“Dancing the Dream” Exhibition Preview – National Portrait Gallery


(Music) Hi, I’m Amy Henderson and I’d like to give you a sneak preview of a terrific exhibition we’re opening at the
National Portrait Gallery this October. A hundred years ago, dance helped spark the birth of modernism. In Paris, the first night audience attending “The Rite of Spring” erupted in fury that the outrage of the new confronting them. Stravinsky’s music was upsetting, the (inaudible) dancers were thumping around on stage. Where were the tutus of tradition? In America, dance was part of the same
burst of modernism but here, everything was new, opportunity was everywhere Our exciting new exhibition “Dancing the Dream” will describe how
dance has defined the National experience, how dance is really American culture in motion. Drawing on the National Portrait
Gallery’s remarkable collections, Dancing the Dream will spotlight
singular sensations in American dance, iconic figures with
signature styles who leap into the (inaudible) and
strike us with wonder. American dance has always embodied the pulse of the new. In the early 20th century, Florenz Ziegfeld and Anna Held brought chorus lines to Broadway in the
Ziegfeld Follies. Women were still wearing dresses down to their ankles when Loie Fuller performed
barefoot, waving giant scarves. Isadora Duncan did too, and both created
sensations not only in New York, but around the world.
Hollywood projected larger-than-life images of dancers sweeping across the
silver screen Fred and Ginger helped America forget the depression with her top hat and sequined elegance. Shirley Temple sang her way into the nation’s heart with her sweet innocence. The distinctive look of American dance was created not only by figures who moved across
stage and screen, but by visionary choreographers who
created these moves. Ted Shawn was a pioneer modern dance choreographer along with Martha Graham and Agnes de Mille. A tradition continued by such contemporary choreographers as Alvin Ailey whose
famous work “Revelations” was created for Judith
Jamison. Ballet was also shaped by the American
experience. During the Cold War, America became a
political asylum for such renowned performers as Mikhail Baryshnikov and Natalia Makarova. They not only (inaudible) into America’s exuberant potential but sparked a surging popularity for ballet in America. Today, the most popular performer on the planet is Beyoncé. Dance has become a defining element of
performance and all major stars inject their music
videos and stage shows with a dazzling array of modern dance, aerobics, jazz, tap, hip-hop and funk. Just like a hundred years ago, America is still a land of opportunity.
Every day, we still search for the new and it’s still about dancing the dream. Shall we dance? (Music)

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