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Clytemnestra Project Wrap-Up

[ via skidmore.edu ]

The internationally acclaimed Martha Graham Dance Company conducted a highly ambitious summer dance residency at Skidmore May 26–June 21. For starters, the Graham Company, recognized as the world’s oldest modern-dance troupe, used the residency to reconstruct sections of its founder’s classic 1958 dance work, Clytemnestra, which will debut this October in Greece and at the Kennedy Center in December.

Working under the direction of Graham artistic director Janet Eilber and drawing on veteran dancers’ memories and archival performance footage, the company reset the complex, three-act dance work on its current dancers.

Dance students participating in the residency’s three-week intensive workshop had the unusual opportunity of joining the professional dancers in two public performances, starting with an open rehearsal in the college’s airy, bright dance studios. They also performed an early Graham group work, Panorama, in the company’s June 13 dance concert at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The SPAC performance, a headline event of the second annual SaratogaArtsFest, drew an enthusiastic audience and won whoops and ovations for the dancers.

The 37 student dancers also pioneered a dance-world first—a specially designed dance media workshop, in which student documentary teams captured highlights of the choreographic reconstruction process for use on the dance company’s new Web site, clytemnestraproject.com. As the students learned Graham technique, composition, and repertory, they also documented their own and the company’s work using video, photography, and blogs, working under the guidance of New York-based new-media consultant Jaki Levy and former Graham principal dancer Peter Sparling, a video and installation artist and maker of award-winning dance videos.

read Skidmore’s Scope ’08 for another summary

View Photos from the project


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