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Martha Graham Dance Company takes its Political Dance Project To The Joyce Theater

Martha Graham Dance Company’s Political Dance Project, on display this week at The Joyce Theater in NYC, masterfully showcases the company’s ability to both honor it’s namesake (through the preservation of her work) and keep the “modern” in modern dance (by encouraging contemporary artists to create new works that blend seamlessly with modern dance classics).

Last night, I was fortunate enough to see one of the four programs the company is showcasing this week. It included a performance of Graham’s classic commentary on American values Appalacian Spring, and Dance Is A Weapon, which features a collection of dances created by Graham and some of her contemporary choreographers in the 1920s and 1930s. The dances in the collection are interspersed with a multimedia presentation designed to explain the historical events that inspired each of the pieces.

For me, the highlight of the evening was Carrie Ellmore-Tallitsch’s performance of Eve Gentry’s “Tenant of the Street.” The piece, part of Dance Is A Weapon, portrays a homeless woman who stares unflinchingly at the audience through the majority of the dance, daring them to look away. It was exquisitely uncomfortable. Want to check it out for yourself? The piece will be performed one more time during a matinee on Saturday, June 12.

About Colleen Bohen

I’m proud of my “comp kid” past! Dance meant everything to me when I was a kid, and I spent my happiest hours studying ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical and hip hop for 15 years at my local Long Island studio, L.A. Dance Studio, and competing with its company. I majored in journalism at Hofstra University, and save for an early stint with the student-run organization Danceworks, my dance career wound down just as my journalism career ramped up. Most of my attention was soon diverted to my work with the school’s newspaper, student magazine and an internship in NYC. After college, I spent a few years as a business journalist covering the toy and consumer electronics industries and now I’m ecstatic that I’ve found a way back to my first love—dance!
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