Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Indisputably Martha!


  • Please log in to reply
No replies to this topic

#1 Leigh Witchel

Leigh Witchel

    Editorial Advisor

  • Editorial Advisor
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,466 posts

Posted 10 May 2002 - 12:03 AM

Did anyone else go?

I have no depth of viewing for Graham's work, so it's difficult for me to be analytical about it. From an inexperienced eye, it seemed that Seraphic Dialogue did not hold up as well in this performance as Embattled Garden or especially Night Journey. I found Christine Dakin very musical.

The amusing thing to me as a ballet goer was trying to transpose what I know to view the choreography. It isn't just knowing steps, but knowing their effect. I feel like I understand not just what a tendu is in a ballet, but why it's there; what the intended effect is. I have to watch more Graham to get the hang of why she uses her language (why all those little springy jumps in place, for instance?) rather than what the language is.

It was heartening that the house seemed packed and the audience very vocal in sympathy. The curtain went up to applause and cheers; people seemed awfully glad to have this New York institution back. Francis Mason, the chairman of the board, made an intermission speech at curtain that alluded (perhaps a bit too overtly) to the legal cloud surrounding the company. I'm not sure that it made for the most discriminating viewing, but that really was beside the point tonight.

The program was Seraphic Dialogue (a work about Joan of Arc) "Conversation of Lovers" from Acts of Light, Embattled Garden, Night Journey (which is available in a very good film with Graham in the role of Jocasta) and "Steps in the Street" from Chronicle.

A final question - Graham makes use of a device in Seraphic Dialogue we see more than once, the fragmenting of a single character into several facets of their personality. A central Joan of Arc views three other dancers, Joan as Maid, Joan as Warrior and Joan as Martyr. It's a narrative device Graham uses often and so have many other choreographers (sometimes too often. Bejart had four Yukio Mishimas on stage in his ballet "M", all of them indistinguishable.)

Can the historians among us search back a bit to think of the origins of this narrative construct? Does it predate psychology or is it something that entered literature and art with Freud?


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):