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Commentary - Martha Graham Dance Company
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Roberta Zlokower
June 9, 2005
Originally Published on

I am saddened and shocked to learn of the professional termination of two leading, longtime voices in the international, Modern Dance community, Terese Capucilli and Christine Dakin, Artistic Directors of the Martha Graham Dance Company. has been reviewing, interviewing, and photographing the Graham Company for several years and has always been in awe of the Company's resilience and determination, in the face of logistical and financial obstacles these past several years. The Graham Company has continued to present the powerfully unique works in Martha Graham's choreographic repertoire, under the leadership of two of Ms. Graham's protegees, Ms. Dakin and Ms. Capucilli, whom I have had the honor to see dance, both under Ms. Graham and incredibly in current and recent seasons. Their dance is as dynamic as their voice and vision.

I certainly hope that the Board of Directors of the Graham Company will consider the passion and need in the dance community for authentic Graham repertoire and possibly re-think this precipitous decision, which could dissolve Graham inspired performances and Graham technique in dance education. To read our coverage of the Graham Company click here. A personal statement sent directly to us from Terese Capucilli and Christine Dakin follows.

Statement from Terese Capucilli and Christine Dakin

June 2, 2005

For three decades with the Martha Graham Dance Company, we have danced for Martha, been Associate Artistic Directors, Artistic Directors, taken the Company through a boycott to win the rights to dance Martha's work and struggled to revive the Company in the face of ongoing legal and financial challenges. Our allegiance to Martha Graham's great work and the quality of our own work is well known.

As Artistic Directors we were charged to bring the Company back to artistic and professional excellence. We trained the dancers, drew together a brilliant technical and support staff, rebuilt the repertory and reputation and increased the bookings of the Company while instituting new efficiencies. We are thankful for the incredible artistry and commitment of artists, dancers and technical staff of the Company along with the many extraordinary people in the Center who supported our vision, to bring Martha's work back to the stage with new brilliance. It is our honor to have created and led this team with the support of the Board of Trustees of the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance.

The Center has recently announced a plan for reconfiguring and restructuring in order to stabilize its costs and address financial pressures. We feel that there were alternatives that addressed the fiscal realities while not risking the hard-won continuity, consistency and artistry that the Company had finally attained.

The Board of Trustees had every right to choose an artistic director who offered to lead the Center in a direction they are comfortable with. However, if the Center needed a restructuring, it would have been in the best interest of the Company and respectful of our experience and accomplishments to have had a deliberative process before it was presented as a crisis. Those of us with the most experience in running a dance company were not given a real opportunity to address the Board's requirements and the Center proceeded to restructure. On May 19th, 2005 our employment as Artistic Directors of the Martha Graham Dance Company was terminated.

Like Martha's, our greatest pleasure is the work: directing the dancers' artistic growth in the studio and realizing Martha's art on stage. It is, for us, a great sadness that it will no longer be our vision that leads the Company into the future. We have spent our lives committed to Martha's work and seeing it live. We remain hopeful that somehow we can contribute to its future.


For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at