Often called the Picasso, Stravinsky, or Frank Lloyd Wright of the dance world, Martha Graham revolutionized ballet stages across the globe. Using newly discovered archival sources, award-winning choreographer and dance historian Mark Franko reframes Graham's most famous creations, those from the World War II era, by restoring their rich historical and personal context. Graham matured as an artist during the global crisis of fascism, the conflict of World War II, and the post-war period that ushered in the Cold War. Franko focuses on four of her most powerful works, American Document (1938), Appalachian Spring (1944), Night Journey (1948), and Voyage (1953), tracing their connections to Graham's intense feelings of anti-fascism and her fascination with psychoanalysis.
Moreover, Franko explores Graham's intense personal and professional bond with dancer and choreographer Erick Hawkins. The author traces the impact of their constantly changing feelings about each other and about their work, and how Graham wove together strands of love, passion, politics, and myth to create a unique and iconically American school of choreography and dance.