Martha Graham: Movement Never Lies A PowerPoint Presentation Created by: Karen M. Barako
Class Outline Introduction (2 mins) Antigone Summary/Exercise/Discussion (7 mins) Video Clip: “Night Journey”/Discussion (4 mins) Martha Graham Intro/Review/Innovations (7 mins) Noguchi/Copland Background (2 mins) Video Clip: “Appalachian Spring”/Discussion (4 mins) Discussion (4 mins)
Class Aims To discover general background information on Antigone,Martha Graham and her innovations, Isamu Noguchi, and Aaron Copland. To make connections between literature, sculpture, music and the body in motion. To analyze gestures and other art forms that convey emotions, and the level of effectiveness at which those emotions are conveyed.
Key Terms/Concepts Antigone by Sophocles Martha Graham “Contraction and release” method Isamu Noguchi Aaron Copland Synthesis of arts To be reviewed soon…
Antigone by: Sophocles **Characters** Antigone—daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta Ismene—sister of Antigone Kreon—king of Thebes, brother of Jocasta Haiman—son of Kreon and Eurydice, fiancé of Antigone Teiresias—the prophet Eurydice—wife of Kreon Sentry Messenger Koryphaios—chorus leader Chorus—of elderly Theban nobles Attendants, armed slaves, boy
Antigone (2): A Brief Overview Antigone confesses to her sister, Ismene, that she will bury her brother, Polynices, despite the edict issued by King Kreon stating that he is not to be buried on account of betraying his country. Antigone believes it is not a matter of the mortals to decide what happens to either of her brothers’ bodies. She is caught burying Polynices and is sentenced by Kreon to be burned alive, despite her betrothal to his son Haimon. When Teiresias convinces Kreon that the gods are on Antigone's side, he changes his mind, but it is too late. He goes to bury Polynices and finds Antigone has hanged herself. Haimon then attacks Kreon and kills himself. When the news of their death is reported, Kreon's wife, Eurydice takes her own life, leaving Kreon all alone.
Antigone (3) **Improv Exercise** Volunteers!!! Turn to p. 62-3 WHAT KIND OF EMOTIONS DID TEIRESIAS EVOKE THROUGH HIS/HER MOVEMENTS??? Since it was written in 441 B.C., Antigone by: Sophocles has been a symbol for individual conscience against unjust laws.
Video Clip—Martha Graham’s Night Journey Let’s see what Martha Graham’s Teiresias does…
Discussion Questions What kind of emotions do Teiresias and Jocasta convey in Martha Graham’s dance? How do the dancers convey these emotions?
Possible Answer Through their urgent and semi-jarring movements, the dancers convey emotions of alarm, warning and very strong dismay. Martha Graham’s Lamentations
Martha Graham Born May 11, 1894 in Allegheny, PA 1916--Joins Denishawn dance troupe 1923—Took a job with Greenwich Village Follies & taught dance 1929--Launches her own company in NYC 1930s—Identifies new system of movement: “contract and release” 1935-Establishes school of modern dance at Bennington College
Review Question What impact did Martha Graham’s “contract and release” method have on her dancers? How did this compare with other dancers such as Isadora Duncan or Ruth St. Denis?
Answer This method of muscle control gave Graham’s dancers a hard, angular look. This was very unfamiliar to dance audiences used to the smooth, lyrical bodily movements of Duncan and St. Denis. Some of the first reviews of her dancing called it “ugly.”
Martha Graham (2) Early 1930s—work based on emotional themes (Lamentation) 1944--Choreographs Appalachian Spring as part of American history theme; works with Isamu Noguchi and Aaron Copland 1968--Gives last stage performance at age 74 1976--Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom 1991--Dies on April 1 in NYC
Martha Graham (3) **Innovations** Graham’s movement system and her theory of contraction and release are central to the development of modern dance in the U.S. Graham was the first modern dance choreographer to fully use collaborations with other modern artists to create her dance theatre masterpieces. Her collaboration with Isamu Noguchi and Aaron Copland in “Appalachian Spring,” for example, remains one of the dance’s great masterpieces. Some important works:
Isamu Noguchi Sculptor, designer, architect, craftsman Born in Los Angeles in 1904 to Irish-American father and Japanese mother Interested in Surrealism and abstract sculpture— earned himself a Guggenheim Fellowship Interested in the way people live and thrive in their environments—explored this through set design for Martha Graham Died December 1988 at age of 84
Aaron Copland Born in Brooklyn in 1900 Learned piano from his older sister; studied in Manhattan until the age of 20 when he left to study in Fontainebleau, France Late 1920s--turned his attention to the music of other countries, especially Mexican folk music Composed ballets (inc. Martha Graham) and movies, as well as conducted, taught and wrote Died in New York in 1990 Classical composer— incorporated jazz and folk into his compositions Some important works:
Video Clip—Martha Graham’s Appalachian Spring Let’s check out a clip of Martha, Isamu, and Aaron in action together!
Discussion Question Why is Martha Graham’s collaboration with Isamu Noguchi and Aaron Copland so notable?
Possible Answer Graham, Noguchi and Copland’s collaboration is notable because not only were her spastic movements revolutionary, but the sparse scultped backdrops revolutionized set design, and Copland’s music was Pulitzer Prize winning for it’s neo-classical form All three were premier artists of their time who based their knowledge on the classical but pulled away to further express emotions Graham was the first choreo- grapher to fully collaborate with other modern artists.
Concluding Questions What is the overall connection between dance (the body in motion) and literature, sculpture and music? Why, for example, would Graham choose to dance “Night Journey” when a person could read the stories? Is one combination of arts more effective than the others? Why or why not? Is this combination only present in Modern dance like Graham’s, or is the synthesis of arts present in all dance?
Works Cited “Aaron Copland.” American Masters. http://www.pbs.org.wnet/americanmasters/dat abase/copland_a.html 1-2. http://www.pbs.org.wnet/americanmasters/dat abase/copland_a.html “Isamu Noguchi.” American Masters. http://www.pbs.org.wnet/americanmasters/dat abase/noguchi_I.html 1-2. http://www.pbs.org.wnet/americanmasters/dat abase/noguchi_I.html “Martha Graham.” Ch.3 The Modern Dancers. http://www.pitt.edu/~gillis/dance/martha.html 1-3. http://www.pitt.edu/~gillis/dance/martha.html Martha Graham: In Performance. Dance Series. Kultar:NewJersey. 93 mins.
Works Cited (2) Sophocles. Antigone. New York:Oxford. 1973. 1-101. “Sophocles:Antigone.” The Classics Page. http://www.users.global.co.uk/~loxias/antigon e.htm 1. http://www.users.global.co.uk/~loxias/antigon e.htm Teachout, Terry. “The Dancer Martha Graham.” Time. http://www.time.com/time/time100/artists/profi le/graham.html 1-3. http://www.time.com/time/time100/artists/profi le/graham.html