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Title: The work (1935-1948) of Martha Graham (1894-1991), with particular reference to an analysis of her movement system : vocabulary and syntax
Author: Bannerman, Henrietta
ISNI:       0000 0001 3443 1771
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1998
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The thesis considers the work of the American choreographer Martha Graham (1894-1991). The analytical procedure used in the examination of her movement system follows Ferdinand de Saussure, Charles Peirce and Roland Barthes and the developments that they brought about in the field of linguistics and cultural criticism. By focusing on a particular period of Graham's work, 1935-1948, the thesis demonstrates that methods evolved in these areas can be adapted usefully for dance. The study also draws on existing dance scholarship particularly in the area of morphological movement analysis. The methodological model is demonstrated through an analysis of Diversion of Angels (1948). The examination of the solo for the woman in white from Diversion of Angels is made in the context of the dance as a whole and in relation to the methodological model developed. The solo is read from the point of view of practical experience in Graham's work and from having analysed the dance on films and videos and in live performances. The background from which Graham's work emerged is discussed and an overview of her creative development is made. An analysis of Frontier (1935) tests the theoretical model in accounting for the development of narrative in Graham's dances. The analysis is followed by an exploration of the issue of meaning and its mutability over time and across various works in Graham's repertory. An analysis of Night Journey (1947) tests the methodology against a dance where costume, props and sculpture are integrated into the movement system. The findings of this analysis support the theoretical approach used in the thesis. The study emphasises the changes over time in Graham's movement system and in the final chapter, particular reference is made to the variable nature of her movement vocabulary. Whilst Graham classwork is not addressed here in detail, there is discussion of movements that have been lost as well as those that have become familiar trademarks of her movement system, developed from and incorporated into her classwork.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Literature