In this remarkable DVD viewers will enjoy viewing dances of the most influential Modern Dance pioneers from the 1930s-1970s including: Mary Anthony, Ronne Aul, Talley Beatty, Valerie Bettis, Irving Burton, Jane Dudley, Jean Erdman, Eve Gentry, Joseph Gifford, Hadassah, Sophie Maslow, Donald McKayle, Daniel Nagrin, Pearl Primus, Anna Sokolow, Joyce Trisler, Charles Weidman.
The DVD includes such legendary dances as: “the solo Masterpiece of the decade”, THE DESPERATE HEART (1943) by Valerie Bettis, and the darkly dramatic LYNCHTOWN (1936) by one of the founders of Modern Dance, Charles Weidman. There are important choreographers who highlight the American black experience, such as the dancer anthropologist, Pearl Primus, who created a dramatization of a poem about the black experience in THE NEGRO SPEAKS OF RIVERS (1944). Donald Mc Kayle is featured in this DVD, as he portrayed the powerful black experience of chain gangs in RAINBOW ROUND MY SHOULDER (1959). Also featured are choreographers who are prominent in the dance history books, such as one of Modern Dances true mavericks, Anna Sokolow, whose dance, in this program, is LYRIC SUITE (1954). Daniel Nagrin’s extraordinary dance portrait of the swaggering STRANGE HERO (1948) is magnificently performed. Sophie Maslow, whose work is still being performed today in colleges and universities around the country, presents her joyful FOLKSAY (1942), which concludes the DVD. The diversity of artistic vistas and movement vocabularies in the GALA Concert provide an important panorama of Modern Dance in the 20th century.