Graham Dance Company
‘Deep Song,’ ‘Diversion
of Angels,’ ‘Errand Into the Maze,’ ‘Embattled Garden,’ ‘Chronicle’
October 23, 2003
-- Meany Theater, Univesity of Washington, Seattle
I am a Graham acolyte
to the Nth degree, so it was especially thrilling to be at the opening
night performance of the Graham Company's first tour and major performance
outside of New York State since the company's 2000-02 hiatus. Presented
by the University of Washington's "World Dance Series," the
Martha Graham Dance Company presented samplings of works that have been
revived over the course of the past few months, following the court decision
regarding ownership of Martha's works. These dances ranged from the 1936
“Chronicle” to the 1958 “Embattled Garden.” Also included were the solo,
“Deep Song” (1937), “Errand Into the Maze” (1947), and the 1948 group
work, “Diversion of Angels.”
When the curtain went up on Christine Dakin (principal dancer and co-AD)
for “Deep Song,” the audience broke out into welcoming applause. This
was applause representing gratitude and appreciation for Martha's work
combined with thanks for the Company's survival and hope for its future.
Ms. Dakin performed this powerful reaction to the Spanish Civil War with
a kind of intensity, technique and commitment that was most pleasing to
see and on the level that I would expect of this long-time Graham dancer
and current co-director.
Surprisingly, the least effective piece on the program was the one that
is considered the most kinetic – “Diversion of Angels.” The dancers looked
nervous and the piece appeared under-prepared and a little sloppy. This
is a tough piece and requires the same kind of rigor as the "masterpieces"
do. Part of this may be opening night jitters and less experienced dancers.
However, in terms of interpretation, I would have liked Katherine Crockett
(white) to have been more like herself. She impressed me (and this may
not be correct or fair, but it's what I saw), as a pale Peggy Lyman imitation.
Katherine Crockett doing Peggy Lyman doing Mary Hinkson. How to effectively
pass along roles is an issue. I would have liked Virginie Mécène (red)
to have lit up the stage more and it was disappointing that the Yellow
Couple missed a lift. Even so, the piece was a joy to look at and I overheard
many murmurs amongst enthusiastic audience members who clearly stated
they really like "that!"
think the evening really began to come into its own and the Graham theatre
with “Errand Into the Maze.” This Minotaur and Labyrinth metaphor for
a woman conquering her fear, really deploys the Graham components well,
including the whipping of the back for the woman and shows Martha's great
sense of theatre, drama, and compositional sense -- extremes mixed together
deliciously. Alessandra Prosperi and Christophe Jeannot gave their all
as Ariadne and the Minotaur.
”Embattled Garden” was just that! One of the very famous Graham works
that I had not previously seen, it was fresh and exciting and very well
danced and composed. I really enjoyed the depiction of how Lilith and
the "Stranger" (serpent?) seduced Eve and ultimately brought
down Adam. One of Martha's best, group works and danced very, very well
by Miki Orihara as Eve, Tadej Brdnik as Adam, Lilith portrayed by Elizabeth
Auclair and The Stranger by Christophe Jeannot. The calibre of this quartet
I thinks represents some of the strongest and most mature dancers in the
makeup of today's Company.
”Chronicle” addresses contemporary issues of the 1930s that are with us
today, including homelessness, and is one of Martha's most stark, desperate
and grim works. Danced by Elizabeth Auclair, Miki Orihara and corps with
power and commitment and the kind of attack that I associate with the
Missed most of all, was live music. It's just not the same kind of visceral
and immediate response and theatre. I'm very pleased to have heard that
the MGDC's April season at City Center in New York will be have completely
live music. Hopefully, this will be more and more the case, even on tour.
It was exciting and thrilling to know and see that Martha's vision and
work and continuing and what good shape the Company is in and how warming
received they were in Seattle.
Edited by Jeff.
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