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canbelto

Martha Graham Dance Company at the Joyce

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Glad to see this review -- the company has been struggling with its direction ever since Graham died, and though they've managed to reclaim their original repertory, it sounds like they're still having a hard time with new works.

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On 4/3/2019 at 1:08 PM, canbelto said:

I was also there opening night, and I know what you mean about the lack of intensity in Herodiade. I was lucky enough to see it at City Center back around 2004 - about a year before they booted Capucilli & Dakins and brought in Eilber. I saw Fang-Yi Sheu and Katherine Crockett, both of whom were magnificent. Chien-Pott and Diamond-Walker danced well but there was no comparison to the forcefulness and simultaneous calm and intensity Sheu and Crockett brought to the stage.

I had never seen Secular Games before and I really enjoyed it. As for the new works - I thought I Used to Love You had some fun moments but it was pretty lite on actual dance. And the less said the better when it comes to Deo  - what a waste of time & talent.

I'm looking forward to the gala with 3 pieces by Graham - I can never see Errand or Diversion too often and it should be interesting to see Mearns in Ekstasis. I will close my eyes & ears for the Deo excerpt - at least its just an excerpt!

Edited by nysusan
edited to correct dancer's name

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On ‎4‎/‎4‎/‎2019 at 12:46 AM, sandik said:

the company has been struggling with its direction ever since Graham died, and though they've managed to reclaim their original repertory, it sounds like they're still having a hard time with new works.

I would argue that they were struggling long before Graham died.

The problem of new repertory is a problem the Graham company shares with the Limon company. Graham and Limon are rooted in a very particular type of dance theater. So much of this new stuff that the Graham and Limon companies commission stands out like a sore thumb in relation to the heritage works because the newer works are rooted in a completely different sensibility.

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And that is a problem that many repertories face.  As time moves forward and styles morph, we find ourselves looking at older works as examples of their period, but not examples of current possibilities.  And so those works become "vintage" or "heritage" -- a separate part of the repertory, rather than an element in a living organism.  There are a few dancers and ensembles that specialize in these older works in the modern/contemporary dance world, but ballet doesn't seem to cultivate that specialty.  Ironically enough, I think the Trocks often do the best job of performing older works as they were made to be danced.

Miliosr is right in pointing out that Graham is not alone in this.  The Limon company still manages to work as an ensemble, and does try to maintain their repertory, but has had a hard time finding works they can add to that collection.  But think of all the works that aren't being actively maintained, that we are in danger of losing -- we are indeed in a fraught position.

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