Martha Graham Speaking to the Moment: Creative Invention in Dance with Marni Thomas Wood

Lecture | February 21 | 12-1:30 p.m. | Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Osher Theater

 Marni Thomas Wood

 Arts + Design

After graduating from Sarah Lawrence College in 1958, Marni Thomas Wood joined the Martha Graham Dance Company, toured and performed with the Company, taught at the Graham School, and was privileged to be part of the first generation of women to perform Ms. Graham’s own roles as Graham began choosing successors for her earlier repertory reconstructions. In 1968, with her husband/partner David Wood, and their three children, Ms. Thomas Wood relocated to establish the dance major at the University of California Berkeley. In addition to choreographing, teaching, and administrating for the dance program, she served as Chair of the Department of Dramatic Art, Chairman of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on the Arts, and received three Isadora Duncan Awards for her contribution to the professional dance scene in the San Francisco Bay Area. Throughout her California years, she sustained an ongoing relationship with the Graham organization, and, upon retirement from the university, Ms. Thomas Wood returned to New York to serve as director of the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance from 2003 through 2006. Currently, she serves as a consultant and rehearsal coach for the Graham Company, and is a faculty member of the Martha Graham School.

Course Description: Co-taught by Peter Glazer and Stan Lai, this series will explore the specific and metaphoric connections amongst Creative action—adapting Stan Lai’s concepts and training—and the possibility of personal, cultural, and social transformation. How do we understand movement, migration, and change both metaphorically and literally? How do artists working in literature, visual art, film, performance, and design explore and enact transformation? Aside from featuring insight into the works and creative methods of Asia’s Stan Lai, the series will also delve into current trends in Latino-American/Latino arts, as well as European and African art and performance.

Arts + Design Thursdays is made possible thanks to support from the Big Ideas Courses Program in the College of Letters & Science at UC Berkeley and from generous supporters of Berkeley Arts + Design. For more information, visit

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