Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring

by Jan Greenberg, Sandra Jordan, and Brian Floca

The collaboration of choreographer Martha Graham, composer Aaron Copland, and artist... read more

The collaboration of choreographer Martha Graham, composer Aaron Copland, and artist Isamu Noguchi to create the ballet “Appalachian Spring” melded distinctive individual creativity in a product that pushed the boundaries of the arts. Led by Martha Graham, the trio worked together in bringing to life “a story to be told in movement and music” about “a new home, a new family, a new life. A dance about America.” Never willing to settle for anything less than the perfection she imagined, Martha Graham rearranged Copland’s music to fit the dance, and spurred Noguchi to craft a set “spare and angular, like Martha’s way of dancing.” The story of the evolution of “Appalachian Spring” is followed by a description of the performance itself, as seen by audiences in its 1944 premiere. Clean watercolor illustrations and the judicious use of white space create an uncluttered visual accompaniment to the text, well-matched in style and substance. (Ages 7–11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2011

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