Disc 1 (ca. 48 min.). Beate Gordon introduces the seminar, 60 years of Graham technique, and speaks about Martha Graham's illustrious career including her support of Asian artists; Francis Mason speaks about Graham as a great choreographer, teacher, and dancer; the nature of the current seminar and how it will be conducted; introduces the [first group of] speakers: Dorothy Bird, Anna Sokolow, Ailes Gilmour, Sophie Maslow, Jean Erdman, Marie Marchowsky, Jane Dudley, and Lily Mehlman; Mason reads aloud Gertrude Shurr's reminiscences about Graham and Louis Horst including her first classes for adults and Shurr's description of the development and codification of Graham technique including her first use of contraction and release; Dorothy Bird speaks about her classes with Graham in Seattle, Wash. in which Graham worked out choreography for the dance interludes in the play Seven against Thebes [Bird has two dancers demonstrate aspects of what she learned in connection with the choreography for Seven against Thebes, accompanied by her comments]; Anna Sokolow reminsces about first meeting Graham and Horst and how revelatory their classes were. [Ends abruptly but continues directly on disc 2.]
Disc 2 (ca. 45 min.). Anna Sokolow concludes her remarks; Ailes Gilmour speaks, briefly, about her background and about taking classes with Martha Graham at the Neighborhood Playhouse and joining her company [Martha Graham Dance Company] in 1929; working on Graham's works Heretic, Primitive mysteries, and Dark meadow; the many collaborations between her brother Isamu Noguchi, and Graham; their performances at Radio City Music Hall; [slides based on photographs taken by Barbara Morgan in 1938 are shown accompanied by Francis Mason's identification of the subjects]; [Elena Mannes reads aloud the reminiscences of her mother, Evelyn Sabin, about taking classes with Martha Graham]; Sophie Maslow reminisces about taking class with Graham; [students demonstrate movements Maslow had learned from Graham, accompanied by piano music and Maslow's comments]; Jean Erdman reminsces about her classes with Graham and other members of her company; joining the company and her first performance; Graham and the use of turn-out; Marie Marchowsky reminisces about classes with Graham and with Horst, and Graham technique; the effect of the introduction of men into the company.
Disc 3 (ca. 25 min.). Jane Dudley reminsces about Martha Graham and her early performances; Lily Mehlman speaks about Graham and Leonide Massine and Massine's Le sacre du printemps [The rite of spring]; Sophie Maslow speaks, briefly, about teaching Graham technique in Israel; [film excerpts made in 1934 and 1938 at Bennington College are shown with commentary by Dorothy Bird; short gap followed by a live performance of Graham's work Celebration accompanied by piano music].
Disc 4 (ca. 48 min.). Francis Mason introduces the afternoon session of the seminar and the speakers including Yuriko, Helen McGehee, Douglass Watson, Mark Ryder, Stuart Hodes, Ted Dalbotten, David Wood, and Pearl Lang; Yuriko reminisces about Martha Graham including first seeing Graham and her company perform as well as her first performances with the company; speaks about Graham technique including different kinds of contractions and various positions Graham required of her dancers; Helen McGehee speaks about dancing in Graham's company including certain aspects of the techniques employed for particular roles; Douglass Watson reminisces about his brief experience as a dancer in Graham's company and how Graham's technique has helped him as an actor including examples from the plays Antony and Cleopatra and Richard III; Mark Ryder reminisces about his experience as a dancer in Graham's company including his observations about falls being only to the left and the change over time in the female dancers' bodies; Stuart Hodes speaks about his experience as a dancer in Graham's company including his reading aloud his description, which he had written earlier, of an advanced class he took in 1947. [Ends abruptly but continues directly on disc 5.]
Disc 5 (ca. 49 min.). [Reiteration of last ca. 90 sec. of disc 4]; Ted Dalbotten tells several anecdotes arising from classes with Graham at the Neighborhood Playhouse; David Wood speaks about Graham's choreography and male dancers primarily with reference to various specific works; Francis Mason introduces Pearl Lang; Lang speaks about Graham and Graham technique based on her experience as a dancer in Graham's company; [Lang has a dancer demonstrate four movements from Graham's Night journey while commenting on them; Terese Capucilli performs Jocasta's solo from Night journey accompanied by what sounds like recorded music; ends abruptly but continues directly on disc 6].
Disc 6 (ca. 18 min.). This disc consists of the music accompanying performances of works by Martha Graham as they are being danced at the seminar, in each case introduced and briefly commented on by Pearl Lang: the recording begins with a continuation of the music playing at the end of disc 5 as accompaniment to Night journey; Lang also introduces and comments on Graham's Diversion of angels; excerpts from both Night journey and Diversion of angels are performed to musical accompaniment.
Disc 7 (ca. 48 min.). Francis Mason introduces Diane Gray, director of the Martha Graham school [Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance]; Gray leads a class of students from the school who demonstrate various aspects of Graham technique, with piano accompaniment [gap]; Mason, as moderator, introduces the participants in the panel discussion: Thea Nerissa Barnes, Lyndon Branaugh, Christine Dakin, Peggy Lyman, Peter Sparling, Janet Eilber, Takako Asakawa, and Diane Gray; Mason states the first topic for discussion by the panel: Graham technique as a technique or system that is the equal in formality to the system of ballet technique. [Ends abruptly; discussion continues on disc 8.]
Disc 8 (ca. 40 min.). Continuation of the panel disusion of Graham's technique and ballet technique; Francis Mason states the second topic for discussion, which is then taken up by the panel: how roles were learned in the past and how they are learned now; Mason states a third topic, which is taken up by one of the panelists [Peter Sparling?], namely the use by choreographers on the panel of Graham technique in their work [end of panel discussion; short gap]; Mason speaks with a group of children at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance about their experience as students there and their response to the demonstrations at the seminar; [final ca. 13 min. of recording consists of a performance of an excerpt, Helios, from Graham's work Acts of light, to the accompaniment of what sounds like recorded music].
For a partial, edited transcript of the recording, which includes the remarks of Beate Gordon, Gertrude Shurr, Dorothy Bird, Anna Sokolow, Lily Mehlman, Ailes Gilmour, Evelyn Sabin, Sophie Maslow, Jean Erdman, Maria Marchowsky, Jane Dudley, Helen McGehee, Douglass Watson, Mark Ryder, David Wood, Takako Asakawas, and Peter Sparling as well as brief biographical sketches of all but Gordon, Asakawa, and Sparling, see: *MGZMT 3-1240. The transcript was not created by the Jerome Robbins Dance Division and may contain mistranscriptions and misspellings.
For a related book see Martha Graham: the evolution of her dance theory and training 1926-1991, compiled by Marian Horosko, c1991, cataloged under the call number *MGYB (Graham) 91-2183. An article about the seminar by Anna Kisselgoff was published in The New York Times on May 29, 1988.
Marchowsky, Marie, 1916-1997. Speaker
Dalbotten, Ted. Speaker
Lang, Pearl, 1921-2009. Speaker
Hodes, Stuart. Speaker
Ryder, Mark, 1921-2006. Speaker
McGehee, Helen. Speaker
Yuriko, 1920-2022, speaker.
Gordon, Beate. Speaker
Mason, Francis. Speaker
Sokolow, Anna, speaker.
Bird, Dorothy, 1912-1996. Speaker
Gilmour, Ailes. Speaker
Mannes, Elena. Speaker
Maslow, Sophie. Speaker
Erdman, Jean. Speaker
Dudley, Jane. Speaker
Watson, Douglass, 1921-1989. Speaker
Wood, David, 1925-2002. Speaker
Eilber, Janet. Speaker
Sparling, Peter. Speaker
Dakin, Christine. Speaker
Branaugh, Lyndon. Speaker
Lyman, Peggy. Speaker
Asakawa, Takako. Speaker
Barnes, Thea. Speaker
Gray, Diane, 1941- Speaker
Mehlman, Lily. Speaker