Barbara Mettler, dancer, dance educator, author, and film and video producer, developed her own style of modern dance, which emphasized improvisation. Her core principles were beauty, freedom, and democracy. Dance was conceived as a fundamental human activity, of which all people are capable, as opposed to an elite, choreographed, performance art. She taught widely, to diverse lay people, including adults, children, and the handicapped, primarily from her own Mettler Studios. Her students later formed the International Association for Creative Dance to carry the principles of her work forward.