Maslow, Sophie (1911–2006) By Rossen, Rebecca
Sophie Maslow, a prolific choreographer and significant contributor to American modern dance, was often characterized as a populist or people’s choreographer because she was inspired by the struggles and experiences of ordinary people. Combining modernism with humanism, Maslow’s work depicted emotional and universal experiences (a hallmark of mid-century modern dance) while also envisioning a more just and equitable society. Throughout her more than 50-year career she drew from a variety of sources, including folk traditions, rural and urban American life, and literature. During the 1930s, while a soloist with the Martha Graham dance company, she began choreographing her own work and joined the New Dance League, the precursor to the New Dance Group, a collective of choreographers who viewed dance as a form of social activism.