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The early years: Martha Graham and modernism
Jowitt, Deborah (Speaker)
Maslow, Sophie (Speaker)
Bird, Bonnie (Speaker)
O'Donnell, May, 1906-2004 (Speaker)
Bird, Dorothy, 1912- (Speaker)
Shurr, Gertrude (Speaker)
Ross, Patty Kerr (Director)
Labeille, Daniel (Producer)
Emshwiller, Ed (Videographer)
Early years, (1981 : Purchase, N.Y.) (Host)
State University of New York College at Purchase (Sponsor)

Early Years Collection

Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1981-04-10
Library locations
Jerome Robbins Dance Division
Shelf locator: *MGZIDF 3534
Shelf locator: *MGZIC 9-950 cassettes 26 and 27 (former)
Graham, Martha
Horst, Louis
Denishawn Dancers
Denishawn School of Dancing -- Los Angeles (Calif.)
Martha Graham Dance Company
Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre
Cornish Institute of Allied Arts (Seattle, Wash.)
Rite of spring (Choreographic work : Massine)
Primitive mysteries (Choreographic work : Graham)
Heretic (Choreographic work : Graham)
Lamentation (Choreographic work : Graham)
American document (Choreographic work : Graham)
Horizons (Choreographic work : Graham)
Celebration (Choreographic work : Graham)
Motion pictures -- Flute of Krishna (Choreographic work : Graham)
Panel discussions
Content: For a printed program of the festival, see *MGZB The early years (1981 : Purchase, N.Y.) [Programs].
Content: Video documentation of the festival The early years: American modern dance from 1900 through the 1930s, hosted by SUNY College at Purchase, New York, on April 9-12, 1981, under the sponsorship of State University of New York, University-Wide Programs in the Arts. Festival director: Patricia Kerr Ross. Video producer: Daniel Labeille.
Content: Videotaped on April 10, 1981 by Ed Emshwiller. Presentation on Martha Graham and modernism by Deborah Jowitt, with Sophie Maslow, Bonnie Bird, May O'Donnell, Dorothy Bird, and Gertrude Shurr. CONTENTS: Cassette 26 (approx. 60 min. total): Excerpt from a lecture by Deborah Jowitt, who examines Graham's studies and early career with Denishawn, the start of her independent career, and the change of sensibility that appears in her work of the 1930s (for example, Heretic). She compares Graham's The flute of Krishna (filmed in 1926) and Lamentation, and notes various thematic and technical changes and developments in her choreography. For the first part of this lecture, see: *MGZIDF 3520 reels 1 and 2 (formerly *MGZIC 9-950 cassette 6). -- Panel discussion moderated by Jowitt, with Maslow, Bonnie Bird, O'Donnell, Dorothy Bird, and Shurr. This discussion continues on cassette 27 (approx. 22 min.). The panelists, all of whom danced with Graham in the 1930s, reminisce about their early dance training and first contacts with Graham. They go on to discuss the various influences on her choreography, the interchange between the development of her technique and her choreography, and her interactions with her dancers in class, rehearsal, and performance. Maslow and Bonnie Bird describe Graham's Primitive mysteries, American document, Celebration, and Horizons. In conclusion, Shurr relays a message from Graham. The opening of the panel is cut off, as is part of O'Donnell's first commentary; for the missing material, see: *MGZIDF 3520 reels 1 and 2 (formerly *MGZIC 9-950 cassette 6). Brief gap in recording between cassettes 26 and 27; for this material, see: *MGZIDF 3520 reels 3 and 4 (formerly *MGZIC 9-950 cassette 7).
Physical Description
Extent: 1 videocassette (U-matic) (82 min.) : sound, color ; 3/4 in.
Type of Resource
Moving image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b12170863
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 1b1cfd20-3147-0132-e525-3c075448cc4b
Rights Statement
The copyright and related rights status of this item has been reviewed by The New York Public Library, but we were unable to make a conclusive determination as to the copyright status of the item. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use.

Item timeline of events

  • 1981: Created
  • 2024: Found by you!
  • 2025

MLA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "The early years: Martha Graham and modernism" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1981.

Chicago/Turabian Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "The early years: Martha Graham and modernism" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 21, 2024.

APA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. (1981). The early years: Martha Graham and modernism Retrieved from

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (moving image) The early years: Martha Graham and modernism, (1981)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=February 21, 2024 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>

The early years: Martha Graham and modernism