Harkness Dance Festival Takes Audiences Inside Graham’s Cave of the Heart

Graham principal Blakeley White-McGuire in costume for Cave of the Heart

At the 2015 Harkness Dance Festival at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, audiences can delve into the creation of Martha Graham’s Cave of the Heart. The Martha Graham Dance Company will perform March 13–15 as part of the festival’s Stripped/Dressed performance concept, designed to illuminate the creative process behind a piece before it is performed.

During the opening “stripped” portion of the evening, audience members will learn about Graham’s codified technique and the movement motifs she created for different characters in this retelling of the Greek myth of Medea. These could be useful discussions for aspiring dancemakers and modern dance students. Attendees can also explore the set pieces up close, designed by sculptor Isamu Noguchi.

Then, dancers get “dressed” and perform the work in its entirety. Other performers at this year’s Harkness Dance Festival have included Adam Barruch, The Bang Group and Vicky Shick Dance, with Sally Silvers still to come, March 20–22.

Additionally, K–12 teachers attending the Dance Education Lab (DEL)/Harkness Dance Festival Intensive take a four-hour master class the Saturday after each Friday-night performance to explore the choreographic strategies of each artist and make connections to NYC's Department of Education dance curriculum guidelines. More on that program here.

 Photo by Nathan Sayers for Dance Magazine

Teacher Voices
Getty Images

In 2001, young Chanel, a determined, ambitious, fiery, headstrong teenager, was about to begin her sophomore year at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, also known as the highly acclaimed "Fame" school. I was a great student, a promising young dancer and well-liked by my teachers and my peers. On paper, everything seemed in order. In reality, this picture-perfect image was fractured. There was a crack that I've attempted to hide, cover up and bury for nearly 20 years.

Keep reading... Show less
Health & Body
Getty Images

Though the #MeToo movement has spurred many dancers to come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and abuse, the dance world has yet to have a full reckoning on the subject. Few institutions have made true cultural changes, and many alleged predators continue to work in the industry.

As Chanel DaSilva's story shows, young dancers are particularly vulnerable to abuse because of the power differential between teacher and student. We spoke with eight experts in dance, education and psychology about steps that dance schools could take to protect their students from sexual abuse.

Keep reading... Show less
Technique
Nan Melville, courtesy Genn

Not so long ago, it seemed that ballet dancers were always encouraged to pull up away from the floor. Ideas evolved, and more recently it has become common to hear teachers saying "Push down to go up," and variations on that concept.

Charla Genn, a New York City–based coach and dance rehabilitation specialist who teaches company class for Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre and Ballet Hispánico, says that this causes its own problems.

"Often when we tell dancers to go down, they physically push down, or think they have to plié more," she says. These are misconceptions that keep dancers from, among other things, jumping to their full potential.

To help dancers learn to efficiently use what she calls "Mother Marley," Genn has developed these clever techniques and teaching tools.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.