Onstage with Martha Graham
From bomber pilot to lifelong dancer
“Early modern dance history comes alive in Stuart Hodes’ personal and easily readable memoir.”—Dance Teacher
“Hodes’s voice rings clear and impeccably his own. I relish his up-close stories about Martha Graham, a creator he admired and served, and his artist’s reflections, expressed with insight and a force undiminished throughout a long and vibrant life in dance.”—Sally Hess, former codirector, Swarthmore College Dance Program
“Hodes has written an often funny, highly informative account of his life, pinned to his career as a dancer with Martha Graham. He also includes his adventures as a very young bomber pilot in World War II and his experience as an arts administrator after he stopped dancing. A very good read.”—Martha Ullman West, senior advisory editor, Dance Magazine
When World War II was over, a young bomber pilot with an itch for movement and action hung up his cap and learned another way to fly. Onstage with Martha Graham is the story of Stuart Hodes, a versatile and influential dancer who got his start with Martha Graham, an icon of modern dance. His memoir is a rare firsthand view of the dance world in the 1940s and through the end of the twentieth century.
One of the few male dancers in Graham’s company—and in the New York dance scene at the time—Hodes offers a unique perspective and a one-of-a-kind narrative. He describes how he fell into the art by chance, happening to walk into Graham’s studio one day. He was soon hooked. He documents his experiences, travels, passions, and loves while learning from and performing with Graham, during which time he saw most of the United States, much of Europe, and some of Asia. Advancing quickly, he eventually danced as Graham’s partner in Appalachian Spring, Deaths and Entrances, Every Soul Is a Circus, and Errand into the Maze.
In his portrait of Martha Graham, who was the center of his dancing world, Hodes recounts conversations, revelations, bouts of temper and creativity, the daily ritual of deeply physical dancing, and the never-ending search for artistic validity. Direct, often humorous, and always authentic, Hodes shares his delight in dance as both hard work and a fantastic adventure.
Stuart Hodes (1924–2023) danced with the Martha Graham Dance Company from 1946 to 1958. A dancer, choreographer, instructor, and dance administrator, his career spanned more than six decades.
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