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Flashback, 3-28: Letter
to the Dance World
"On May 19, 2005 our employment as Artistic Directors of the Martha
Graham Dance Company was terminated."
(Editor's Note: The
Dance Insider has been revisiting its Flash
Archive. This Flash Statement originally appeared on
June 2, 2005. Graham board chair Francis Mason has yet to explain
publicly why the Graham board fired Terese Capucilli and Christine
Dakin as artistic directors.)
By Terese Capucilli
& Christine Dakin
Copyright 2005 Terese Capucilli & Christine Dakin
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 the
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
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
interests 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 19,
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 onstage. 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.
(Editor's Note: Asked last week why the board of trustees of
the Martha Graham Center had decided to replace Terese Capucilli
and Christine Dakin with Janet Eilber, board chairman Francis Mason
told the Dance Insider, "I do not wish to comment, thank you.")