I was lucky enough to get to help organize this trip to the Joyce Theater in NYC and share my love of Martha Graham dance with my fellow Collective members. It was a great experience all around. Here are my thoughts on a few of the dances we saw!
Diversion of Angels
I love pretty much everything about this dance – the incredible control of the woman in red, who did a series of precise and yet fluid poses with her leg impossibly high in the air, the synchronized leaps of the male dancers across the stage, and the final pose of the woman in white, her head framed by a halo of the other dancers’ outstretched hands. Martha Graham described this dance as depicting different stages of love, from the young love of the woman in yellow to the passion of the woman in red to the mature love of the woman in white, and I thought this was really well expressed by the different movements of each and the interactions of all three with each other. It was also incredible because we were sitting close enough to the stage that we could see the sweat flying off the dancers as they jumped and hear them breathing, which made the skill and effort each dancer was putting into their work so tangible. From my experience taking a Martha Graham technique class, I remember my teacher stressing how important it was to be fully exerting oneself in each moment–each movement is purposeful and precise and tight, without as much as the angle of an arm or the tilt of the head left up to chance.
This was perhaps my favorite dance of the night. It was raw and powerful, with slightly discordant music and lots of long, reaching, straining movements. The soloist commanded attention effortlessly, and her sweeping skirt, black lined with red, was both a familiar characteristic of Martha Graham’s choreography and also a nice theatrical, dramatic touch. I feel like this is a dance I’d like to see and think about again, and one that has the potential to mean a lot of different things depending on what I’m thinking about at the time.
This was a new dance (not choreographed by Martha Graham) and it consisted of a series of pairs of dancers, each with different flavors of choreo and music. I thought the way the dancers interacted with each other was amazing–they were totally comfortable and in sync with their partners. The dance was also technically impressive, as it included many almost acrobatic elements where one dancer would lift the other over their shoulder or above their head. I didn’t quite understand the flow of one piece to another, or the meaning of the title, but I really enjoyed the creative and intimate choreography and the way lighting and costumes were used to set a different mood for each little vignette.