Graham Dancers Co-Produce Own Program
As everyone must know by now, the Martha Graham Dance Company is in dire circumstances, due to the resignation of Ron Protas, who owns the copyright to all of Graham's creations.
Undaunted, the Graham dancers stated their determination to continue under all odds in the program notes to Keeping the Channels Open, the blanket title of their co-produced performance on Aug. 16 in Union Square Park.
"We the dancers of the Martha Graham Dance Company are determined to continue to do what we know and love best—dancing. This performance is an act of faith for each of us. It represents our collective efforts to build a future, in spite of the fact that we have lost our artistic home, are without studio space, and lack financial support. This is a celebration and a gift to us we share with you."
A solo choreographed by Tadej Brdnik, "In Every You, One of Me," performed by Katherine Crocket, opened the inspired efforts. The dancer came on walking slowly, as if following a funeral procession, and bearing a handful of leaves. As she sat down and began swinging the leaves about, her mournful demeanor revealed a soul in torment. Through all her pain, she managed to exhibit a series of wide extensions, and remarkable fluidity. At the conclusion, she scattered flower petals about as if indicating segments of hope.
A primordial pas de deux created by Javier Dzul and performed by the choreographer and Miriam Barbosa, "Y'ltz Ka'anil," revealed movements of such magical dimensions, they seemed to emanate from within the dancers. A mesmerizing, utterly lyric sensuality pervaded the atmosphere. Both performers exhibited amazing technical attributes.
Choreographer Jacqulyn Buglisi contributed two of her creations—"Sospiri" and "Red Hills," both of which were performed courtesy of Buglisi/Foreman Dance.
An Argentinian legend formed the basis of "Sospiri." Camila O'Gorman, the Juliet of the pampas, and her lover, the Jesuit priest Gutierrez, were hunted down and executed by a firing squad. The work began with their death by gunfire, then reverted back to the intense love they bore each other, displayed in an ardent pas de deux, magnificently performed by Virginie Victoire Mecene and Kevin Predmore.
"Red Hills" was inspired by the beauty of a Georgia O'Keefe painting, "The Red Hills with Sun." The costume design (by A. Christina Gianinni and Ms. Buglisi), as well as the compact set (by Debora Maché), were instrumental in the successful transference of a graphic art into dance—a seemingly insurmountable task. Jennifer DePalo performed the work, which consisted of a solo dance, with perspicacious intensity.
The solo "As I Lay Lying," choreographed and designed by Errol Grimes and danced by Martin Lofsnes, saw the dancer performing on a Noguchi-like platform structure. The choreographer and performer demonstrated the vast amount of maneuvers that can be contained, as well as eventually expanded, in limited space. A clever, succinct work, sprucely performed by Mr. Lofsnes.
Only one work on the program seemed overly ambitious, the Greek tragedy influenced "The Burghers of Calais," a solo piece choreographed by Gary Galbraith and Karen Potter, based on the tragic siege of Calais, France. Performing it, Gary Galbraith seemed to go on endlessly, until one became inundated by and inured to the emotional excesses.
Something lithe and lyric was just right at this time, and we were amply supplied by choreographer Erica Dankmeyer in "Forest Incantation," which she performed together with Alessandra Prosperi. Although both started out appearing to be gentle, woodland sprites, undercurrents of competition between them were soon evident. Even woodland creatures are entitled to some strife. All in all, a lively, lovely duo.
Although Kun-Yang Lin's "The Land of Lost Content" was inspired by some lines from an A. E. Houseman poem, the dance patterns specifically suggested configurations from various areas of the Orient, all of which were enchanting. The choreographer was joined by Jennifer Binford, Nai-Yu Kuo, Tadej Brdnik, Gary Galbraith, and Virginie Victoire Mecene in dazzling performances.
P.S. – The Graham dancers are requesting tax deductible contributions in order to revive the school, company, and center. I can only hope that some of the foundations, so lavish in funding fringes, binges, etc., may spare funds to support the efforts of the enormously talented young artists who make up the Graham Company. Anyone who wishes to help should send contributions to the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, Inc., One Citicorp Center, 153 E. 53 St., Suite 5101, New York, NY 10022. Telephone is (212) 838-5886.
The Center will provide free rehearsal space, production support, a professional videographer, and free publicity for participating choreographers. Selected pieces from each showcase will be chosen to perform in Nov./Dec.
The deadline for applications is Sept. 11. Choreographers must fill out a short application, and either submit a video clip of their work or make an appointment for a live audition. For application information, contact Suzy Zimmerman, Performance Outlet Director, at (212) 582-9304 x23.
Memorial for Anna Sokolow, 1910-2000