Letter to the World: The Life and Dances of Martha Graham

Trudy Garfunkel, Author
Trudy Garfunkel, Author Little Brown and Company $16.95 (92p) ISBN 978-0-316-30413-9
Hardcover - 92 pages - 978-0-7881-6064-6
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Garfunkel's (On Wings of Joy: The Story of Ballet from the 16th Century to Today) examination of the brilliant choreographer (and ``America's most renowned dancer'') is, in large part, a distillation of material found in Martha Graham's autobiographies. Employing a straightforward chronological approach, she traces Graham's life, from her sheltered childhood in the dreary coal town of Allegheny, Pa., through her unlikely entrance into professional study at the relatively advanced age of 22 and her subsequent extraordinary career in modern dance. Liberally sprinkled with photos of performances and personal moments, the book focuses on Graham's seemingly boundless determination to see her work performed and accepted by an often reluctant public. Much attention is given to the creation of specific Graham dances, with information on their staging, meanings and impact. While Garfunkel is an obvious Graham devotee, she includes frank if brief discussions of such subjects as Graham's alcoholism. Some readers may be overwhelmed by esoteric discussions of the beauty of dance and of Graham's unique style, but this volume otherwise affords a useful introduction to the dancer and the dance. Ages 10-up. (May)
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