Insincerities (ballet)

Insincerities, also known as Four Insincerities, is a solo modern dance work created by Martha Graham. The piece consists of four sections: Petulance, Remorse, Politeness and Vivacity performed to music by Serge Prokofiev. It premiered on January 20, 1929, at the Booth Theatre in New York City.[1] Louis Horst accompanied Graham on piano.[2]

Background notesEdit

Almost all of Graham's early works, including Insincerities, are lost.[3] It is known the solo drew on the idea of Delsartean tableaus, objective representations of mood and emotion. As she constructed her own movement vocabulary, Graham rejected the concepts of her teachers Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn by initially referencing previous dance forms.[4]

Insincerities is also known to be one of Graham's first efforts at incorporating humor into her dances, and revealed her talent for parody and comedy.[5]

Critical receptionEdit

New York Times dance critic John Martin remarked that Insincerities was "outstanding...impudent and malignant in its comment on the four commonplace human qualities..."[4]

Of a later performance, The New York Herald Tribune's reviewer wrote that many of Graham's "familiar numbers…have lost nothing of their interest and pertinence," adding that Insincerities had "grown wittier with repetition."[1]

A critic less enthralled with Graham described the piece in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle as "very thin, expressing nothing at all with the studious affectation of profundity." In the same article, the writer said Graham was becoming "an uninteresting artist" as her compositions grew "more modern and cerebral."[6]


  1. ^ a b "Insincerities (Ballet choreographed by Martha Graham". Performing Arts Encyclopedia, Library of Congress. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Program of Dances by Martha Graham" (PDF). Performing Arts Encyclopedia, Library of Congress. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  3. ^ Jones, Lindsay (December 2004). Encyclopedia of Religion (2nd ed.). Macmillan Reference, Vol. 4. p. 2159. ISBN 978-0028657370.
  4. ^ a b Kendall, Elizabeth (1979). Where She Danced. University of California Press. p. 205. ISBN 0-520-05173-4.
  5. ^ Freedman, Russell (April 20, 1998). Martha Graham: A Dancer's Life (1st ed.). New York, NY: Clarion Books, a Houghton Mifflin Company imprint. p. 70. ISBN 0-395-74655-8.
  6. ^ Cushing, Edward (April 15, 1929). "The Brooklyn Daily Eagle". Retrieved 25 January 2016.