Posted On: Thursday, December 7, 2017 07:31 AM, by Elle Benak
Agnes de Mille Theta Magazine, 1962
When you receive the Autumn 2017 issue of the Theta magazine, you will have the pleasure of learning about a wonderful Theta named Agnes de Mille.
Agnes de Mille, Beta Xi/UCLA, was a ground-breaking choreographer who challenged the traditional conventions of ballet. I wanted to provide readers with some videos of Agnes's work because her pieces are just so interesting.
The first video is an interview in which she talks about her early trials and tribulations and how they influenced her career. I recommend starting with this one so you can understand Agnes's personality and moxie.
The article from our magazine names several different dances and companies associated with de Mille. Here is a video of Agnes's first piece for the American Ballet Theater: Three Virgins and the Devil. In this clip, you not only see de Mille perform but you can also hear her talk about the piece.
Agnes's next production was the ballet Rodeo, in which we can see how her use of movement creates characterization. This video includes opening scene of Rodeo, the dancers practicing in class, and a short interview with de Mille about the piece.
When Rogers and Hammerstein saw Rodeo, they knew that they wanted de Mille to choreograph their show Oklahoma. This is a video of the large dream sequence from this production.
And if you want to hear Agnes talk about her experience with Oklahoma, I suggest this video.
As I discussed in the article, Agnes often gave talks on different styles of dance while her own company gave demonstrations in the background. This video is an example of one of these broadcasts.
I hope these videos will help you connect to Agnes's story as vividly as they did for me and also show how her work truly helped to change the world of dance as we know it.
Elle Benak, Gamma deuteron/Ohio Wesleyan, was the Theta archives summer 2017 intern. She graduated last May with a degree in history and a minor in business and women and gender studies.