This has been Martha Graham week in New York. Every year or two the Graham company bravely flings itself at us, living out its dream that things can be again as they once were. Alas, they can’t. To begin with, Graham as a creative force was a thing of the past long before she herself was a thing of the past. And then, in total fury mode, she expelled from her company the magnificent dancers who should have been the keepers of the flame. Today, the dancers are not on this level—they’re highly capable, but they’re not larger than life the way Graham’s own dancers seemed to be. The only real exception has been Fang-Yi Sheu, and apart from special appearances, she’s now a thing of the past too.
After a dance week of occasional ups and all too many downs, Mark Morris came to the rescue with a program of three works previously unseen in New York, one a world premiere. The venue was his own elegant and spacious building practically opposite BAM, his habitual stomping ground, and the three new works were Read More
For those of us who care about Martha Graham, it’s been a bumpy ride.
I got on board in 1958, the year of Graham’s full-evening dance-drama Clytemnestra, the first work of hers I ever saw. To some Graham purists it was suspect—“a bit Hollywood,” as Arlene Croce put it. To me it was a Read More
Martha Graham, along with George Balanchine, is one of the two commanding figures in 20th-century American dance. For those much younger than I am, her genius as a performer will have to be taken on faith-and on the always-suspect evidence of film. What will last, if things go well, is her genius as a choreographer, Read More
Santa’s on his way, and that means the Alvin Ailey crew have checked in at the City Center for their annual five-week rave-up. And that means 20-odd performances of the company’s bread-and-butter piece, Revelations, which the audience starts applauding even before anything’s happened. Luckily, things then do happen, and when they go right, Revelations, however Read More
To go to the Limón Dance Company is to find yourself in a prelapsarian world—the world of Modern Dance as it was imagined and embodied by the Founders: Martha Graham and, in particular, Doris Humphrey and her protégé and colleague José Limón, who carried the torch of high seriousness and high ideals until he died, Read More
There’s no point pretending that all of Martha Graham’s pieces are equally strong. Because her choreographic career was so long-extending over 70 years-and because she changed direction so deliberately (and sometimes self-destructively), there’s a wide disparity between her finest work and her throwaways. The question facing the new Graham company is which pieces to bring Read More
Considering the traumas-psychological, financial and legal-that the Martha Graham Dance Company has recently undergone, it’s a miracle that it has pulled off the coherent two-week season that just ended at the Joyce. The one-night stand at City Center last May was a hint and a promise of what might be, but this season was the Read More
On the morning of Saturday, Feb. 1, Tom Wolfe got a phone call from NBC’s Today show. “I had just gotten up,” he said. “They said, ‘Can you come on and talk about the shuttle?’” He was confused. “At first, I thought they were talking about the shuttle between Washington and Boston. I had no Read More
After Scandals and Wrangles,
The Return of Martha Graham
The sense of occasion was so intense at the City Center, where the Martha Graham Dance Company held a one-night stand on May 9, that the actual dancing was something of an anticlimax. When the curtain rose on Noguchi’s great, glittering metal construct for Seraphic Read More