Martha Graham’s Steps In The Streets

Subtitled “homelessness – devastation – exile,” Martha Graham’s 1936 dance Steps in the Streets depicts the aftermath of some terrible tragedy.  Images seen in the dance can easily be linked to contemporary displacement of people during the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province, China, ongoing fighting in Iraq, or the 2005 …

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The Search for Identity Through Movement: Pearl Primus’s The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Like Langston Hughes’s poem, Pearl Primus’s The Negro Speaks of Rivers is a meditation on the African diaspora. Primus’s dance evokes a sense of connection, pride, and strength among peoples of African descent. Students will identify the movements and gestures that help capture the choreographer’s ideas. Classroom Activities Discuss: Ask …

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The Search for Identity Through Movement: Martha Graham’s Frontier

Martha Graham’s Frontier, an early solo piece by the great choreographer, focuses on the frontier woman and the challenges of Westward Expansion. Graham’s innovative work utilized a minimalist set by Isamu Noguchi and music by Louis Horst to highlight the emotions and symbolism within the work. Classroom Activities Discuss: Ask the group what the …

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Creating American Identities

Historical Roots Who is an American? This question has been redefined throughout United States history. In the 16th century, an American was someone we would now call Native American. In the 17th century, Americans came to be people of European birth or ancestry living in the New World, especially people …

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