I chose Doris Humphrey for this blog because I found her fall and recovery technique to be very interesting and I wanted to know what exactly it was that made her choose to move in this way. However, after researching her, one thing that has really stood out to me about her was the difference between instruction and education. Once I graduate, I don’t plan to join a dance company or even audition to be in a dance company. I want to simply share and teach dance with the community. Doris Humphrey was an excellent teacher because she did find the difference between instruction and education. First, she would tell the students what they had to do, and secondly she would let them develop their individuality and independence of thought, which was her aim. I think why this method of teaching really stands out to me is because this is how I was often taught at my dance studio by one of my favorite instructors. She would give us an idea or concept and then we had the opportunity to explore through movement. This is where I found myself to strive the most and is what I hope to continue to educate dance students with.
As for her work, after watching and reading up on many of her dances, the movement quality stands out to me. I move in a very similar way as she does in most of her work. I am a very fluid dancer and I enjoy the fall and recovery look in choreography. But her dance technique isn’t just what stands out to me, but the meaning behind a lot of her dancing appeals to me. Many of the pieces that she choreographed had to do with life events. I’ve always believed that when you don’t know what to dance about, you should dance about what you know. I feel as though this is similar to what she brought into her pieces.
With so many pieces of work and choreography that is still being taught, I believe that everyone who strives to choreograph should read her book, “The Art of Making Dances”. I think that we can all learn a lot through her own mistakes and ideas to better ourselves when creating our own dance pieces. Doris Humphrey is one of the choreographers that changed modern dance into what it is today. She took many steps in a different way than where dance was going. For example, she experimented with dance and music, or in some cases, silence. But she didn’t just stop there. She was one of the first choreographers to take modern dance to groups, and not only be performed by soloists. She also took a few steps towards abstraction, which then other choreographers then ran with. Overall, her technique is still taught today, her book is still read, and her choreography is still performed. When a legacy lives on like this for so long, it is clear that they had an impact on the society.