Martha Graham, recognized as one of the great artists of the 20th century, employed a bit of Southern culture in her final composition, Maple Leaf Rag. This humorous, movement-centered ballet premiered Oct. 2, 1990 at the New York City Center less than a year before her death. She discovered the joggling board when her company appeared at Charleston’s Spoleto Festival USA and utilized the board in her “self-parodying and playful” final piece.
The board became a dynamic second stage for the dancers, and its playfulness greatly contributed to the mischievous, light-hearted nature of the choreography and composition. The dancers jump, sit and roll over the board for both a moving ballet barre as well as to employ humor by touching on the traditional cultural aspect of the board, a seat for courting couples in the South.
Learn more about the Martha Graham Dance Company at MarthaGraham.org.