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Martha Graham: American Original [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]


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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details) Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.

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Martha Graham: American Original [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] + Criterion Collection: Martha Graham - Dance on [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] + Martha Graham: The Evolution of Her Dance Theory and Training
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Product details

  • Format: Black & White, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Kultur Video
  • DVD Release Date: 30 July 2002
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006G8HJ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,432 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By a nice guy on 8 Nov. 2008
Format: DVD
This DVD is divided into three sections. The first is Martha Graham talking about her art and shows some of her students performing in the studio. The second and third chapters are two dances with Martha herself dancing in them. Although aging a little by this time her performances stand out for their simplicity and dignity. The choreography is fresh and very beautiful.

The third chapter is Appalachian Spring, a ballet with a score written by Copland specially for Graham's use. The simple setting is used to the full by Graham in her choreography, the dancing is excellent by all involved and of course the music is marvellous.

Dance rarely transforms well to televisual recording but somehow it works well here. As a historical document this should be on every collector's shelf. As a piece of art in its own right it also deserves to be watched. I personally found it very moving and interesting at the same time. I am sure that any fan of 'modern dance' will agree.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Dec. 2004
Format: DVD
You either love or hate Martha Graham's movement style, but either way, if you like dance, it is invaluable to see the 'mother' of modern dance perform.
If you are studying dance or performance art, Martha Graham is always going to be referred to, and as there are very few records of her in dance available to buy, this adds great value to this DVD. I have found it to be very useful, especially as it has two of her most referred to dances from her two different choreographic periods on it. Great resource material!
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By Lorna on 11 April 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It was a rarity I am very pleased to now own. It was educational and inspirational and picked me back up when my own choreographing started to get a bit tedious. It came in good time and quality :)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 15 reviews
53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Martha Graham is always breathtaking 1 Aug. 2001
By Dr. Lee D. Carlson - Published on Amazon.com
This videotape is a tribute to one of the greatest dancers and choreographers of the 20th century. It is done in black and white and actually, this makes it even better, for it serves to concentrate attention on the dance forms and the many abstractions that so characterize the Graham technique. There are three parts of the tape: 1. "A Dancer's World", which is 30-minutes long and shows Graham and her company demonstrating dance expression and techniques. Viewers can see Graham in the dressing room, in the studio, and dancing herself. 2. "Night Journey", which is my all time favorite piece by Graham. Graham dances the part of Jocasta, Paul Taylor as Tiresais, and Bertram Ross as Oedipus. 3. "Appalachian Spring", which is the most popular of Graham's works, is accompanied by the music of Aaron Copland.
All of the parts exemplify the mystery and majesty of this pioneer of modern dance. Graham is unrelenting in her expression, things are never subtle in her dances, and she always (delightfully) comes across with an overabundance of passion. Given the length of time she actually performend on stage, one can only feel a deep sense of respect and awe at this incredible woman.
43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Poor DVD transfer! 27 Dec. 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
While it's wonderful to have this document of some of Martha Graham's most famous work available on DVD, something must have gone awry in the digital transfer. There are a number of moments in "Appalachian Spring," for example, where the visual image suddenly slows down for a few seconds, and then slips into a sort of "fast forward" mode to catch back up to the music. I don't believe this can be a flaw in only my copy.
These problems didn't exist in the wonderful 1995 Voyager release on laser disc of the same films, "Martha Graham Dance on Film." And unfortunately the added features and commentaries included on the laser disc (audio commentaries, interviews with some of Graham's dancers, and with Aaron Copland, etc.) didn't make it to the DVD. Too bad!
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Dance as the Hidden Language of the Soul 21 July 2005
By Nicholas Croft - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Martha Graham is commonly recognized as one of the most important contributors to the art of American dance during this past century. She realized significant innovations in the fields of choreography, dance performance, lighting, stage design, costuming and also commissioned new music from contemporary composers for her various works.

Graham was born in Pennsylvania in 1894. In 1910, she witnessed a performance by Ruth Saint-Denis and decided that she wanted to become a dancer. After some preliminary theater and dance studies at the University of Cumnoch, in 1916 Graham enrolled in the Denishawn School, run by Ruth Saint-Denis and Ted Shawn. For the next eight years, Graham thrived at Denishawn as both a student and an instructor. The Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance was opened in 1926 and by 1939, her modern dance company began touring the United States and Cuba. After some thirty years of prolific activity, at the age 76, Martha Graham announced her retirement from the performance stage.

This Kultur DVD, "Martha Graham: In Performance", features three works choreographed specifically for black and white film camera during the years 1957, 1961 and 1958. It begins with a 30-minute demonstration film, "A Dancer's World", where Ms. Graham introduces the viewer to her company and gives an intimate glimpse into the exercises that precede the performance of a dance piece.

Next come "Night Journey" and "Appalachian Spring", two different works of "dance for camera". Alexander Hammid, a husband of experimental filmmaker Maya Deren, directed "Night Journey". The camera is used as an integral component of the stage choreography; with different viewing angles and camera positions only being possible by staging particular short sequences within the choreography, then editing the segments together to form a smoothly flowing whole. "Appalachian Spring" is a cinematic interpretation for Graham's choreography of a Quaker wedding. It will likely remain as one of her best-remembered works.

All three films document well the signature Graham dance style that consists of abrupt contraction and release of different parts of the body; the intimate relation of the dancer's breathing to emotion and movement; positions of austere, angular body line; and close dancer proximity to the ground.

"Martha Graham: In Performance" is a film document of significant historical importance. Any self-respecting fan of dance should own a copy of this DVD to aid in their personal study, and reflection on, one of the great artist's of our time.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
wonderful! 28 Mar. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
The two dances and one personal account of a dancer's world included in this hour and a half long vido were amazing. Anyone who has heard of Martha Graham's revolutionary dancing but has never seen any of her work should see this- it is truly spectacular.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Taut economy and passion 7 Oct. 2007
By A. Solway - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
I should first declare an interest. Despite having been turned on to dance in the first place by the London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Martha Graham's British offshoot in the 1970s and 80s, I'm not a great Graham fan. Most of my objections I guess relate to the technique: I struggled with it for several years, but only really learned to dance once I threw Graham out of the window.

Having said that, the three films on this DVD offer a really fascinating insight into Graham's work from a particular moment in time (the late 1950s). At this time Graham's company did not have the international acclaim that came in the 1960s and 70s. Graham was still dancing major roles, but she was not at the height of her powers (she was in her early 60s).

The first work on the DVD is a film about the Company, in which Graham talks about her work (while getting ready for the role of Jocasta in Night Journey, the next piece on the DVD). It's interesting to hear Graham talk, to hear her ideas about theatre and dance, but otherwise this film is just a rather extended demonstration class.

Night Journey, the second piece, is more interesting. Here, Graham's age fits quite well with the role she plays - Jocasta, mother (and wife) of Oedipus in her final moments, just before she kills herself. I have always disliked the fact that Graham technique doesn't really allow a dancer to let movement flow through their body: the movement is first bottled up and then released in a great burst. However, when you see the technique used in Graham's own work, with its incredible economy, intensity and focus, you can see exactly why she danced like this.

The final piece on the DVD is Appalachian Spring, Graham's hymn to American freedom and the pioneer spirit with music by Aaron Copeland. This has always been one of my favourite Graham pieces, and this 1950s performance is great. Graham plays the young pioneer bride, which is slightly bizarre, but despite her age the performance is nothing short of astonishing. After Graham stopped dancing, her company changed somewhat in style, and the movement became softer and more fluid. However, in this performance, and in Night Journey, you can still see the angularity and jagged energy of her work, and how radically it differed from ballet. Appalachian Spring has all the taut economy and intensity of Night Journey, but it has less angst, more expansiveness, and quite a bit of humour. A wonderful finish to this fascinating DVD.
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