Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

20th-Century Dance

Dr. Michael Delahoyde
Washington State University


Here is an excellent student project on Twentieth-Century Ballet.

L’Après-midi d’un Faune

First performed 29 May 1912 in Paris.
About 12 minutes.
“Choreographic tableau” by Vaslav Nijinsky.
Music by Claude Debussy (1862-1918), written as a “prelude” to the poem of the same name by Mallarmé, not as program music but to create an atmosphere, dare one say, an “impression.”
Design by Léon Bakst.
Serge Diaghilev — impresario of the Ballet Russes 1909-1929.

Why would this have been considered an outrage in 1912 Paris?
What is the relationship between the faun and the nymph?
What does the scarf represent?

Le Sacre de printemps

First performed 1913 in Paris — another outrage leading to riots.
Choreography by Nijinsky.
Music by Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) — musical “primitivism” to match the subject. See Stravinsky.
Serge Diaghilev ordered the electricians to turn the houselights on and off to try to stop the noise of the outraged audience.

Martha Graham

She introduced off-balance tilts, a distinctive fall, and “contractions.” See:
Graham, Martha. Blood Memory. NY: Doubleday, 1991.
Martha Graham: The Dancer Revealed. Kultur. WSU Media VHS #19125.
Martha Graham in Performance. Kultur. WSU Media VHS #20552.
Thomas, Marnie. “Graham Technique.” Dance Magazine 81.3 (March 2007).
Three by Martha Graham. Pyramid Media. WSU Media VHS #20598.

Return to the Stomping Ground

A Dutch choreographer in the 1980s is inspired by aboriginal dance and incorporates animal movements into his work.