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Martha Graham Ensemble at Marymount Manhattan College
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Martha Graham Ensemble at Marymount Manhattan College

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Martha Graham Ensemble
(Graham Company and School Website)
Virginie Mécène: Ensemble Artistic Director
At
Theresa Lang Theater
Marymount Manhattan College


Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
Martha Graham: Founder, Dancer, Choreographer
LaRue Allen: Executive Director
Janet Eilber, Artistic Director
Virginie Mécène: Ensemble Artistic Director and Director of School
Jeff Griffin: General Manager
Anne Posluszny: Production Manager
Tim Cryan: Lighting Design
Bethany Roberge: Ensemble Manager
Kerville Jack, Susana Rojas: Costume Assts.

Ensemble Performers:

Dancers: Amélie Bénard, Jennifer Chapko, Holly Colino,
Jesse Factor, Antonio Pio Fini, Elizabeth Zoey Gillett,
Jean-René Homehr, Raphaëlle Kessedjian,
Heather McGinley, Samir M’Kirech, Lauren Newman

Invited Full-Time Students: Caterina Rago, Laure Duverger, Marine Ghielmetti,
Pauline Legras, Mayia Mina, Yoshito Sakaruba

And Young Artist Program Dancers


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 30, 2008


(See More Martha Graham Company Reviews)

En Dolor: Choreography by Ethel Winter, Original Music by Manuel de Falla, Music recreated by Robert Boston, Costumes by Armgard von Bardeleben.

Duet Suite (1962): Choreography by Martha Graham.
Legend of Judith, Reconstructed by Linda Hodes and Virginie Mécène, Music by Patrick Daugherty, Original lighting by Jean Rosenthal.
Stars Duet, Excerpt from “Canticle for Innocent Comedians” (1952), Original Music by Cameron McCosh, Music Recreated by Robert Boston.
Dancer’s World Duet, Excerpt from “Canticle for Innocent Comedians” (1952), Original Music by Cameron McCosh, Music Recreated by Robert Boston.
“Helen and Paris” (1958) from Clytemnestra, Music by Halim el-Dabh, Music played by Mijin Yung.

Satyric Festival Song (1932): Choreography and Costume by Martha Graham, Original Music by Imre Weisshaus, Music for Reconstruction by Fernando Palacios, Lighting for Reconstruction by David Finley.

“Ritual to the Sun” from Acts of Light (1981): Choreography by Martha Graham, Music by Carl Nielsen, Costumes by Halston and Martha Graham, Lighting by Beverly Emmons,.

Temptation (Young Artist Program): Choreography by Eva Perrotta, Rehearsal Assistant: Delia Ahouandjinou, Music by Tom Waits.

Rush Hour: Choreography by Robert Battle, Restaged by Erika Pujic, Music by John Mackey, Original Lighting by Howell Binkley, Redesigned by Buck Wilmore, Costumes by Linda Fitzgerald.

Les Jeux des Anges: Choreography by Virginie Mécène, Music by Eleni Karaindrou.

Eternal Return: Choreography by Caterina Rago, Music by Yahn Thiersen.

“Prelude to Action” from Sketches from Chronicle (1936): Choreography and Costumes by Martha Graham, Music by Wallingford Riegger, Original Lighting by Jean Rosenthal.

It was a delight to see that the Graham Company Ensemble is currently in such good hands, that is, those of Virginie Mécène, its Artistic Director. Ms. Mécène presented a two-night program at Marymount Manhattan College to showcase the talents and skills of the upcoming Graham Company dancers, including students and young artists. This program included works by Martha Graham, dating from as early as 1932, and it’s critical that these works be performed by young dancers, in order that the specific Graham techniques and philosophy be internalized and practiced for another generation. Ms. Mécène has danced with the Graham Company since 1994 and re-stages Graham works for universities and schools across the country.

En Dolor, a solo, was emotionally danced by Jennifer Chapko in a long, slender, black-red dress, very Graham indeed. Ethel Winter choreographed this work, which contained the requisite Graham contractions and releases, in the catharsis of grief. The Duet Suite, choreographed by Graham, included four excerpts from other works, and it began with a classically infused electronic score. There were surreal lifts and youthful intensity, building in energy, rapture, and partnered connections. The performers were Lauren Newman and Jean-René Homehr (“Legend of Judith”), Holly Colino and Samir M’Kirech (“Stars Duet”), Jesse Factor and Raphaëlle Kessedjian (“Dancer’s World Duet”), and Heather McGinley and Antonio Pio Fini (“Helen and Paris” from Clytemnestra).

Satyric Festival Song is always joyful, kinetic, and engaging, as the dancer shakes her hair and body about in a long, clinging yellow dress. It was danced by Amélie Bénard, with energy from her torso, just as Graham meant it to be danced. Graham’s Ritual to the Sun was performed by Lauren Newman and Antonio Pio Fini as Chief Celebrants, with the Ensemble performing as well. In yellow unitards, arms outstretched toward the sun, solo, duo, and ensemble dancers were mesmerizing, as the music built to rolling crescendos. The images of partnered lifts were ethereal and elegant. Temptation, the Young Artist Program performance, had thirteen dancers in red tops and black pants gyrating and leaping to sensational soul. The choreography meshed some group huddles to energized jumps.

Robert Battle’s Rush Hour, performed by seven Ensemble dancers, in military gray pants and shirts, against a red backdrop, exuded with propulsion, as did the John Mackey atonal score. Ms. Mécène choreographed Les Jeux des Anges, one of my favorite works tonight, which was imbued with deep shadows on chiffony costumes. Eleven dancers created spiritual motifs, the most memorable of which was a wing-like arm expanse. Eternal Return was choreographed by Caterina Rago, one of the Graham students, who also danced her work. Also dancing were Antonio Pio Fini and Jean-René Homehr. A long white scarf figured in this interesting piece, as the three dancers became attached and detached, figuratively and literally.

A standard work in the Graham Ensemble repertoire is Graham’s Prelude to Action, from the 1936 anti-war masterpiece, Chronicle. The “Unity-Pledge to the Future” segment was led by Heather McGinley, and she was joined by eleven Ensemble dancers. Her dance, in a long, black-white dress, is renowned for its pathos and its foreboding sense of tragedy. The Ensemble raced sideways with fists clenched and knees bent, driven as if by a storm. Kudos to Virginie Mécène, and kudos to the Martha Graham Ensemble.



"En Dolor"
Choreography by Ethel Winter
Courtesy of Oleg Kikin



"Legend of Judith"
Choreography by Martha Graham
Courtesy of Oleg Kikin



"Dancer's World Duet"
Choreography by Martha Graham
Courtesy of Oleg Kikin



Helen and Paris from "Clytemnestra"
Choreography by Martha Graham
Courtesy of Oleg Kikin



"Les Jeux des Anges"
Choreography by Virginie Mecene
Courtesy of Oleg Kikin



"Les Jeux des Anges"
Choreography by Virginie Mecene
Courtesy of Oleg Kikin



"Les Jeux des Anges"
Choreography by Virginie Mecene
Courtesy of Oleg Kikin



"Les Jeux des Anges"
Choreography by Virginie Mecene
Courtesy of Oleg Kikin



"Les Jeux des Anges"
Choreography by Virginie Mecene
Courtesy of Oleg Kikin



"Prelude to Action" from "Sketches from Chronicle"
Choreography by Martha Graham
Courtesy of Inga Moren



"Prelude to Action" from "Sketches from Chronicle"
Choreography by Martha Graham
Courtesy of Inga Moren





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