On 12 September 1968 the renowned dance photographer Jack Mitchell took ‘what would become a historic photo. It originally appeared in the Sunday New York Times on October 20 of the same year; it came to my attention when it ‘was republished in the December 2000 issue of Dance Magazine, in the Dancescape section. The photo shows a group of the old giants, middle forces, and young lions of American concert dance. Martha Graham, the doyenne, is seated in the center. She is encircled by Merce Cunningham, Erick Hawkins, and Paul Taylor on her right; the young and bony Yvonne Rainer diagonally behind her; Don Redlich and José Limón (who is clasping Graham’s left hand) to her left; and the young, chubby-faced Twyla Tharp diagonally in front of her. Anna Sokolow was the only invited choreographer who didn’t show up. The composition is a solemn, lovely study and, indeed, it is historically significant. This august tribe was heralded as part of the first full season of “modern dance” funded by one of the first big Ford Foundation grants. It’s a photograph of firsts, and these folks look as though they knew they were making history.
KeywordsBlack Body Racialized Soci Whiteness Study Dance Style White World
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