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The Doris Humphrey Legacy: Two Ecstatic Themes

Coaching, Analysis & Performance

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The Doris Humphrey Legacy: Two Ecstatic Themes


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Choreography by Doris Humphrey
Performed by Sarita Smith-Childs
Music by Nikolai Karolovich Medtner
and Gian Francesco Malipiero
Analysis and Coaching by Ernestine Stodelle

This double solo, Circular Descent and Pointed Ascent, forms an unusually pure example of modern dance.

In Circular Descent, voluptuous circuitous circling conveys a strong woman’s reluctant yielding to a powerful force.

No sooner does she fall than she begins her Pointed Ascent, sharply jutting out an elbow or knee, gathering her weight to conclude at the triumphant vertical. This 1931 work is a reference is to Humphrey’s inner feelings about her courtship and, later, marriage while remaining an independent artist.

As she was to say: “I am an artist first, and afterwards a woman.” 

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