Doris Humphrey Essay

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QUESTION TWO: Describe how at least one major event in the era 1920-1960 is reflected through the work of Doris Humphrey. Use examples from her work to support your response. “I am neither Indian, nor Javanese, but American, and I want to dance what is appropriate for me.” These are the words of Doris Humphrey, showing that what she dances about are issues in America, and that she dances what Americans can understand and relate to. By studying her works we can see that there are various events that are reflected through her work. Events such as the changing roles of women, the Great Depression, and the change in the arts. These issues affected not only Doris Humphrey, but all Americans at the time. The early 1920s was a time of celebration for the Americans after coming back from war. This was also a very important time for women. Women had tasted power while the men were away at war and now that the men were back to take their jobs again, the women had to go back to working in the home. Most Women did not agree with this and began to voice their opinions, so did Doris Humphrey. Humphrey voiced her opinions through abstract movements known to us now as modern dance. Women won the right to vote in elections in 1917, setting the way for women in the 1920s to become more prominent in the public eye. These changing roles of women have been reflected in Humphrey’s choreography. Humphrey based her choreography on emotions and physical states. To base something purely on emotions is very feminine and by doing this Humphrey has shown that expressing emotion and being feminine is not a bad thing. An example of this femininity is seen in Air of the G String(1928). In this piece we see five women with heavy flowing fabric draped over them as if it were a toga. This flowing material matches the slow, continuos movements that the
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