another review of a photographic book i bought when we saw the Graham company in their last New York season this past year. Acts of light, Martha Graham in the 21st Century shows a completely different side to Martha’s work. the photography is excellent done by John Deane and text by Nan Deane Cano. I do recommend this book to anyone who loves dance. it’s a worthy one to have laying around on your coffee table, actually both books are wonderful.
what separates this book from Barbara Morgans lovely B&W book on almost the same subject is color for obvious but the sharing from the dancers point of character. what they are thinking about the different roles they are asked to perform some directly from Martha herself and some maybe from other dancers. this is what i loved about the book, it gave me another dimension on Martha’s work.
what is so exciting to me about this book are the pictures of dancers i knew or have worked on their creations. Valerie Bettis, Anna Sokolow, Jose Limon then Merc Cunningham, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman and Martha Graham herself but also included are pictures of Dr. Daietz Teitaro Suzuki along with other personal work.
now my images of Martha were more like the cover on Barbara’s book but what i see in Acts of Light are costumes much different than the fully covered ones in Morgan’s book. while there is nothing outrageous in either book, also no nude female forms while the men have much less clothing on. i’ve often wondered how female dancers have seen themselves over the years even now.
i love the well toned human form but cringe looking at how my body has develpoed a mind of it’s own these days. who is that person looking back from the mirror at me. but then again i don’t spend hours in dance class nor wrestling with a bare, more like a bag of potato chips.