[ via skidmore.edu ]
The internationally acclaimed Martha Graham Dance Company conducted a highly ambitious summer dance residency at Skidmore May 26â€“June 21. For starters, the Graham Company, recognized as the worldâ€™s oldest modern-dance troupe, used the residency to reconstruct sections of its founderâ€™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 dancersâ€™ memories and archival performance footage, the company reset the complex, three-act dance work on its current dancers.
Dance students participating in the residencyâ€™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 collegeâ€™s airy, bright dance studios. They also performed an early Graham group work, Panorama, in the companyâ€™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 firstâ€”a specially designed dance media workshop, in which student documentary teams captured highlights of the choreographic reconstruction process for use on the dance companyâ€™s new Web site, clytemnestraproject.com. As the students learned Graham technique, composition, and repertory, they also documented their own and the companyâ€™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.
View Photos from the project