Solos

SCHERZO WALTZ, also known as HOOP DANCE (1924) (Ilgenfritz)
1 woman; 3 minutes
This delightful and playful dance is a solo game with a large wooden hoop. The dancer extends the realm of her world as she rolls the hoop and skips through its circumference—then hoists it over her head like an Art Deco sculpture. At the time of its creation, Hoop Dance was imitated throughout the world in both dance and sculpture.

QUASI-WALTZ (1929) (Scriabin)
1 woman; 1 minute, 45 seconds
Set to a delicate ripple of melodies in three-quarter time, the dancer “runs and skips, sways and turns, giving the impression of abandon by using carefully planned effects.” - Marcia Siegel.

SARABANDE (1928) (Rameau-Godovsky)
1 woman; 3 minutes
A study in aristocratic deportment, Sarabande is based on the early Spanish-Moorish dance form zarabanda. The performer twists and swirls in her voluminous long gown, as if displaying herself to an imaginary onlooker.

THE BANSHEE (1928) (Cowell)
1 woman; 3 minutes
In Gaelic folklore the banshee, a female spirit, foretells the oncoming of death by shrieking or keening. Extricated limbs slither out from behind a screen which doubles as a tombstone. The wailing creature finally emerges from behind the screen, but it is too late to escape her.

THE CALL and BREATH OF FIRE (1929–30) (Rudhyar)
1 woman; 3.5 minutes

These dramatic solos, performed together, represent a statement about the early development of modern dance as well as about the growth of the individual. Miss Humphrey’s own notes are: “The dissonant power of Rudhyar’s music fitly expresses the call to a new vision, which is followed by a shriving of the old body and old ideas through the purification of fire.” The reference may be taken as an allusion to Humphrey’s break with Denishawn in 1928 and to her creation of a new form of dance or, more abstractly, to a process by which a person matures.

TWO ECSTATIC THEMES: CIRCULAR DESCENT and POINTED ASCENT (1931) (Medtner and Malipiero)
1 woman; 6 minutes, 20 seconds
In this unusually pure example of modern dance, the soloist uses her torso as the source of movement, adding arm or leg gestures as a consequence of the torso’s action or as counterbalances or as assertions. Gravity is shown as a pull you cannot escape and must live with. “Circular Descent is about the yielding of a strong woman who gives way reluctantly; her circling is voluptuous and circuitous—the planted feet and active thighs could spring her upright again if she wanted. As soon as she falls, she begins Pointed Ascent, jutting out an elbow, a knee, gathering her weight in order to press upward. To finish, she is triumphantly vertical, and the statement is: I understand passion, but I will not be ruled by it.” – Deborah Jowitt.

VALSE CAPRICE, also known as SCARF DANCE (1920) (Chaminade)
1 woman; 4 minutes
This solo marks the beginning of Doris Humphrey’s professional career. Using a fifteen-foot length of China silk, the dancer manipulates the scarf into a variety of shapes resembling liquid calligraphy. Many years later in her autobiography, Doris Humphrey referred to it as her “dance with a long scarf which was quite brilliant”.

Choreography

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