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Golden Hour Books

Errand Into the Maze: The Life and Works of Martha Graham by Deborah Jowitt (1/30/24)

Errand Into the Maze: The Life and Works of Martha Graham by Deborah Jowitt (1/30/24)

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The definitive biography of the visionary dancer and choreographer Martha Graham.

In the pantheon of American modernists, few figures loom larger than Martha Graham. One of the greatest choreographers ever to live, Graham pioneered a revolutionary dance technique—primal, dynamic, and rooted in the emotional life of the body—that upended traditional vocabulary and shaped generations of dancers and choreographers across the globe. Over her sweeping career, she founded what is now the oldest dance company in the country and produced nearly two hundred ballets, many of them masterpieces. And along the way, she engaged with the major debates, events, and ideas of the twentieth century, creating works that cut to the core of the human experience. Time magazine’s “Dancer of the Century,” and the first dancer and choreographer to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Graham was a visionary artistic force and an international cultural figure: hers was the iconic face of what came to be known as modern dance.

From the renowned dance writer and former longtime critic for The Village Voice Deborah Jowitt, Errand into the Maze draws on more than a decade of firsthand research to deliver the definitive portrait of this titan. Beginning with Graham’s childhood in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, and her early studies at the Denishawn School; weaving in her offstage adventures, including her relationship with her dancer and muse Erick Hawkins; and chronicling her retirement from dancing at age seventy-five and her remarkably productive final years, this elegant, empathetic biography portrays the artist in all her passionate complexity. Most important, Jowitt places Graham’s creations at the heart of her story. Her works, brimming with raw intensity, are intimately linked with their creator, who played the heroine in almost all that she choreographed: Joan of Arc, Jocasta, Clytemnestra, and Judith, among others. In this volume, Graham is centerstage once more, and Jowitt casts a brilliant spotlight on her life and work.

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