The “New Dance Group Celebration,” a series of remounted pieces by the members of that early modern-dance collective (1932–1955), was presented at the 92nd Street Y’s Harkness Dance Center, on February 1st, and it was an eye-opener. First, it showed you just how political the art of that period was. The New Dance Group was founded in one of the worst years of the Great Depression. Many members of the N.D.C. were proud Communists—their F.B.I. files swelled annually—and you can certainly tell from their work. Second, this concert of pieces that are rarely, if ever, shown today provided something that is sorely missing from dance history: a context for the dances that survived.
Joan Acocella gets a glimpse of the old sincerity in “The New Dance Group Celebration”: http://nyr.kr/UYz6a8
Photograph, of members of the New Dance Group in ”Improvisation,” in 1932, courtesy of New Dance Group Collection/Library of Congress.