Horton technique?

by S Sidhu


I'm 18 and have only been dancing since September 2010 (so about 6 months) and have really gained a love for contemporary dance and how it can make so many other forms of dance have that special inflection.

However, one technique that I've heard mentioned a lot but never found a real explanation of is the "Horton Technique" and I was just wondering if you could tell me more about this technique. I've tried internet searches but they aren't giving me much about the technique and its practice.



Dear S Sidhu,

The Horton technique is a method for the dancer's training. It was developed by the American modern dancer and choreographer Lester Horton, during the first half of the XXth century.

Horton had classical ballet knowledge but had also been trained by a dancer named Michio Ito with traditional Japanese techniques.

His many years of teaching for the Denishawn School and his own company led him to refine a codified system, which is still taught worldwide and it's known as the Horton Technique. Though, what we know about it is what his students have transmitted themselves, as Horton died from a premature age before fully documenting his ideas.

Here's a famous statement that describes what he tried to achieve with his training method:

"I am sincerely trying now to create a dance technique based entirely upon corrective exercises, created with a knowledge of human anatomy; a technique which will correct
physical faults and prepare a dancer for any type of dancing he may wish to follow; a technique having all the basic movements which govern the actions of the body; combined with a knowledge of the origin of movement and a sense of artistic design" Lester Horton.

You'll see that nowadays, Horton technique's classes vary from one teacher to another. Though, there are some principles you'll find frequently, like the practice of what he called Fortifications, Projections, Locomotions, Improvisations, Preludes, and Rhythms.

It is said that the core of his system lies in the Fortification series. They are the specific exercises that work over physical skills, like force and flexibility, but also over rhythmical abilities.

Here's an example of a part of a Horton Technique class:

I've tried myself some Horton classes and can tell you that it is a powerful method (if done properly of course), mostly in developing a strong body. If you're starting your dancing career, it might be useful to you. Though you know nowadays there are many training methods in contemporary dance, so it is up to you to decide if the Horton Technique is good for what you need or intend as an artist yourself.

There are books on this topic also. I leave you some links below so that you can read further:

(Disclosure: This website contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may earn a commission. There’s no additional cost to you.)



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