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Flash Response, 4-14: Misdirected
Defending Janet Eilber

A Letter from Christine Jowers
New York City

Dear Paul,

I so strongly disagree with your rant, "Same ol' Lamentation: Vision of the Latest Graham Apocalypse"..., I am compelled to rant back. I think your editorial does a huge disservice to (Martha Graham Dance Company artistic director) Janet Eilber as a person, and as an artist who has dedicated her life to dance and this work in particular.... I read Elizabeth Zimmer's Voice article. I don't see Janet pointing fingers at anyone. She did inherit a mess. That is the truth. That is not putting down former directors Terese Capucilli and Christine Dakin at all. They didn't make the mess....

Capucilli and Dakin did a great job in a messy situation... and they should be credited. I have never heard anything about them not being credited, except by you in the Dance Insider and them (but who likes to be fired?). It seems that they were let go in a not very great way (I have no idea), and they were ticked off -- as we could see by the letter that you printed in the DI from them.

Maybe you disagree with the choices of the company, and the board.... That is your right. But I just don't see why Janet Eilber should point a finger at herself for being part of the Graham problem.... That is just nuts.... I know that she is a great asset to the company not only because of her supreme artistry and record with Graham as a performer and reconstructor of the work nationally and internationally, but she is also wonderful at initiating projects that have kept the Graham work alive in American culture....

(Regarding) Janet's commuting status..., this is the year 2006; people commute to jobs all the time. We live in a global age, with Blackberries, e-mail, cell phones and fax machines. Janet Eilber is not the rehearsal director, who needs to be in the studios slogging it out with the dancers daily, keeping the work fresh yet full of integrity. She is the artistic director, she needs to be out and about plugging away for the company -- meeting foundations, private sector supporters, government, grantors, other artists who can work with the company. Living in and relocating to NYC for small compensation is extremely difficult. Janet, like myself, is a working mother, who still has a child going to school in Los Angeles. I think it shows a tremendous amount of loyalty and devotion that she would commute to a job in NYC and work so passionately for scarce or no pay....

 

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