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Dance Professional & Educator

Dance Professional & Educator

Dance Professional & Educator Dance Professional & Educator Dance Professional & Educator

Martha Graham's "Steps-in-the-Street": The Discovery & Reconstruction

  

In 1982, as a doctoral candidate at New York University, I discovered a rare film illustrating Martha Graham's choreographic masterpiece, Steps-in-the-Street (1936). From 1937-1986 the dance was abandoned from Graham's repertory. My endeavor was to re-introduce the work back into Graham's repertory by reconstructing the unique historic choreography since its exclusion in 1937. Although this effort was not originally supported by the artist or institution at first, Graham's approval inevitably was secured. Because Graham's long time wishes that her works from the past be destroyed, I was encouraged strongly and with much excitement by current and former Graham dancers to keep my project in secrecy, which I did. A successful reconstruction was dependent on a version that resembled closest to artistic authenticity as Graham had intended.  Upon the reconstruction completion, the newer dance version reflected its original dancing execution, as viewed and identified in the original film. This was the first time Steps-in-the-Street was reconstructed since the discovery of the film.  A later version was prepared by Martha Graham and protegee and is highlighted in the Martha Graham repertory and performed world-wide to enthusiastic audiences. This reconstruction fulfilled my doctoral dissertation requirement.