Sophie Maslow


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(b New York, 22 Mar. 1911; d New York, 25 Jun. 2006)

US dancer, teacher, and choreographer. She studied with Blanche Talmud and Graham, eventually joining the Graham company in 1931 and dancing with her for twelve years. She appeared in some of Graham's most important works, including American Document and Primitive Mysteries. She was also a member of the politicized New Dance Group (or New Dance League), in the mid-1930s. From 1942 to 1954 she performed with Jane Dudley and William Bales in the Dudley-Maslow-Bales Trio and choreographed many works for that company, including Folksay (1942), which used folk-songs by Woody Guthrie and a text by Carl Sandburg to evoke life in rural America, Champion (1948), The Village I Knew (1949), based on stories by Sholom Aleichem, and Manhattan Celebration (1954). She formed her own company, Sophie Maslow and Company, in New York in the mid-1950s, presenting work of a distinctively populist character. In 1975 she founded the Danscompany with Joyce Trisler. She also worked with a number of other outfits, including the Batsheva Dance Company in Israel for whom she re-staged The Village I Knew (1950). She was a founding member of the American Dance Festival at Connecticut College in 1948. Other works include Dust Bowl Ballads (1941), Raincheck or Rain Check (1958), Poem (1963), From the Book of Ruth (1964), Neither Rest Nor Harbor (1969), Touch the Earth (1973), Such Sweet Thunder (1975), The Decathlon Études (1976), and Woody Sez (1980). She continued to teach and choreograph in New York for many decades. In 1999 she and Donald McKayle reconstructed Champion for the José Limón company. Maslow's ballet, based on Ring Lardner's short story about a boxer who will do anything to get to the top, had not been seen on the stage since 1950.

Subjects: Dance.

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