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Flash 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 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 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.")

 

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