(to view the hypertexed version of this article see my blog at the following address: http://dancescriber.blogspot.com/2008/1 ... ation.html
1929: Wall Street Crash.
1930: Martha Graham creates and performs one of her enduring masterpieces, Lamentation, a solo piece where the dancer is seated on a bench. Her costume is a stretching tube which creates the choreographic effect. The piece is not about a woman mourning, but rather about pain itself. Out of the purple fabric only the dancer’s face (not her head), her hands and her bare feet emerge. Movements are spare and they mostly consist of torso swinging and arm movements. They represent points, stains of light through which the multiple lines, created by the movement within the costume, relate to each other.
1902: The Flatiron Building is completed. It is a skyscraper in the shape of a triangle. Watching it from different perspectives you can change its silhouette. Lamentation, with its vertical and diagonal lines, recalls the tension created by skyscrapers and the Flatiron building perhaps reflects better than others the lines of tension in the dance.
1995: in his book Dancing Modernism/Performing Politics, Mark Franko notes that Graham in Lamentation seems to be conveying “emotion only after reducing it to formal design (…). The choreographic material of Lamentation is the physical material of grief, not its emotional effects”. (p. 46).
1976: Peggy Lyman dances Lamentation in the “Dance in America” TV series. She is taller than Graham and she expresses deep pain with her body and face.
1300-1500: Many Italian Renaissance painters (Masaccio, Duccio di Buoninsegna, Michelangelo, etc.) devote their art to the representation of the Virgin Mary. Her blue cloak often delineates her figure, her covered head and her suffering for her crucified son, are connectable to Graham’s tormented figure in Lamentation. At the same time, this lone figure also recalls Muslim women and their chador.
1986: Andy Warhol creates a series of serigraphies inspired by photos portraying Graham in her dances. Among them there are also a couple dedicated to Lamentation.
1941: Barbara Morgan publishes her book of photographs dedicated to Graham, Martha Graham: Sixteen Dances in Photographs. Some of those photos will inspire Andy Warhol in his work. Among them the one dedicated to Lamentation.
1980: Morgan’s book is re-edited.
1996: Richard Move first interprets Martha Graham in his evening length performance Martha@. One of his best achievements is precisely Lamentation.
2006: Tate Etc. publishes an article by Deborah Jovitt on the relationship between Graham and sculptor David Smith. One of his works recalls Graham’s Lamentation.[/i]