4/10/18 O&A NYC DANCE: Abdiel Jacobsen- Reaching Towards The Gods

By Walter Rutledge

Abdiel Jacobsen rise in the Martha Graham Dance Company is best described as meteoric. In true Graham drama, apprentice Jacobsen made his New York City company debut in 2012 performing Graham’s masterwork Errand In The Maze. Performing opposite internationally acclaimed Russian ballerina Diana Vishneva, his impressive debut endeared himself to both audiences and critics. Now a principal dancer with the Graham Company Jacobsen is looking forward to the New York City season April 11 through 14 at New York City Center. Continue reading

4/9/18 O&A NYC DANCE: Lloyd Knight- In His Zone

Lloyd Knight, principal dancer with Martha Graham Dance Company, is in his zone. He  joined the Graham Company in 2005 and was promoted to soloist in 2009. In 2014 hard work, diligence and appreciation for choreography Knight simply defines as, “art” was rewarded with a promotion to principal dancer.  On Wednesday April 11th the Martha Graham Dance Company will begin a four performance New York City season at New York City Center. O&A NYC Editor in Chief Walter Rutledge sat down with Lloyd for what has become our annual pre-season chat. Continue reading

4/8/18 O&A NYC IN MEMORARIUM: Donald McKayle (July 6, 1930 – April 7, 2018)- Rainbow Round My Shoulder with Mary Hinkson

Dancer, choreographer, educator and author Donald McKayle passed on April 7, 2018 at age 87.  In honor of this dance icon O&A NYC posts his 1959 masterwork, Rainbow Round My Shoulder. Continue reading

4/1/18 O&A NYC OUT AND ABOUT- WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK: Spring Break!!!!

Spring Break is here! And the city is abounding with activity “24- 7- 365”. We have art celebrating popular culture in Harlem. Ballet, modern and more throughout the city. Blockbuster and Indie film share the silver screen,  jazz to Motown grooves Midtown and the world’s most exotic cars hit the westside. Here are a few of the many events happening in the city that never sleeps guaranteed to keep you Out and About. Continue reading

12/29/17 (REPOST) O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: A Conversation With Dudley Williams Moderated By Jennifer Dunning (Part One)

On Thursday October 23, 2014 Dance critic and author Jennifer Dunning talked with Dudley Williams about his career that spans almost six decades. Clack Center NYC hosted A Conversation with Dudley Williams at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Bruno Walter Auditorium, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza at 6pm.. Williams was frank, funny and informative, discussing a wide range of his experiences with some of the world’s most renowned choreographers. 

Continue reading

(REPOST) 2/11/17 O&A NYC DANCE: Clive Thompson- The Graham Years

By Walter Rutledge

graham Jack Mitchell 001 copy

To celebrate the Martha Graham Dance Company New York Season- February 14th thru 26th at the Joyce O&A NYC Magazine reposts Clive Thompson- The Graham Years

The life of a bank clerk at the Government Savings Bank in Kingston, Jamaica was not going be Clive Thompson’s fate; he had been a performer for most of his life. Clive and his sister Norma had been childhood favorites in the local talent shows and were part of the “opening act” in Children’s Corner Club at the Saturday matinees. After seeing the Katherine Dunham Dance Company perform and a chance encounter with modern dance teacher Ivy Baxter he began formal dance classes. Continue reading

4/17/16 O&A NYC DANCE: Janet Eilber Discusses Appalachian Spring

By Walter Rutledge

Janet Eilber discusses Appalachian Spring -Graham 90th Season (1) 2016

During a recent interview with Martha Graham Dance Company Artistic Director Janet Eilber we discussed the collaboration between Martha Graham   and Isamu Noguchi on Appalachian Spring. AppalachianSpring1

Graham and Noguchi worked together over 20 sets for Graham over the course of three decades, including those for her series based on Greek myths; Cave of the Heart (1946), Errand into the Maze (1947), Night Journey (1947), Clytemnestra (1958), Alcestis (1960), Phaedra (1962), Circe (1963), and Cartege of Eagles (1966) Noguchi also designed the set for her biblical and religious themes, including Herodiade (1944), Judith (1950), Seraphic Dialogue (1955), and Embattled Garden (1958). Probably the most recognizable collaboration is for her movement manifesto on Americana Appalachian Spring (1944). 

Janet Eilber discusses Appalachian Spring

(Repost) April 1, 2014- Martha Graham: Appalachian Spring and Rite of Spring:

At first glance the Isamu Noguchi set, with its sparse flat look established the boundaries of the performance space. The “house” structure with the downstage “porch” set on a diagonal stops short of center stage. The flat fence placed downstage left, and the preacher’s pedestal set upstage on an angle from the fence completed the set design.

Graham Perspective

These configurations of objects create the converging lines; the lines that produce the classic perspective used by artists to direct the eye in paintings. Noguchi’s house mimics Brunelleschi’s drawing of perspective almost exactly. This is not an accident, but a conscience decision by Noguchi and Graham to subtly frame the choreography.

Most of the primary action takes place within the converging lines. Very little group choreography is designed behind the fence and nothing is set stage right of the house. Without obvious overkill Graham was able to effectively direct the viewer’s eye the primary movement conversion.

The close proximity of the downstage porch and fence to the audience builds closeness/empathy for the characters (especially the husband and wife). When these characters look out past the audience we can see the splendor of the open prairie on their faces. And we see it in the glorious “Technicolor” of our individual imaginations.

The universality of the experience extends beyond the American Prairie. This is the story of new beginnings, the optimism of youth, and the promise/hope for the future. Graham’s technical prowess creates a clear and unfettered moving picture, combine this with her ability to convey the humanistic elements of her characters and it becomes apparent why the public has endeared Appalachian Spring for over 70 years.

4/15/16 O&A NYC DANCE: Lloyd Knight Talks Night Journey

By Walter Rutledge

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Lloyd Knight will make his debut in the role of Oedipus in Martha Graham’s masterwork Night Journey on Friday April 15, 2016 during the New York City season of the Martha Graham Dance Company. O&A NYC Magazine had an opportunity to sit down with Knight, who will be the first African-American to dance the role, and talk to him about his preparation for the role.  Continue reading

4/14/16 O&A NYC DANCE: The Martha Graham Dance Company Begins 90th Anniversary Season Today

By Walter Rutledge

martha graham red dress-1

The Martha Graham Dance Company begins their 90th anniversary season today at New York City Center (131 West 55th Street). The company will present four extraordinary programs on Thursday April 14, Friday April 15, Saturday April 16 and Monday April 18, featuring four of Graham’s most acclaimed masterworks Chronicle (1933), Appalachian Spring (1944) Cave Of The Heart (1946), and Night Journey (1947). In addition to the Graham works company will present premieres by internationally acclaimed choreographers Marie Chouinard, Mats Ek, and Pontus Lidberg, and recent works by Nacho Duato and Andonis Foniadakis. Continue reading

(REPOST) 2/11/17 O&A NYC DANCE: Clive Thompson- The Graham Years

By Walter Rutledge

graham Jack Mitchell 001 copy

To celebrate the Martha Graham Dance Company February 14th thru 26th at the Joyce O&A NYC Magazine reposts Clive Thompson- The Graham Years

The life of a bank clerk at the Government Savings Bank in Kingston, Jamaica was not going be Clive Thompson’s fate; he had been a performer for most of his life. Clive and his sister Norma had been childhood favorites in the local talent shows and were part of the “opening act” in Children’s Corner Club at the Saturday matinees. After seeing the Katherine Dunham Dance Company perform and a chance encounter with modern dance teacher Ivy Baxter he began formal dance classes. Continue reading