What a Beautiful documentary! ...done with admiration,
adoration,good taste and love... a remarkable service
to dance and the history of modern dance.
- Robert Lindgren
Founding Dean, North Carolina School of the Arts
Past President, School of American Ballet
A New Dance for America
The Choreography, Teachings and Legacy of Doris Humphrey
Narrated by Doris Humphrey, Lindsay Crouse, and Ina Hahn
Written and directed by Ina Hahn
Featuring rare archival footage of Doris Humphrey
and the Humphrey-Weidman Company
The story of the life and works of modern dance pioneer Doris Humphrey (1895-1958) is the focus of this documentary. It leads from her birth in Oak Park, Illinois, to growing up in a theatrical hotel in Chicago where she supported her parents as a dance teacher at the age of 18, the launch of her professional career in the Denishawn Company, establishing her own company with partner Charles Weidman, to serving as artistic director and choreographer for José Limón. Historical and contemporary performance excerpts cover the span of her career from her earliest composition, Valse Caprice (1920), to her last, Brandenberg Concerto (1958), and represent some of her finest pieces such as Soaring, Passacaglia in C Minor, New Dance and Day on Earth.
Attention has been paid to placing her growth as a dance artist and her contribution to the development of modern dance within the context of twentieth century history. Interviews with former dancers who worked with her and with her son complete the picture of this indomitable woman who, along with Charles Weidman and Martha Graham, forged a new art form growing out of the national experience of pioneering, freedom of expression, wide open spaces and democratic values.
80 min., color and b&w, 2010
Doris Humphrey Technique: The Creative Potential
Written, Directed and Hosted by Ernestine Stodelle
Photographs by Barbara Morgan
Sponsored and Produced by the Doris Humphrey Society
With Four Early Humphrey Dances:
Quasi-Valse • Two Ecstatic Themes • Etude Patetico
Air for the G String (1934) with Doris Humphrey
In this essential DVD for understanding the Humphrey style, Stodelle presents a series of studies illustrating falls, turns, breath rhythm, successional flow, leaps, circular swings, and leverage. She provides commentary for a clip from the 1936 silent film on the technique as well as for a sequence of photographs by Barbara Morgan. Because the technique is closely linked to the choreography, the three early dances Stodelle has reconstructed serve as examples of the technique’s use in composition. The DVD concludes with the 1934 film Air for the G String with Doris Humphrey performing the central role.