What Martha Graham Character are You?
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Appalachian Spring tells the story of a young frontier couple on their wedding day. Created as the war in Europe was drawing to an end, the ballet captured the imagination of Americans who were beginning to believe in a more prosperous future. Themes from American folk culture can be found throughout the dance. Aaron Copland weaves a Shaker tune, “Simple Gifts,” throughout his luminous score, while Martha Graham’s choreography includes square dance patterns, skips and paddle turns and curtsies, even a grand right and left. The spare set by Isamu Noguchi features a Shaker rocking chair. With its tale of a new life in a new land, the dance embodies hope. Critics called Appalachian Spring “shining and joyous,” “a testimony to the simple fineness of the human spirit.”
Satyric Festival Song premiered in 1932 at the Guild Theater in New York City. The dance was inspired by American Indian Pueblo culture and the clowns who satirize and mock the sacred rituals. Set to a score by Fernando Palacios, with a costume designed by Martha Graham, the dance disappeared from the repertory for many years and was reconstructed by Diane Grey and Janet Eilber in 1994.
Cave of the Heart is a psychological study of the destructive powers of love, the dark passions that guard the human heart, coiled like a serpent ready to strike when attacked. Medea, princess of the kingdom of Colchis, was known as a sorceress. Pierced by Cupid’s bow, she fell in love with the adventurer Jason and used her magical powers to help him gain the Golden Fleece. Sacrificing all that was dear to her, she fled with him to his home in the kingdom of Corinth, where they lived as man and wife and had two small children. But Jason was ambitious, and when offered the Princess of Corinth in marriage, he abandoned Medea. This is the moment in which Martha Graham’s dance begins. Betrayed and exiled from her home, Medea plots a course that will end with the death of her rival, the Princess, and the murder of her own two children.