sandik

Pearl Lang obit

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Here is the official notice from the Martha Graham Center

Pearl Lang

1921-2009

It is with great sadness that we bring you news of the death of the great American dance artist and teacher, Pearl Lang. Pearl passed away on February 24 at the age of 87. She suffered a heart attack while recovering from recent hip surgery. Pearl was still teaching the advanced class at the Graham School weeks before her surgery and her renowned composition course as recently as last summer. She will be remembered by generations of Graham dancers for her dedication, passion and her unrelenting commitment to the highest ideals of the art form. Her influence in the Graham world is immeasurable. We will miss her profoundly.

A short film celebrating Pearl is posted on our web site at www.marthagraham.org

We are collecting remembrances of Pearl to share online. Please send us your own memories of this extraordinary woman at: marthagrahamschool, or e-mail mgschool.myspace@gmail.com.

Information about tributes or memorial services will be posted at www.marthagraham.org

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It is with gratitude and reverence that I remember Pearl Lang. She was an extraordinary dancer and an extraordinary teacher as well. My recollections of her begin in the 1960s at Adelphi University where she taught us in the summer. What a wonderful woman. I mourn her passing.

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Pearl was a beautiful dancer, a gifted choreographer and a brilliant teacher. Her passionate commitment to the work, whether Martha's or her own, was an inspiration to those of us who were privileged to work with her. A light is gone from the dance world.

Rest in peace dear Pearl.

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Thanks for posting, sandik. Sad news. The little film posted on the Center's web site is worth checking out. A beautiful dancer as well as a very beautiful woman.

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Obituary by Jack Anderson in the Times.

Moving to New York in 1941, she was accepted into the Graham company, remaining with it as a regular member until 1952 and often returning as a guest artist. She created roles in several Graham productions, including the Woman in Red in “Diversion of Angels” (1948), a celebration of the many facets of love. One of Graham’s inspirations for the choreography for this role was a painting by Kandinsky with a slash of red in it. She had Ms. Lang, in red, slash across the stage.

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Obituary by Jack Anderson in the Times.
Moving to New York in 1941, she was accepted into the Graham company, remaining with it as a regular member until 1952 and often returning as a guest artist. She created roles in several Graham productions, including the Woman in Red in “Diversion of Angels” (1948), a celebration of the many facets of love. One of Graham’s inspirations for the choreography for this role was a painting by Kandinsky with a slash of red in it. She had Ms. Lang, in red, slash across the stage.

Yes, the Kandinsky slash of red is talked about in the video filmed at Paris Opera in 1991, I believe it's 'five dances by martha graham'. And the Woman in Red always moves in very sharp, slashing ways, so different from the White and Yellow. I adore the piece, and would love to have seen Ms. Lang in it (and anything else.) The number of unique dancers that emerged from Graham's company over the many years and 'periods' it had is staggering.

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A remembrance of Pearl Lang, from the Daily Forward. (Scroll down.)

http://forward.com/articles/103890/

During our 1986 interview, Lang said: “I am a product of Yiddish education, which, as I look back, was a gift. When I look around me and see how other people grew up, I realize I was absolutely blessed by what I learned and the activities of my growing years in this Yiddish culture.” Lang (forever Pearl to me) was then agonizing about funding for her film, “The Dybbuk.” She was animated as she said, “This Dybbuk of mine is all dance — it has no words.… What I’ve danced is Chanon’s dream with Leah, how Leah feels when she hears that her father has betrothed her to another.” Speaking of one of her “Dybbuk” dancers, Alexander Mintz, Lang noted: “He is half Jewish, the mother was the daughter of the Leningrader rebbe, and he has family who are Lubavitcher who live in [brooklyn’s] Crown Heights.… They came to see my ‘Dybbuk’ because he was dancing in it. I now have yikhus [prestige] and am now invited to Lubavitcher khasenes [weddings].”

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Thanks for the link, dirac, it's a very interesting article.

(And I wish my Yiddish were better so that I could read the Yiddish edition too...)

I'll be attending two performances of the Graham company in Paris next April (I haven't seen them for years and years), I'll think about Ms Lang when seeing "Diversion of Angels" (so far I've seen it only on video).

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I'll think about Ms Lang when seeing "Diversion of Angels" (so far I've seen it only on video).

It's one of my all-time favorite works. If you can, listen to the score before you go. It's not like Balanchine in a structural sense, but the music is so beautiful that sometimes I lose track of the choreography.

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It's one of my all-time favorite works. If you can, listen to the score before you go. It's not like Balanchine in a structural sense, but the music is so beautiful that sometimes I lose track of the choreography.

Agree totally about the gorgeous score. Especially love that soaring figure that comes in with the the Woman in White as she swirls, so romantic, you can't even believe it--Dello Joio had it, and is barely remembered, dying a year or so ago very old. The whole piece is total enchantment with the Kali-like Woman in Red sharp and bladelike, and sometimes there's a girl in yellow who can throw her back with total abandon to be caught by her partner (I think the one I've seen on video from 1991 has one like this, at Paris Opera.) also, the music at the very end, after the Woman in Red makes her final sweep across and the woman in White is crowned. Amazing piece.

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