Doris Humphrey

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Doris Humphrey

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Doris Humphrey is recognized worldwide as one of the founders of American modern dance. Her main to the technique of modern day dance lies in a unique approach to movement based on the fall and recovery of balance. Due to her great influence to the modern dance world, her work continues to be taught, and performed to this day. [pic]

Doris Humphrey spent the early years of her life studying and teaching dance in Chicago. In the year 1913, at the age of 19, she opened her first dance school. In 1917, she moved to California and studied, performed, taught classes, and learned choreography at the Denishawn School of Dancing and Related Arts. Her recognized creations from this era were: “Valse Caprice”, “Soaring”, and “Schero Waltz”.

In 1928, she separated from the Denishawn Dance School and moved to New York City. This is where she and fellow dancer, Charles Weidman, became key figures in the modern dance movement. [pic]

Humphrey’s choreography explored the degree of the human body’s response to gravity. This was exemplified in her major principle of fall and recovery. Early works included: “Water Study”, “Life of the Bee”, “Two Ecstatic Themes”, and “The Shakers”. Despite the “darkness” of the Great Depression, the Humphrey-Weidman Company remained successful. They toured America and developed new works and new styles that incorporated current events and concerns. [pic]

One of Humphrey’s last pieces, “Dawn in New York,” demonstrated strengths of her career. It displayed her emphasis on sculptural shapes and her mastery of the intricacies of large groups. [pic]

When physical disability, more specifically, arthritis, forced her to retire from her career as a dancer she accepted the position of artistic director for the Jose Limon Dance Company. Her three masterpieces were Ritmo Jondo, Day on Earth and Night Spell.

Doris Humphrey recorded the principles of dance in one of the best and...
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