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Martha Graham - An American Original in Performance


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Frequently Bought Together

Martha Graham - An American Original in Performance + Martha Graham Dance on Film (The Criterion Collection) + An Evening with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Price for all three: $57.84

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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kultur Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 30, 2002
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006G8HJ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,259 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

A true pioneer in the world of dance, Martha Graham became an American legend. The program is in three parts and highlights a fearless explorer and a passionate artist.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Lee D. Carlson HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 31, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This videotape is a tribute to one of the greatest dancers and choreographers of the 20th century. It is done in black and white and actually, this makes it even better, for it serves to concentrate attention on the dance forms and the many abstractions that so characterize the Graham technique. There are three parts of the tape: 1. "A Dancer's World", which is 30-minutes long and shows Graham and her company demonstrating dance expression and techniques. Viewers can see Graham in the dressing room, in the studio, and dancing herself. 2. "Night Journey", which is my all time favorite piece by Graham. Graham dances the part of Jocasta, Paul Taylor as Tiresais, and Bertram Ross as Oedipus. 3. "Appalachian Spring", which is the most popular of Graham's works, is accompanied by the music of Aaron Copland.
All of the parts exemplify the mystery and majesty of this pioneer of modern dance. Graham is unrelenting in her expression, things are never subtle in her dances, and she always (delightfully) comes across with an overabundance of passion. Given the length of time she actually performend on stage, one can only feel a deep sense of respect and awe at this incredible woman.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 27, 2003
Format: DVD
While it's wonderful to have this document of some of Martha Graham's most famous work available on DVD, something must have gone awry in the digital transfer. There are a number of moments in "Appalachian Spring," for example, where the visual image suddenly slows down for a few seconds, and then slips into a sort of "fast forward" mode to catch back up to the music. I don't believe this can be a flaw in only my copy.
These problems didn't exist in the wonderful 1995 Voyager release on laser disc of the same films, "Martha Graham Dance on Film." And unfortunately the added features and commentaries included on the laser disc (audio commentaries, interviews with some of Graham's dancers, and with Aaron Copland, etc.) didn't make it to the DVD. Too bad!
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Croft on July 21, 2005
Format: DVD
Martha Graham is commonly recognized as one of the most important contributors to the art of American dance during this past century. She realized significant innovations in the fields of choreography, dance performance, lighting, stage design, costuming and also commissioned new music from contemporary composers for her various works.

Graham was born in Pennsylvania in 1894. In 1910, she witnessed a performance by Ruth Saint-Denis and decided that she wanted to become a dancer. After some preliminary theater and dance studies at the University of Cumnoch, in 1916 Graham enrolled in the Denishawn School, run by Ruth Saint-Denis and Ted Shawn. For the next eight years, Graham thrived at Denishawn as both a student and an instructor. The Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance was opened in 1926 and by 1939, her modern dance company began touring the United States and Cuba. After some thirty years of prolific activity, at the age 76, Martha Graham announced her retirement from the performance stage.

This Kultur DVD, "Martha Graham: In Performance", features three works choreographed specifically for black and white film camera during the years 1957, 1961 and 1958. It begins with a 30-minute demonstration film, "A Dancer's World", where Ms. Graham introduces the viewer to her company and gives an intimate glimpse into the exercises that precede the performance of a dance piece.

Next come "Night Journey" and "Appalachian Spring", two different works of "dance for camera". Alexander Hammid, a husband of experimental filmmaker Maya Deren, directed "Night Journey".
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
The two dances and one personal account of a dancer's world included in this hour and a half long vido were amazing. Anyone who has heard of Martha Graham's revolutionary dancing but has never seen any of her work should see this- it is truly spectacular.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Solway on October 6, 2007
Format: DVD
I should first declare an interest. Despite having been turned on to dance in the first place by the London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Martha Graham's British offshoot in the 1970s and 80s, I'm not a great Graham fan. Most of my objections I guess relate to the technique: I struggled with it for several years, but only really learned to dance once I threw Graham out of the window.

Having said that, the three films on this DVD offer a really fascinating insight into Graham's work from a particular moment in time (the late 1950s). At this time Graham's company did not have the international acclaim that came in the 1960s and 70s. Graham was still dancing major roles, but she was not at the height of her powers (she was in her early 60s).

The first work on the DVD is a film about the Company, in which Graham talks about her work (while getting ready for the role of Jocasta in Night Journey, the next piece on the DVD). It's interesting to hear Graham talk, to hear her ideas about theatre and dance, but otherwise this film is just a rather extended demonstration class.

Night Journey, the second piece, is more interesting. Here, Graham's age fits quite well with the role she plays - Jocasta, mother (and wife) of Oedipus in her final moments, just before she kills herself. I have always disliked the fact that Graham technique doesn't really allow a dancer to let movement flow through their body: the movement is first bottled up and then released in a great burst. However, when you see the technique used in Graham's own work, with its incredible economy, intensity and focus, you can see exactly why she danced like this.

The final piece on the DVD is Appalachian Spring, Graham's hymn to American freedom and the pioneer spirit with music by Aaron Copeland.
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