Martha Graham- Night Journey Essay

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Introduction: Night Journey is a powerful piece of work from one of America’s foremost modern choreographers, Martha Graham. Her works often had a strong emotive foundation. They concerned human experiences and deep emotions of the human heart (, 2006). Night Journey premiered on February the 28th 1947, in the Ziegfeld Theatre, New York. It is based on the Greek legend of Oedipus; a story where an Oracle prophesises that Oedipus (the son of King Laius and Queen Jocasta) would kill his father and marry his Mother. With this legend, Graham had the basis to compose one of her most emotionally charged works. As with many of her works, Graham manipulated the piece to make Jocasta the protagonist. She did this to allow the audience to focus entirely on the emotions being conveyed. Graham’s Night Journey tells of Jocasta’s destiny, the triumphal entry of Oedipus, their meeting, new love and intimacy and then their devastating discovery that their relationship is not of husband and wife, but actually of mother and son. Movement and non-movement components, motifs and symbols will be analysed in order to outline the emotions of devastation, love and hope of Jocasta’s inner core. Motif 1: Devolope In the beginning of the piece, Graham has used certain movement techniques in ways to communicate Jocasta’s lost and desperate need of help and guidance after the loss of her beloved husband. In particular, she performs very sharp, rigid and strong movements to suit and connect with the powerful music. A way to show that she feels lost and heartbroken is through rigid isolations of the chest and wrapping her hands tightly around her body and then releasing them with intense power. However, a particular repeated movement motif was a high devolope of the right leg (flexed foot), while throwing her head and arms towards the sky. After performing this step, she
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