Sophie Maslow blended classical, modern, and folk traditions in her dance and choreography and drew inspiration from politics and modern folk music to create vibrant new pieces that engaged audiences in new ways. Maslow came of age in the mixed political and artistic atmosphere of the Neighborhood Playhouse and the Workman’s Circle before joining the Martha Graham Company in 1931, but at a time when many dancers used their art to express ideology, Maslow believed that dance could enrich the lives of workers in and of itself. As part of the New Dance Group, she taught a variety of styles of dance in classes for blue collar workers and children. In 1941, she began choreographing pieces that expressed the American experience, using Woody Gurthrie’s music as inspiration for Dust Bowl Ballads and Carl Sandburg’s work as the basis of Folksay. After the Holocaust, she created pieces that captured the lost shtetls of Europe, fueled by the work of Sholem Aleichem. She went on to form the Sophie Maslow Dance Company and develop other pieces with Jewish themes, such as Anniversary, about the Warsaw Ghetto, and Manhattan Transfer, a suite of dances based on Israeli songs.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Sophie Maslow." (Viewed on April 18, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/maslow-sophie>.