New York City is the dance capital of the world! This week we have modern masters in Manhattan, Hip- Hop Downtown, and Burlesque in Brooklyn. Here are a few events guaranteed to keep you Out and About.Continue reading
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
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
Martha Graham had a fondness for Greek literature and mythology, and utilized these larger than life characters and themes as a source for inspiration. If we were to describe the present Martha Graham Dance Company using a figure from antiquity it would definitely be the Phoenix. The death of Graham, a nasty legal battle for control of work and the changing public attitude toward “how modern was modern dance” seemed to predict the final curtain call for the venerable dance company.
So many institutions struggled to survive after the death of the company’s name sake and major artistic voice, unfortunately many were not able to redefine their mission and are now just a memory. The Graham Company has found a way to not only redefine, and like the Phoenix, to rise with a renewed vigor. Through innovative programming, thoughtful reconstructions and exciting new commissions the Martha Graham Dance Company is once again making a bold artistic statement.
After what can only be described as a triumphant return to New York City Center last year, the company will begin their 2015 New York Season Tuesday, February 10 at the Joyce Theater. The company pays tribute to Graham’s defining influence as an American Modernist with Shape&Design, a program highlighting the sculptural and architectural aspects of choreography by Graham and others. The expanded season, which runs through February 22, will offer 14 performances over twelve days.
A Conversation With Janet Eilber- Artistic Director Martha Graham Dance Company
Panorama and Chronicle, Graham classics that set the standard for geometric force, are featured, along with Embattled Garden and Errand into the Maze, masterworks with evocative sets by Isamu Noguchi. Shape&Design includes recent works by renowned choreographers Nacho Duato, Andonis Foniadakis, and Annie-B Parson. The company celebrates the 85th anniversary of Graham’s iconic solo Lamentation with the world premiere of four new Lamentation Variations, choreographed by Kyle Abraham, Michelle Dorrance, Liz Gerring, and Sonya Tayeh.
The performance schedule:
Program A: Feb 11, 15 at 7:30pm; Feb 12, 20-21 at 8pm; Feb 22 at 2pm – Satyric Festival Song, Embattled Garden, Lamentation Variations (including pieces by Kyle Abraham and Sonya Tayeh), Rust, Chronicle
Program B: Feb 17, 22 at 7:30pm; Feb 13-14, 19 at 8pm – Lamentation Variations (including pieces by Michelle Dorrance and Liz Gerring), Errand Into the Maze, The Snow Falls in the Winter, Echo. Each B Program will open with Essential Shape&Design: Feb 13 – Deep Song and Panorama Feb 14, 17 – Frontier and “Steps in the Street” Feb 19, 22 – Deep Song and Primitive Mysteries (Excerpt)
Program C: Feb 15, 21 at 2pm; Feb 18 at 7:30pm – Lamentation, Embattled Garden, At Summer’s Full, Errand Into the Maze, Diversion of Angels
The Gala performance honoring Frank Gehry and Peter Arnell will take place on Tuesday February 10. The program will include Steps in the Street with stage design by Frank Gehry, Shape&Design- a film by Peter Arnell, Misty Copeland in At Summer’s Full and the World Premiere of all four Lamentation Variations by Kyle Abraham, Michelle Dorrance, Liz Gerring, and Sonya Tayeh. A Gala dinner will follow at IAC HQ, featuring Diane von Furstenberg’s Dress The Kick. For Gala tickets contact the Martha Graham Dance Company for tickets to the Gala Performance on Tuesday, February 10. For more information, email email@example.com or call 212-229-9200.
In Photo: 1) PeiJu Chien-Pott in Lamentation 2) Xiaochuan Xie in Annie-B Parson’s The Snow Falls in the Winter 3) PeiJu Chien-Pott in Martha Graham’s Errand into the Maze
Photo Credit: 1&3) Hibbard Nash 2)Brigid Pierce
To view Graham’s masterwork Appalachian Spring click below:
Martha Graham once said, “Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.” The reason truly memorable performances reach across the footlight to connect with the audience, is because the performer is imbued with something extra. It is an almost unexplainable sharing that takes place from one soul, one spirit, to the members of audience. It is an honesty that transcends artistic discipline, language and occasionally even time. When I think of artists who have this special gift of communication, I think of Lloyd Knight
Knight is a soloist with the Martha Graham Dance Company. During his seven-year association with the company he has demonstrated a stalwart commitment and dedication to his craft and artistry. He returns to the stage this season after a year of recovering from an injury. Knight approached his physical rehabilitation with same resolute determination that has distinguished him as an artist on the ascent, and he is back this season performing the choreography he describes simply as “art”.
Born in England Knight was reared in Miami, Florida. In middle school a teacher got him to try a dance class, and he was hooked. He trained at the Miami Conservatory of Ballet, and later attended the renowned New World School of the Arts where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
Knight adapted well to the long hours and rigorous training at New World School of the Arts, and he performed leading roles in Jose Limon’s There is a Time, Merce Cunningham’s Inlets II, and Donald McKayle’s Rainbow ’Round My Shoulder. It was also at the New World School of the Arts he was introduced to the choreography and technique of Martha Graham.
His strong technique, pliant physique and natural stage presence gave him the opportunity to excel in many styles of dance; but his inner muse was drawn to Graham. He auditioned for the Graham Company while a senior at New World School of the Arts, and literally walked down the aisle at graduation and into the Martha Graham Dance Company. Over the past seven years he has worked at mastering the Graham style with a passion it’s founder would have been proud to see.
In 2009 only four years after joining the company Knight was promoted to Soloist. He has performed in many of Graham’s seminal works including Errand into the Maze; and inthe roles of the snake in Embattled Garden, and the preacher in what is perhaps Graham’s most recognizable work Appalachian Spring. It is little wonder that Dance Magazine named Knight one of the “Top 25 Dancers to Watch in 2010”.
The 2012 season of the Martha Graham Dance Company will begin on March 13 at the Joyce Theater. The company will revive Graham’s 1939 comic work Every Soul is a Circus. This work marked the first appearance of Merce Cunningham, who became the second male dancer (after Erick Hawkins) to join the Graham Company. In this season Knight will perform the role originally choreographed for Cunningham. Welcome back Lloyd Knight we wish you an inspired year, as we know your dancing will continue to inspire us.
(This article was originally posted February 29, 2012 for Harlem World Magazine)
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