Martha Graham Dance Company created The EVE Project to mark the upcoming 100th anniversary of U.S. women's right to vote. The female-focused initiative includes new works, as well as the company's classic repertoire highlighting Martha Graham's heroines and antiheroines. In April, the company is showing the newly reconstructed Circe, Graham's 1963 interpretation of the Greek myth, at New York City Center. Dancing the role of Circe is company member So Young An. Here, she shares thoughts on The EVE Project and how she's approaching her role in Circe, the 57-year-old work that invites audiences to consider pressing conversations about womanhood.
In a sun-soaked studio in Manhattan, members of the Martha Graham Dance Company (all women) lie on the floor with their feet and heads hovering off the ground. Choreographer Bobbi Jene Smith encourages the dancers to be unapologetic about being looked at as their bodies begin to tremble with exhaustion and they move into a new formation.
As you assemble your gratitude list for this Thanksgiving, stop and consider some of the works that paved the way for the diverse dance world we enjoy today. Whether they introduced a radical new style of movement, controversial subject matter or a particularly poignant message, these five works broke choreographic barriers and have withstood the test of time.
Martha Graham was the "Mother of Modern Dance," influencing generations of dance artists with her incomparable choreography and technique that featured the pioneering concept of contraction and release. But did you know...
This past week, the University of California, Irvine, Etude Ensemble paid tribute to Donald McKayle, with a performance of Journey of the Heart: A Celebration of Works by Donald McKayle. The renowned choreographer created the student performance group in 1995 when he was an active professor in the dance program. The tribute included audience favorites, Death and Eros (2000), Crossing the Rubicon (2017) and Songs of the Disinherited (1972).
To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Damian Woetzel's leadership at the Vail International Dance Festival, a new four-day event will be held in New York City, November 3–6. Vail Dance Festival: ReMix NYC brings three programs to New York City Center, along with a special lecture/demonstration focused on footwork, hosted by Woetzel. Featured performers include: Lil Buck, Michelle Dorrance, Wendy Whelan, Robert Fairchild, Matthew Rushing and Yo-Yo Ma. Works by George Balanchine, Alexei Ratmansky, José Limón, Martha Graham, Larry Keigwin and Christopher Wheeldon will be performed. Vvf.org/arts/vail-international-dance-festival
For 12 years, Italian choreographer Caterina Rago studied Graham technique with Elsa Piperno at the Accademia Nazionale di Danza in Rome. Piperno taught her to be comfortable taking risks.
"She encouraged us to push beyond our limits to understand what our limits were. I remember her saying, 'Even if you fall on the floor, you know the floor is not too far away from your body. Eventually you will fall and you will recover. No problem!'"
See Caterina Rago Dance Company perform Labir Into (“labyrinth”) at New York Live Arts tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 pm.
Photo courtesy of Rago
Martha Graham (left)
“Great dancers are not great because of their technique. They are great because of their passion.” —Martha Graham
“To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on Earth and it is yours for the taking" —Agnes de Mille
“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” —Twyla Tharp
“If you dance with your heart, your body will follow.” —Mia Michaels
“Dancers are made, not born.” —Mikhail Baryshnikov
“I see dance being used as communication between body and soul, to express what is too deep to find for words.” —Ruth St. Denis
“Dancing is bigger than the physical body. Think bigger than that. When you extend your arm, it doesn’t stop at the end of your fingers, because you’re dancing bigger than that. You’re dancing spirit.” —Judith Jamison
Photo courtesy of Dance Magazine archives