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Pearl Lang

Pearl Lang was the first dancer Martha Graham allowed to perform some of her roles, and brought elements of the ecstatic poetry and dance of Hasidic and Sephardic Jewish traditions to her own critically praised work as a dancer and choreographer. Lang grew up with a love of Yiddish poetry, theater, and dance; started her own dance company while still in high school; and went to New York to join Martha Graham’s company at age twenty. She eventually took on most of Graham’s leading roles and made a name for herself as the great interpreter of Graham’s work. In 1953, she formed her own company with Graham’s blessing, choreographing and directing pieces based on Jewish plays, poetry, and legends with an ecstatic style of movement that was praised throughout the dance world. She also accepted commissions from other dance companies and taught performers and directors at Yale, Juilliard, and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. She was awarded two Guggenheim Fellowships and some of the highest honors on the field, and continued choreographing and teaching throughout her life.

Pearl Lang
Full image
Choreographer and dancer Pearl Lang.
Photo: The Jewish Week
Date of Birth
May 29, 1921
Place of Birth
Chicago, Illinois
Date of Death
February 24, 2009

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Pearl Lang." (Viewed on March 20, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/lang-pearl>.


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