Monday, October 18, 2010


By Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan
Illustrated by Brian Floca
ISBN: 978-1-59643-338-0
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press


Martha Graham: trailblazing choreographer
Aaron Copland: distinguished American Composer
Isamu Noguchi: artist, sculptor, craftsman

Together they created an American masterpiece: Appalachian Spring. In the tradition of their award- winning Action Jackson, acclaimed authors Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan tell the story behind the scenes of this classic ballet from the first spark of imagination through the music’s composition, Martha’s intense rehearsal process, and on to its first performance on October 30, 1944 at the Library of Congress. This book puts you in a prime seat at that performance, watching as this iconic dance unfolds.

Ultimately this is a book about collaboration, and the authors’ collaborator is Sibert Honor artist Brian Floca, whose vivid watercolors bring both the process and the performance to life.

Also included are extensive source notes, biographies of each of the three principal collaborators, and a full bibliography.

KATE'S TAKE: If you want to incorporate, movement, music, and art into your curriculum, don't miss this book.

INTERESTING INTERVIEWS Verbal/Linguistic and Interpersonal
Have students write, conduct, and record interviews of people who were alive during the 1940’s.

STORIES AND MOVEMENT Musical, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, and Verbal-Linguistic

Copland wrote many pieces of music including Billy the Kid, Rodeo, Hoe Down, Music for a Great City, Of Mice and Men, Fanfare for the Common Man, A Lincoln Portrait. In small groups ask students to create a scene to accompany one piece of Copland’s music. Students could choose to interpret the music through choreography like Martha did, or they could write out dialogue for their stories. Either way they get to collaborate to create art just like Graham, Copland, and Noguchi.


During the 1940’s, society marginalized many groups of people including women, people of Jewish faith, and American citizens of Japanese heritage. Ask students to write a report on a famous person or group of people who triumphed despite the discrimination that occurred during that era.

STAGE DIORAMAS Visual/Spatial and Bodily-Kinesthetic

Isamu Noguchi built models of his set for Appalachian Spring before building the set. Ask students to make a set diarama of their favorite tv show, movie, play or book.

STORY SETS Visual/Spatial and Bodily-Kinesthetic
Ask students to collaborate in groups to design sets for their Copland stories.

-Aaron Copland by Mike Venezia
-Kids Dance by Jim Varriale
-Martha Graham, A Dancer’s Life by Russell Freedman
-The Children of Topaz: the Story of a Japanese Internment Camp Based on a Classroom Diary by Michael O. Tunnell
-The East-West house: Noguchi’s Childhood in Japan by Christy Hale

No comments:

Post a Comment