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The Buzz, 4-12: Same ol' Lamentation
Vision of the Latest Graham Apocalypse

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2006 The Dance Insider

Well, this is great. Janet Eilber, the artistic director du jour of the Martha Graham entities, is now inferring -- to Elizabeth Zimmer in this week's Village Voice -- that Terese Capucilli and Christine Dakin, the Martha Graham Dance Company's strongest pillars during the dark Protas decade, did not have the stuff to change with the times. No, it took Eilber -- who wouldn't even commit to live in the same town as the dancers when she replaced the fired Capucilli and Dakin as director last year -- to lead the oldest and arguably most important modern dance company in the world into a future that quickly assumed the contours of the dustbin of history. We trusted Graham board chair Francis Mason when, in 2000, he told us the company had to be suspended in order to be born whole again, supporting the company throughout its lawsuit with Protas, only to see his board celebrate their triumph in wresting most of the Graham ballets from Protas with a fit of overspending which now finds the company in what Zimmer reports is a $4 million hole on the eve of its 80th birthday Tuesday. (That's my analysis; Eilber places the blame elsewhere... as usual.) Not for this Graham supporter to tell others whether to help the company out of its latest crisis; I realize the stakes are high here. But speaking personally, before I trust this Graham board again with the future of one of our greatest treasures, it will take a gesture on a par with Mason's firing Eilber and explaining why he did the same to her predecessors. Call it tough love.

 

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