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May O'Donnell


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#1 Hjete

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Posted 10 January 2004 - 09:16 PM

I ran a regular internet search to find info on May O'Donnell technique, but I didn't find what I'm looking for, so I thought this would be a better place from which I'll probably be pointed in the right direction! :D Where can I find more info about May O'Donnell and her technique? I took a contemporary class the other day from a dancer who is a former principal with her company and I loved it, so I'm interested in learning more...(esp. after taking a contemporary class in college that I wasn't too thrilled with :( I want to explore a whole lot more before I say I don't like contemp :jawdrop: ) :innocent: Thanks!

#2 sandik

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 08:47 PM

I also studied with one of O'Donnell's performers when I was in college -- the technique most closely resembled Graham, in its earlier versions, with some influence by Doris Humphrey. I don't know of anyone currently who teaches O'Donnell's work (though there may be practitioners out there), but if you are looking for something similar, you could look for someone Graham-ish. This technique isn't taught as widely now as it once was, so you may have to look at bit to find something. You don't mention where in Ohio you're working, but as you know there are extensive dance programs at both Ohio State and Ohio University -- try asking someone on the faculty there to recommend a studio or a specific teacher that might fit your needs.

#3 Paul Parish

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 12:11 AM

Try Contacting Frank Shawl, of hte Shawl-Anderson dance studio in Berkeley, CA --2704 Alcatraz Ave, Berkeyley, CA94704; 510 654-4921.

Frank iis a very important dance teacher in the Bay Area. He danced in ODonnell's company before he came here, and he's very proud of his connection to her. He teachers her work from time to time, in the USA and Europe. I'm sure he'd be willing to happy to help spread the word about her work.

#4 fendrock

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 05:17 AM

I'm wondering if you took class with Sabatino Verlezza or Barbara Allegra of the Dancing Wheels company, which I believe is based in Ohio?

I know they both danced with O'Donnell, and might be able to tell you how best to train more in this technique

#5 Hjete

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 07:12 PM

YEP! :D I took with Sabatino last summer and with Barbara for the past two weeks. (They teach at my old ballet school.) The trouble is that I'm in college near Columbus now, so I can't study with them when I'm at school. However, it's nice to know that there's modern out there that I enjoy...maybe I'll be able to study with them more in the future :thumbsup: or take Graham or some related technique. (By the way, the Verlezzas are no longer with Dancing Wheels. I believe they teach at Kent State University, though.) Thanks for the help! :)

#6 Guest_doublec_*

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 09:08 AM

Yes, for this year the Verlezzas are teaching at Kent State. Barbara and Sabatino set May's "Dance Energies" from 1959 on the Kent Dance Ensemble for their spring concert April 1-4. There is very little information online about May, but Marian Horosko is in the process of writing a book about May. I am also in the process of researching her life and legacy for a Dance History research paper. I have interviewed the Verlezzas and have done extensive research. Looking online, it helps to search for "May O'Donnell + modern dance." You won't find a lot of information about her life, but you will find numerous people who have studied and/or performed with her. As for those you can study the technique with, those are few and far between. Other than the Verlezzas, there are only one or two others out there - one being in the Pheonix, Arizona area.

#7 Guest_doublec_*

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 09:13 AM

Oh yes, and for those who were not aware, May just passed away Feb. 7th. We will be honoring her at the Kent Dance Ensemble spring concert at Kent State. She was 97. Barbara and Sabatino got to visit her over semester break before she passed, and she was very excited to know that her work was being carried on and shared with younger generations. She was the only Graham company memeber to be invited back after leaving. May, Merce Cunningham, and Erik Hawkins worked in collaboration with Martha on "Appalachian Spring." It was a piece conceived by all four, not just Martha (who is credited for the work). Just some fun facts. I have planty more if you're ever interested.

#8 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 09:52 AM

doublec, welcome to Ballet Talk and thanks for joining in!

#9 Hjete

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 09:31 PM

Thanks doublec for that information. If you have a chance to briefly describe some of the main defining characteristics/principles of May's work, I'd love to hear them (just mainly what her technique stressed). I only got to get a small taste of it with the Verlezzas, but what I've done and seen, I love! :helpsmilie:


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