By Judy L. Hasday
Lines the existence and accomplishments of the dancer and choreographer most sensible recognized for the ballets she created on American topics and for the choreography of the musical Oklahoma..
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Extra info for Agnes De Mille (Women in the Arts Series)
Suddenly widowed with three children (William was fourteen, Cecil eleven, Agnes barely two) and with no money, forty-year-old Beatrice exploited her love of theater and her knowledge of education to support her family. In an era where a woman’s role was as wife and homemaker, Beatrice again defied convention by opening a school for girls in her home and becoming a playwright agent. With an office on Broadway, Beatrice used her steely determination to break through the male-dominated industry and built an impressive client list by carving out her own niche — representing female playwrights.
Literary guests included novelists Somerset Maugham, Rebecca West, and Michael Arlen. that emphasized the tightening and release of the torso. Initially, audiences rejected the style, finding it jarring and ugly in comparison to the graceful, fluid movements they were accustomed to seeing in ballet performances. Graham was not bothered by this, for she believed her job was to look interesting in her craft — but not necessarily beautiful. Graham firmly made her mark in modern dance in the 1940s, producing a body of works that have been described as “angst-ridden dance dramas — enacted on symbolstrewn sets designed by the sculptor Isamu Noguchi and accompanied by scores commissioned from such noted composers as Aaron Copland and Samuel Barber.
Aspiring artists, writers, Single Taxers, women interested in forming community clubs—they all came through Anna George de Mille’s parlor. Surrounded by a wealth of talent from a variety of disciplines, Agnes received almost constant artistic and intellectual stimulation. The one drawback for Agnes was that it became more difficult for her to find the time and place to practice her ballet without distraction. She also dreaded the lonely, boring practice, made more acute by her feeling that her technical skills had not really improved.
Agnes De Mille (Women in the Arts Series) by Judy L. Hasday