Appalachian Spring tells the story of a young frontier couple on their wedding day.  Created as the war in Europe was drawing to end, the ballet captured the imagination of Americans who were beginning to believe in a more prosperous future, a future in which men and women would be united again. Themes from American folk culture can be found throughout the dance. Aaron Copland weaves a Shaker tune, “Simple Gifts,” throughout his luminous score, while Martha Graham’s choreography includes square dance patterns, skips and paddle turns and curtsies, even a grand right and left.  The spare set by Isamu Noguchi features a Shaker rocking chair. With its tale of a new life in a new land, the dance embodies hope.  Critics called Appalachian Spring “shining and joyous,”  “a testimony to the simple fineness of the human spirit.”