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Time is Money

Dance as agitational propaganda during the Depression era in the USA

Numeridanse.tv 2011 - Director : Hurwitz, Tom

Choreographer(s) : Dudley, Jane (Germany)

Present in collection(s): Numeridanse.tv

Video producer : DIEHL+RITTER ; TANZFONDS ; Victoria Phillips

en fr

Time is Money

Dance as agitational propaganda during the Depression era in the USA

Numeridanse.tv 2011 - Director : Hurwitz, Tom

Choreographer(s) : Dudley, Jane (Germany)

Present in collection(s): Numeridanse.tv

Video producer : DIEHL+RITTER ; TANZFONDS ; Victoria Phillips

en fr

Time is Money

Jane Dudley choreographed her modernist masterpiece, "Time is Money" in 1934. It was performed at the time in union halls or on concert stages. Dudley chose to use the eponymous poem by Communist writer Sol Funeroff, both as an inspiration and as a sound accompaniment for the dance.
While the play clearly evokes a denunciation of the oppression of the worker during the American Great Depression, it is also the representation of
intertwined relationships between the politicized artists of the time.
 

Sources: Texts from Victoria Phillips Geduld ; Dance Heritage Coalition
 

Dudley, Jane

Jane Dudley (1912-2001) began her dance training at the Mary Wigman School  under Hanya Holm and joined her troupe in 1931. Three years later Dudley  left for the New Dance Group (NDG), a Marxist-based organization that  used dance as agitational propaganda during the Depression era. Dudley  oversaw collective dances with titles such as Strike (1934), and  choreographed modernist solos, including Time is Money (1934), which  described the oppression of the worker. In 1935, she began to study with  Martha Graham, who had become a leader in what critics were calling the  modern American dance. Dudley joined the Graham company in 1935,  originating roles in Letter to the World (1940) and Deaths and Entrances  (1943). While working with Graham, Dudley choreographed one of her most  important works, Harmonica Breakdown (1938), which protested the  exploitation of African American sharecroppers. In 1942, she co-founded  the Dudley-Maslow-Bales Trio, which performed in New York and toured  throughout the United States. NDG President between 1950 and 1966, she  subsequently taught at Bennington College (1966-1968), served as  Artistic Director of the Batsheva Dance Group in Israel (1968-1970) and  directed the London School of Contemporary Dance (1970-2000).

Contributions to the Field and Modernism: Inspired by the devastation  of the Depression and her ties to leftist artists in theater, music,  writing, film, and photography, Dudley joined the New Dance Group in  1934.  A “choreographic collective” which experimented with agitprop  based on social realism and representational gesture, NDG produced dance  works originating in classes that combined technique, improvisation on  political themes, and Marxist readings. Students included both workers  and aspiring professionals. Using both types of dancers, Dudley directed  group works using narrative choreography with everyday movements to  incite revolutionary activities.
Critics had defined ‘modern dance’ as movement derived from the ‘inner  compulsion’ of the individual. To succeed, the choreographer had to  create the expression of a ‘universal’ human emotion through  abstraction. Dudley’s seminal works protested workers’ oppression while  addressing the corrupting influence of society on the individual.  Both  as a dancer and a choreographer, she remained committed to technical  skill, and the signature roles she created during her tenure with the  Graham company attested to her technical mastery.  Her most important  roles included Letter to the World (1940), with poetry by Emily  Dickinson, and one of the three female leads in Deaths and Entrances  (1943), inspired by the lives of the Brontë sisters.
In 1942, Dudley co-founded the Dudley-Maslow-Bales Trio, which presented  new choreography using modern dance technique. She retained her  dedication to both modern dance principles and the power of cooperative  work. The trio performed political works that protested racial  discrimination in the U.S. and fascism abroad; they also created popular  works that used fables, comedy, and celebrated the nation, such as As  Poor Richard Says (1943) and Furlough: A Boardwalk Episode (1945), which  celebrated soldiers and women who engaged in the war effort. Between  1950 and 1966, Dudley served as President of the New Dance Group, which  remained committed to radical ideology, however muted during the Cold  War, while showcasing NDG choreographers in group concerts on Broadway.  One such concert in the early 1950s featured Mary Anthony’s The Devil in  Massachussets (1952), which protested McCarthyism.

Legacy: Between 1938 and 1934, Dudley taught Graham technique at the  Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City. In late 1967, Dudley became  Artistic Director of the Batsheva Dance Company in Israel, where she  taught classes and set modern dance repertory on the company, and  inspired dancers to adopt a new approach to creative movement. In 1970  she became Director of the London School of Contemporary Dance. With her  mastery of the Holm and Graham movement systems, augmented by her own  choreographic craftsmanship and innovation, she became a seminal force  in the creation of what has come to be known as ‘contemporary dance’.  While ‘modern dance’ referred to a cutting-edge art which had been  codified, Dudley’s teaching and creative exploration, inspired in part  by post-modernist dance, influenced the emergence of revisionist  choreographic practices in Britain during the 1980s and 1990s. She took  part in performances that challenged the age boundaries of the  performing body and, until the end of her career, remained committed to  political theatre, portraying Mother Courage in a 1978 production of  Bertold Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children (1938).


Source: Text by Victoria Phillips Geduld

Hurwitz, Tom

Tom Hurwitz, ASC is one of America’s most honored documentary cinematographers. Winner  of two Emmy Awards, the Sundance and Jerusalem Film Festival Awards for  Best Cinematography, Hurwitz has photographed films that have won 4  academy awards and several more nominations. 

Source: Tom Hurwitz's website

More information: http://tomh.com

360° Dance Company

360° Dance Company was founded in 2007 by Martin Løfsnes, as a place for dance artists to grow,  experiment and expand their horizons, through presenting classic modern  dance works and contemporary commissions. Dance is a living art-form and  360 exists to be a part of connecting with our heritage as we move into  the future. Choreographing new works for 360° as well as licensing and  commissioning works by other contemporary artists, Martin, hopes to keep  developing his own artistic voice, while creating an exciting,  nourishing environment for dance artist at any stage of their careers.

Source : Kanopy Dance

Time is Money

Choreography : Jane Dudley

Interpretation : Erica Dankmeyer, Yuko Giannakis, Martin Løfnes

Lights : Ned Hallick

Sound : Peter Miller

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