The Shakers represents the Shaker sect at meeting and is a study of religious ecstasy.
The drum, accordian and voice accompaniment was arranged after the dance had been composed. « God hath revealed », the Shakers say, « that eternal life shall be the reward of the Chosen few who are shaken clean of sin. »
The dance opens with men and women kneeling in a square formation before the platform where the Elders sits.
As religious excitement seizes them, the square begins to break until the peak of excitement is reached in the leaping wich shakes away their sins.
The dance is punctuated with several intervals of silence whie the Shakers receive some visitation from the Invisible Spirit.
This is the first dance of its kind to be based on an American religious sect.
Source: Program note March 14-15, 1935, Doris Humphrey & Charles Weidmanand their dance group – Repertory Theatre, Boston
Doris Humphrey was born in Oak Park, Illinois, in 1895 and grew up in Chicago. Her father operated a residence home for vaudeville performers called the Palace Hotel, and her mother offered piano lessons. As a girl, Humphrey studied piano, ballet, ballroom dance, Americanized Delsarte and Dalcroze's system of Eurythmics. A talented dancer, she began teaching ballet and interpretive dance to children when she was 15. During the next few years, Humphrey traveled the Santa Fe railroad line with a variety troupe, giving performances to railroad employees of her home-made aesthetic dances and Spanish numbers. When she returned home to Oak Park she began her own studio with her mother as accompaniest and business manager.
By 1931, the Humphrey and Weidman companies and their joint studio/school were firmly established in New York City. With Graham, Humphrey was considered by most critics to be a primary innovator of the new modern dance. Her theory of "fall and recovery"-- and the technique that sprang from it--was the foundation of her teaching method and her choreography. Underlying it, according to Humphrey, was the German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche's idea about the split in the human psyche between each person's Apollonian side (rational, intellectual) and our Dionysian side (chaotic, emotional). The true essence of the modern dance was the movement that happened in between these extremes, which Humphrey labeled "the arc between two deaths."
Source: University of Pittsburg
Amy Reusch is an American director. She directed the whole shows which compose the DVD serie called "The Doris Humphrey Legacy".
Choreography : Doris Humphrey
Interpretation : The Doris Humphrey Workshop Dancers
Production / Coproduction of the video work : Dance Horizons Video
Princeton Book Co. Publishers
Specialists in the publishing and distribution of dance books and dance videos for over 35 years, with a list of over 500 dance related titles. We publish under the imprint Dance Horizons and distribute for The Dance Notation Bureau and Dance Books Ltd. In March of 2000 we launched a new imprint to publish books of general interest, Elysian Editions, with The Magic Of Provence: Pleasures of Southern France by Yvone Lenard. Visit our Elysian Editions pages to see Ms. Lenard's books as well as other titles under this imprint.
Source: Princeton Book Co. Publishers
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