founded the New York City Ballet and remained its Artistic Director for more than 35 years.

George Balanchine (1904-1983) was a renowned choreographer and the co-founder of the New York City Ballet. He earned the nickname father of American ballet for his significant contributions to the art form. Balanchine served as the Artistic Director of the New York City Ballet for over 35 years, leaving a lasting impact on the company’s artistic direction and repertoire.

2. Martha Graham (1894-1991)

Martha Graham was an American modern dancer and choreographer. Her influence on dance has been compared with the influence of Picasso on modern visual arts, the influence of Stravinsky on music, and the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright on architecture. She danced and choreographed for over seventy years.

Martha Graham (1894-1991) was an acclaimed American modern dancer and choreographer. Her impact on the world of dance has been likened to the influence of Picasso on modern visual arts, Stravinsky on music, and Frank Lloyd Wright on architecture. With a career spanning over seventy years, she left an indelible mark through her innovative choreography and expressive performances.

3. Alvin Ailey (1931-1989)

Alvin Ailey was an African-American choreographer and activist who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City.

Alvin Ailey (1931-1989) was an African-American choreographer and activist who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City. His groundbreaking contributions to dance and his commitment to social justice made him a significant figure in both the artistic and civil rights movements. Through his innovative choreography and powerful performances, Ailey brought African-American cultural experiences to the forefront of modern dance, leaving a lasting impact on the art form. His legacy continues to inspire and influence dancers and audiences worldwide.

4. Bob Fosse (1927-1987)

Robert Louis Fosse was an American dancer, musical theatre choreographer, director, screenwriter, film director and actor. He won eight Tony Awards for choreography, more than anyone else ever has, as well as one for direction.

Bob Fosse (1927-1987) was an iconic figure in the world of dance and theater. Known for his unique style and innovative choreography, Fosse revolutionized the art of musical theater. His distinct movements, characterized by sharpness, precision, and sensuality, captivated audiences and set a new standard for dance in the industry. Fosse’s impact extended beyond the stage as he ventured into film and television, leaving a lasting legacy that continues to influence choreographers and performers today.

5. Jerome Robbins (1918-1998)

Jerome Robbins was an American choreographer, director, dancer, and theater producer who worked in classical ballet, on Broadway, and in films and television. Among his numerous stage productions, he alsoworked on were “On the Town”, “Peter Pan”, “High Button Shoes”, “The King And I”, “The Pajama Game”, “Bells Are Ringing”, “West Side Story”, “Gypsy: A Musical Fable”, and “Fiddler on the Roof”. Robbins was also a five time Tony award winner and a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors. He received two Academy Awards, including the 1961 Academy Award for Best Director with Robert Wise for “West Side Story”.