Steps-in-the-Street (Martha Graham, 1936)



STEPS-IN-THE-STREET was one dance section (originally from six) from Graham's suite, CHRONICLE (1936).  STEPS-IN-THE-STREET was the only work that remained in Graham's repertory for many years during the '30s.  Graham eventually prohibited the work to be performed because a specific group of fans were identifying the work to  be pro-communist propaganda, which was furthest from the truth in Graham's concept and creation.  My discovery and reconstruction of this lost work transcends time since its inception, because of its powerful artistic message.  Today the work speaks to the many issues that affect one's life.

"Chronicle traces the ugly logic of imperialism (Spanish Civil War), the need for conquest, the inevitability of the conflict, the unavoidable unmasking of the rooted evil, and the approach of the masses to a logical conclusion. It shows the brutalizations of conquest, the hypocrisy of imperialism, the marching of men without cause, without direction, masking of the memory of conflict with memorials and the taut gathering of new energies and new forces."

          ~Martha Graham (1941)


Martha Graham's choreography of Steps-in-the-Street reflected the painful chaos and tragedy of Spanish civilians people being killed throughout the country.   Like Picasso's powerful painting, "Guernica", depicting the screams of defenseless civilians being murdered, Graham illustrated the relentless power of women as soldiers of the streets.  Although feeling vanquished for life the women were determined to march towards a hopeful future for democracy. The raging Spanish Civil war of 1936-1938 under the brutal military rule of General Francisco Franco who was eventually defeated. This period was  predicted and protested by many Artists of the day and Martha described the Rise and Fall  of Fascist Movements. A Movement  that even today we are doomed to repeat.  

The project for reconstruction for the closest  version of Graham's dance, Steps-in-the-Street, began in 1982, while working as a Teaching Fellow, as a doctoral student, at New York University, in the Department of Dance and Dance Education