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Maddie Marone

on 2 January 2014

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Modern Dance
Martha Graham's Frontier

Considered by many to be the founder of Modern American Dance
evolved free movement of her predecessors into a technique of contract and release

Martha Graham A Dancer's Life by Russell Freedman

Madeline Marone
“Life is nothing but a continuing dance
of birth and death, a dance of change.”

Buddhist Sogyal Rinpoche's
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying's quote

Danse Serpentine circa 1896

1891 - patents in stage lighting techniques
changed the colors of stage lights
used chemical mixes, gels and luminescent salts
transparent silk costumes against black backgrounds
improvisational techniques
The Birth of Modern Dance
Born at the turn of the 20th century,

rebellion against
Classical Ballet &



American - "mother of modern dance"
broke her corset , point shoes, tutu
danced barefoot in free form traditional Greek dresses
Death - broken neck resulting from her extremely long scarf getting caught while driving, in the wheel of her Bugatti sports car
Modern dance- fine art with a moral purpose interpreted through movement,
not necessarily for the sake of entertainment

Established a school of modern dance
The Isadorables
purchased Kopanos hill outside of Athens
-constructed dance stage

"The dancer's body is simply the luminous manifestation of the soul." - Isadora Duncan
"You were wild once. Don't let them tame you." __ Isadora Duncan
Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn
Ruth St. Denis

Ted Shawn

first prominent male modern dancer
Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers (Jacob's Pillow, Mass.)
1914 -St. Denis & Ted Shawn become dance partners, and marry shortly after

Delsarte influences
Bohemian culture
eastern spiritualism
Indian and Egyptian movements
famous for her performance
Autobiography An Unfinished Life

First official modern dance school and company which combined Duncan's influences with Transcendentalist environments, and St. Denis' eastern inspired movement and costumes
Focused on the basic human form by expending it with raw unmasked energy and passion
Book: Martha Graham
A Dancer's Life

the 2nd wave (First Generation) of Modern Dancers:
Martha Graham
Doris Humphrey
Charles Weidman
Lester Horton (Horton technique)
All along she had been striving to create a "uniquely American" style of dance. "The American dancer owes a duty to the American audience, " she said. "We must look to America to bring forth an art as powerful as the country itself."
During the 1930's she began to explore some of the forces that shaped American culture, expressing through dance what it was like to be an American and what America meant to her.
Danced Frontier for Eleanor and President Roosevelt
befriended the first lady

In Frontier, Martha Graham was seen "leaning against this fence with one foot planted firmly on the ground, the other lifted and placed high on the top of the fence rail. Dressed in a pioneer woman's homespun jumper, she began by rotating her torso, and as her head turned to scan the horizon, she broke out into a broad smile. In that smile was mirrored the promise that a frontierswoman saw as she looked over a vast new land. . . With that smile, Martha Graham invited us to step forward into a new dance experience that would change the coarse of theatre" and American history forever.
Classic Graham Works
Demonstrate the formation of the American Character through movement, historical facts and emotion
American Document

Appalachian Spring

Martha Graham's American Document

with Erick Hawkins
American Document was the most theatrical production Graham had ever attempted. A panoramic view of American History presented in the form of a minstrel show, the work featured familiar folk rhythms, colorful costumes, and readings from famous American texts. A narrator spoke lines from the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, Walt Whitman's poetry, and the Bible
Appalachian Spring
Appalachian spring takes place at a time when America was young, in the region where Martha spent her early years and where her Puritan ancestors first put down their roots.

Reminiscent of the end of The Searchers, Appalachian Spring depicts a pioneer celebration in spring as a bride and groom take possession of their newly built farmhouse.
Erick Hawkins played Martha's farmer husband, before their marriage took place in real life, and lasted for six years.
Raymond Pinto, @ PACC
Kyle Abraham
Kyle Abraham
Rena Butler
Le Petit Mort Jiří Kylián
Erick Hawkins and Martha Graham in American Document
Appalachian Spring expressed Graham's growing love for Hawkins and her love of expansive horizons, the American frontier.
Agnes de Mille (close friend of Martha's and prominent modern dancer), called Spring, " a love letter, a dance of hope, budding fresh and beautiful."
Martha with revivalist preacher (Merce Cunningham)
Modern Dance Today

This project is a tribute to the legacy of Martha Graham and Erick Hawkins, may your legacies live on forever.
Full transcript