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Graham 2 Presents Its New York City Season at the Martha Graham Studio Theater
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Graham 2 Presents Its New York City Season at the Martha Graham Studio Theater

- Offstage with the Dancers: Special Events


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Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance
(Graham School Website)

Graham 2
(Graham II Website)
New York City Season

At
Martha Graham Studio Theater
55 Bethune Street, 11th Floor
NYC, NY 10014
212.229.9200
info@marthagraham.org

The Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance
www.marthagraham.org
Artistic Director: Janet Eilber
Graham Center Exec. Director: LaRue Allen
Graham II Artistic Director: Virginie Mécène

Dancers:
Jaclyn Rea, Gildas Lemonnier, Constance Dolph, Stephanie Fuentes, Charlotte Landreau, Vera Peganin, Denise Steiner, Anja Zwetti, Alexandre Balmain, Adam Dickerson, Stelios Kefalas, Timothy Kochka, Rafael Molina, Brice Payet

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 31, 2014


(See More Graham Company Reviews)

Program:
Night Chant (Excerpt): Choreography by Martha Graham, Costumes by Halston and Martha Graham, Music by R. Carlos Nikai, Set by Isamu Noguchi.

The Virgin Queen (Edited version): Choreography by Darshan Singh Bhuller, Projections by Kit Monkman & Tom Wexler, Costumes by Blair Brown and New World School of the Arts, Miami, Music includes “Her Majesty” (Beatles), “Chromatic Galliard”, “Tower Hill” (Sophie Yates), “Di Sei Soprani” (William Daman), “Quemadmodum a 6 (Taverner)” (Hespèrion XX, Jordi Savall), “God Save the Queen” (The Sex Pistols).

Forest (Excerpt): Choreography by Robert Cohan, Sound by Brian Hodgson, Costumes by Norberto Chiesa, Staged by Darshan Singh Bhuller.

Temptations of the Moon: Choreography by Martha Graham, Costumes by Halston, Music by Béla Bartók.


I was delighted to join Graham 2 and its dedicated Artistic Director, whom I call a friend, Virginie Mécène. Mostly, I was here tonight to experience the notable progress of this Graham second company, and to observe, myself, some rising stars, who will eventually join the Martha Graham Dance Company. The photos below, taken in a very dark, downtown Studio Theater on Bethune Street, speak to the impressive talent coming up in the Graham ranks. Moreover, Ms. Mécène not only presented two rarely seen works from the 1980’s, late Graham repertory, but also two newer works by Darshan Singh Bhuller and Robert Cohan. Mr. Bhuller was choreographer, dancer, rehearsal director, and teacher with London Contemporary Dance Theatre from 1979 to 1994, where Robert Cohan served as Artistic Director. Mr. Bhuller was also Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre 2002-2006. Mr. Cohan was a dancer with the Graham Company from 1946 to 1957 and a Co-Director with Bertram Ross in the 1960’s. He is founding Artistic Director of London’s The Place, a school and performance center for contemporary dance. Both choreographers contributed fascinating works to tonight’s event.

The Graham 2 ensemble was outstanding in Graham’s 1988 Night Chant, with its Native American motif. Wild bird calls and pan flute filled the studio in an exceptional recording of the R. Carlos Nikai score. Isamu Noguchi’s tree seemed powerful, with a full moon illuminated in sight. Costumes replicating Halston and Graham’s design flowed like ancient wraps over leotards. There were cartwheels, women tossed by male partners, elevated leaps, slapped thighs, and women’s arms held like circular chains, flapping like wings. Flexed wrists and pelvic thrusts were indicative of the Graham dance genre. Corn-like objects and a percussive shaker were evocative of the harvest, with a flat, round drum passed from man to woman. The leads were Jaclyn Rea and Gildas Lemonnier. When the men walked in line, their arms held like open rectangles, and the women bent forward, their arms stiffly crossed, Native American, ritualistic motifs ensued.

Amazingly, as I prefer to see Graham works when attending a Graham event, as the repertory is so vast, and so many works are rarely seen onstage, I was mesmerized by Darshan Bhuller’s 2011 The Virgin Queen. This piece employs new media, and although dancers were placed rear stage, far from where the audience was seated, the bright, projected backdrops meshed with the choreography to depict astounding images of Elizabeth I’s castle, boudoir, groomed trees., and other related, iconic drawings. This is definitely new media which will find its way into more dance performances in the not distant future. Some of the projections were solid red moon, plus endless, stenciled walkways with repeat, pointed shapes of shrubbery. Themes of jealousy, revenge, violence, lust, and the full regality of the crown appeared through interwoven, visual drama, as projections and dancers joined forces.

Robert Cohan’s 1977 Forest was a duet, performed by Charlotte Landreau and Gildas Lemonnier. These two dancers, who appeared in all four of tonight’s productions, surely have a bright future in the Graham Dance Company. With the sound of wind and much stillness, this breathtaking piece unfolded. Ms. Landreau and Mr. Lemonnier danced in solo, with raised leg and swirling shapes, as well as in duo, with hands wrapped behind and about each other, as Brian Hodgson’s sound enveloped the studio. For this piece, dancers were stage front, where one could appreciate Norberto Chiesa’s forestial-colored tights (Mr. Lemonnier) and unitard (Ms. Landreau). At one moment lighting may be dim for one partner stage right, and at another moment, the other partner would move in dimness, while one was always spotlighted, an ethereal effect. Mr. Bhuller staged his mentor’s work, which is an excerpt from a longer work.

The final presentation, Graham’s 1986 Temptations of the Moon, the only full-length dance work of the evening, has Bartók’s “Suite for Dance” as its score. Halston’s elegant, flowing, silky, long dresses are colored in pastels. Men are in pastel tights. Charlotte Landreau was highlighted, this time in Crescent Moon, and Gildas Lemonnier danced in “Velvet Night’. The music is rapturous and exotic, with Middle Eastern influences. The crescent shaped moon and imagery of falling stars seemed to bring out magical intensity in the primal, yet classically drawn choreography. Once again arms create open rectangles, women are lifted on high, dancers create ensemble circles, and Ms. Landreau lifts her leg straight like a branch, reaching from her torso. The Graham 2 ensemble is in fine form and filled with energy and personality, just like that of their namesake, Martha Graham. Kudos to all. .



Graham 2 Cast in
Martha Graham's "Night Chant"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Martha Graham's "Night Chant"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Martha Graham's "Night Chant"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Martha Graham's "Night Chant"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Martha Graham's "Night Chant"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Martha Graham's "Night Chant"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Martha Graham's "Night Chant"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Martha Graham's "Night Chant"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Darshan Singh Bhuller's "The Virgin Queen"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Darshan Singh Bhuller's "The Virgin Queen"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Darshan Singh Bhuller's "The Virgin Queen"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Darshan Singh Bhuller's "The Virgin Queen"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Robert Cohan's "Forest"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Robert Cohan's "Forest"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Robert Cohan's "Forest"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Robert Cohan's "Forest"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Martha Graham's "Temptations of the Moon"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Martha Graham's "Temptations of the Moon"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Martha Graham's "Temptations of the Moon"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Martha Graham's "Temptations of the Moon"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Martha Graham's "Temptations of the Moon"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Martha Graham's "Temptations of the Moon"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Martha Graham's "Temptations of the Moon"t
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Graham 2 Cast in
Martha Graham's "Temptations of the Moon"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net