The subject of that panel is the past, present and future of ''The Black Presence in American Modern Dance,'' and nobody in this series would seem to embody that presence so symbolically as Pearl Primus. The complexity and difficulty of her mission were evident from the early days of her career as a young anthropology student under Melville Hersksovits at the University of Chicago.
Horrified and grief-stricken, Primus, her body scooped like a giant question mark, reached out and up toward some unseen vision. Strange Fruit 1945 , a piece in which a woman reflects on witnessing a lynching, used the poem by the same name by Abel Meeropol publishing as Lewis Allan.
The solo is danced by this woman. Consistently ranked with Katherine Dunham for her pioneering work during the 1940's in developing a consciousness of the black heritage in American dance, Miss Primus retains the distinct profile that first catapulted her to fame through her own powerful and emotional dancing.
Ask students to observe with the following in mind: The fact that Dunham was both an African American and a dancer, which in part presaged the subsequent increased presence of Third World anthropologists in the field, allowed her to become a more integrated part of the societies she was studying.
Can you think of examples of social commentary and protest as reflected in popular culture today? Miller's because Miss Primus says she could not find a female dancer who could execute the five-foot high jump that made her famous.
And Anna Sokolow's "Kaddish," created in 1948, at war's end, is built upon the traditional Jewish prayer of mourning. Southern trees bear a strange fruit Blood on the leaves and blood at the root Black body swinging in the Southern breeze Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Earlier works of anger and grief--Isadora Duncan's 1907 "Furies" and Graham's 1930 "Lamentation"--will also be performed. They don't call it dancing.
The special contribution that black choreographers and dancers have made to modern dance receives both honor and scrutiny this week at the American Dance Festival in a program entitled ''The Black Tradition in American Modern Dance. Copyright 2019 Los Angeles Times.
They were made to dance. Primus' 1943 work 'Strange Fruit' leaped over the boundaries of what was then considered 'black dance'.
She wants to go deeper, and her body is questioning. Myers and Stephanie Reinhart, funded by the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities is that choreographers who draw upon the black experience should be defined as creative artists within American modern dance, not as exponents of an ethnic form. The work of Pearl Primus finds a natural place in a special program of historic modern dances for women. If you go into certain churches today, they don't say, 'I dance.