Anna Sokolow and Waldeen
Through Carlos Mérida’s advocacy of the Graham technique, the Secretaría de Educación Pública invited U.S. choreographer Anna Sokolow to perform and teach in Mexico City. The SEP also invited Waldeen Falkenstein to perform, setting up a competition between their opposing styles of socially engaged choreography. Sokolow’s approach was closely aligned to Graham’s ideas; Waldeen claimed to have found her inspiration in specifically Mexican ways of moving. Their antagonistic approach mirrored ongoing divisions in the visual arts community over local inspiration versus an international orientation, though the disciples of both dancers vehemently rejected suggestions of any foreign elements in their work. Sokolow would come to be known as the originator of modern dance in Mexico, but it was Waldeen who created its watershed work, La Coronela (The Woman Coronel), with a distinctly female-centric evocation of Mexico’s revolution.
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