Martha Graham (1894-1991) and
Erick Hawkins (1901-1994) in
premiere of Appalachian Spring,
October 30, 1944
Copyprint from original negative
Acquired by the Coolidge Foundation as part of the terms of the commission,
This photograph was taken at the first performance of Appalachian
Spring in the Library's Coolidge Auditorium on the eightieth birthday
of Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, who had commissioned a score from
Aaron Copland to accompany modern dance choreography by Martha
Graham. Copland, originally titling the piece "Ballet for Martha,"
drew on the traditional Shaker composition "Simple Gifts." Graham
incorporated characteristic American gestures into her unique dance
vocabulary. Together, Copland and Graham ushered an American vernacular
into the fine arts.