Modern dance is often considered to have emerged as a rejection of, or rebellion against, classical ballet, although historians have suggested that socioeconomic changes in both the United States and Europe helped to initiate shifts in the dance world. In America, increasing industrialization, the rise of a middle class (which had more disposable income and free time), and the decline of Victorian social strictures led to, among other changes, a new interest in health and physical fitness. "It was in this atmosphere that a 'new dance' was emerging as much from a rejection of social structures as from a dissatisfaction with ballet. " During that same period, "the champions of physical education helped to prepare the way for modern dance, and gymnastic exercises served as technical starting points for young women who longed to dance. " Women's colleges began offering "aesthetic dance" courses by the end of the 1880s. Emil Rath, who wrote at length about this emerging artform at the time stated,
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