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Dance Up Close to the Artists of the Martha Graham Dance Company
Conversations with the Artists Who Make Graham Happen
Martha Graham Dance Company at New York City Center
Mar 19 - 22, 2014
The Martha Graham Dance Company brings exciting premieres by international stars Nacho Duato and Andonis Foniadakis to New York, along with a new one-act production of Graham's Clytemnestra.
Join in the 70th Anniversary celebration of Appalachian Spring and the 30th of Graham's The Rite of Spring, as well as an opening night gala performance with special guests.
FOR TICKETS CLICK : NEW YORK CITY CENTER
The Martha Graham Dance Company, America’s oldest modern dance company and certainly one of its most celebrated, is turning 88 this year, but you’d never know it. The dancers look spectacular, and the classic repertory of Martha Graham remains luminous alongside thrilling and stylistically distinctive contemporary works. There’s been no chance for dust to settle.
WHY GRAHAM? TWO DANCERS: VETERAN ARTIST, KATHERINE CROCKETT AND NEWER COMPANY MEMBER, ABDIEL JACOBSEN SHARE WHAT DRAWS THEM TO GRAHAM'S WORK.
Particularly riveting is the new ballet, ECHO, by Greek choreographer Andonis Foniandakis. This loose limbed, high velocity ballet (the dancers call it dangerous) takes the love story of Echo and Narcissus and shatters it in brilliant choreographic abstraction. You may recognize Echo, the wood nymph doomed to repeat only the last words of anything she hears, or Narcissus, the young man who falls in love with his reflection. You might see many Echos and Narcissuses, or none. Characterizations aren't important; it is the driving elastic motion of the dancers that keeps us at the edge of our chairs.
ECHO shares the program with a pared down (one-hour) version of Martha Graham’s, CLYTEMNESTRA, a ballet originally created as a three-hour dance play in 1958. While the two dances share a Greek theme, they couldn’t possibly be more dissimilar. There are definitely distinct characters in CLYTEMNESTRA, most importantly, the murderous queen herself, played with delicious drama by golden Katherine Crockett, a 21 year veteran of the Graham company.
WHO IS CLYTEMNESTRA? KATHERINE CROCKETT EXPLAINS.
Where Foniandaki’s ECHO flows and flies, the hard prominent angles and edges in Graham’s ballet reveal a beautifully sculpted two-dimensional landscape. Graham choreographed the movement to appear as the reliefs on ancient Greek vases, and it does. Clytemnestra is the only character whose dancing, by design, seems more full, spiraled, and passionate than the other mythological figures, but this is her story, and as Graham re-told Greek myth, the heroine she played was always the stand out.
PRINCIPAL DANCERS BLAKELEY WHITE-MCGUIRE AND TADEJ BRDNIK ON THE (NEW) CLYTEMNESTRA
Nacho Duato’s haunting DEPAK INE with its surreal atmosphere and mysterious traveling inhabitants -part human, part animal, part other worldly creatures- should prove another intriguing contrast to Martha Graham’s beloved ode to the American spirit APPALACHIAN SPRING (1944) and her pulsing, primal RITE OF SPRING (1984).
Janet Eilber, former principal dancer with the Graham Company, and artistic director of the group since 2005, has a clear eye for details and a sensitivity not only to the repertory of Graham but also to the time and climate we live in.
BLAKELEY WHITE-MCGUIRE AND TADEJ BRDNIK ON ADDING NEW REPERTORY TO CLASSIC GRAHAM WORK.
Operating similarly to a museum curator, she judiciously creates collections of classic Graham works, experiments, and non-Graham efforts that allow us to view Martha Graham’s rich artistic legacy with consistently fresh eyes.
Eilber has also “collected” a terrific company of dancers from all over the globe and it is her forward vision coupled with their immense talent and dedication to craft that makes 88 look so good on Graham.
BONUS Dance Enthusiast Minute: A Minute of Creating New Myth with PeiJu Chien-Pott and Lloyd Mayor
Follow Christine Jowers @ChristineJowers on Twitter.
Footnotes: The Martha Graham Dance Company Programs at New York City Center