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Vail Dance Festival Vol. 1 No. 7 - Air for the G String

“Air for the G String” was Doris Humphrey's 10th choreographic work and it premiered in 1928 in a concert where Humphrey used students to present her work. It has been called "a grave, sculptural dance to Bach, in which five women in long Renaissance-like draperies move slowly in procession […] it has a devout, almost religious look." – Dorothy Samachson, 1989.

The  New York Times proclaimed that this work was "in mass composition as well as in individual movement, a beautiful and finished piece of work" and that it had “opened a new chapter in American dancing.”

In 1934, it was filmed at the Paramount Studios in Long Island City, New York.  The dancer who originated the central role became unavailable for the filming which necessitated Humphrey herself dancing the role for the first time. This film is unique because it is the sole record of Doris Humphrey’s personal appearance in a complete filming of one of her own works. Other existing films of Humphrey consist of excerpts of her dancing, with or without sound accompaniment.

(left) Photo by Mark J. Van Wormer

(right) Photo by Ivo Dankovid

Dancers: Doris Humphrey, Cleo Atheneos, Dorothy Lathrop, Hyla Rubin, Ernestine Stodelle


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