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Legacy Oral History Online Collection

David Wood

Wood Image

David Wood (1925- 2002) was born on February 24, 1925 in Fresno, California.  He was a master teacher and soloist with the Martha Graham Dance Company. He also worked with Hanya Holm, Doris Humphrey and Jose Limon. With the Graham Company, David trained dancers in Graham's technique. Even with his commitment to the Graham Comapany, he was curious about and open to all dance forms. At Connecticut College, he attended Merce Cunningham's advanced class as often as his schedule permitted. In 1973, David and his wife Marni Thomas Wood formed a dance department at The University of California, Berkeley, creating an excellent dance program from scratch.

David was engaged in an on-going study of how best to train modern dancers, developing his own syllabus and courses in dance education. David perceived the need for classes which would properly prepare dancers to work in any company through dance techniques different from classical ballet. At the time, many young dancers, unsure of which modern technique they should study, were beginning to seek out ballet classes for basic training. The question for David was how to best train these dancers - their minds as well as their bodies. He invited guest teachers to augment his own program and to widen the horizens for his students. Avoiding easy answers, he devoted himself to a continuous process of search and discovery, followed by implementation of the ideas that seemed to work.

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