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Carrie Ellmore-Tallitsch, Erica Dankmeyer, and Blakely White-McGuire (forefront) of the Martha Graham Dance Company in Graham's "Appalachian Spring." Photo by Julie Lemberger, copyright 2003 Julie Lemberger.

Latest News, Reviews, & Views

The Buzz, 1-24-12: The tears of a clown
For next Graham Company NY season. only half the works are by Martha Graham
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright Paul Ben-Itzak

Click here for the full Column.

 

Flash Tragedy, 4-1-2010: Alas, poor Martha
We knew her, Horatio; until Janet got through connecting her to today's audiences
By I.M. Joshin
Copyright 2010 I.M. Joshin
(For Martha Graham, who died this day in 1991... and is dying more every day.)

Click here for the full article...

 

Flash Perspective, 6-11: Reach
Does Martha Graham appeal to young people?
By Kelly Centrelli
Copyright 2009 Kelly Centrelli
Photography by and copyright Julie Lemberger

Click here for the full article...

 

Flash Lesson, 3-10: Every class is a prayer
'The contraction is Martha's great gift to dance'
By Pearl Lang
Copyright 1991, 2002 Marian Horosko

Click here for the full article...

In Memorium, 3-10: Deaths and Entrances
The Beauty of Pearl Lang
By Stuart Hodes
Copyright 2009 Stuart Hodes

Click here for the full article...

The Buzz, 6-1 (Headline Corrected): Point of Crossing
Graham Debate: 'Inflammatory Writing' or Terminal Patient?
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2006 The Dance Insider

Click here to read the full article..

The Buzz, 5-30: Deaths & Entrances
For Martha to Live, her Company must be Dissolved
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2006 The Dance Insider

Click here to read the full article..

The Buzz, 5-16: Canticle for Innocent Artistic Directors
Graham Chronicles: The Banished Mothers & the Absentee Parent

"At base this seems to have been a power struggle, which we did not know was being fought. We were too busy working, and we have lost."

-- Christine Dakin & Terese Capucilli, former artistic directors of the Martha Graham Dance Company, in ArtsCure.

"Janet... is in New York at least once a month."

-- LaRue Allen, executive director, Martha Graham Center, on current artistic director Janet Eilber.


By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2006 The Dance Insider

For nearly a year now, we have been waiting for Francis Mason, chairman of the board of directors of the Martha Graham Center, to explain to the world why the board fired the legendary Graham dancers Terese Capucilli and Christine Dakin as artistic directors and replaced them with a director, Janet Eilber, who would not even commit to living in the same town as her dancers. (Initially, the board tried to spin the firing as an 'elevation,' a claim quickly torpedoed by Capucilli and Dakin.) Now we finally have a response from LaRue Allen, executive director of the Martha Graham Center. Her statement below is followed by a response from Capucilli and Dakin, and one from me. Click here to read the full article..

The Buzz, 5-10: Diversion of Acolytes
The Graham Debt & the Protas Enablers

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2006 The Dance Insider

Click here to read the full article..

Flash Review, 4-21: Part Here, Part Gone
Clinging to History with the Graham Company

By Chappelle Chambers
Copyright 2006 Chappelle Chambers

Click here to read the full review..

 

Flash Response, 4-14: Misdirected
Defending Janet Eilber

A Letter from Christine Jowers
New York City

Click here to read the full response..

The Buzz, 4-11: 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. Click here to read the full article..

 

Martha Graham Company and School on Film

The Dance Insider Photo Album
The Martha Graham Dance Company
Photography by Julie Lemberger
Album design by Robin Hoffman

In January 2003, after 17 months of court battles over its very right to exist, the Martha Graham Dance Company returned to the stage for its first full season in close to three years. Our Julie Lemberger was there, at the Joyce Theater in New York City, to record new images from these famous dances. Click here to view the complete Photo Album...


Flash Video, 8-14, 2001: Back to School
Dancers of the Martha Graham School's Summer Intensive
Video courtesy of the Graham School
Music by Geoffrey Armes

The Martha Graham School captured in session in New York City, just after a federal court confirmed its right to its name. Click here to view the video clip...


Martha Graham Onstage

Flash Reviews and essays listed in reverse chronological order, the most recent first.

Flash Essay, 4-6: Shape Shapes Meaning
A Tale of Two Marthas: The Play's the Thing

By Janet Eilber
Text copyright 2005 Janet Eilber
Photography by Cris Alexander and others

Click here for the full essay...

Flash Review 2, 3-23: Everything's Coming up Marthas
Martha is Back, and Richard's Still Moving

By Brian Schaefer
Copyright 2005 Brian Schaefer

Click here for the full review...

Flash Review 1, 3-16: Martha, More than Ever
Making Graham Resonate in 2005

By Allyson Green
Copyright 2005 Allyson Green

Click here for the full review...

Flash Review 2, 4-27-04: A Graham Primer
The Many Masks of Martha
By Gus Solomons jr
Copyright 2004 Gus Solomons jr

Click here for the full review...


Flash Review, 4-20-04: The Legacy, Reborn
Ribbon-eating Graham takes Center stage
By Gus Solomons jr
Copyright 2004 Gus Solomons jr

Click here for the full review...


Flash Review , 11-21-03: Errand Out of the Maze
Graham company takes London in return to Europe
By Josephine Leask
Copyright 2003 Josephine Leask

Click here for the full review...


Flash Review 1, 2-6-03: Of These, History and Hope
Graham Season: And Now the Work
By Alicia Mosier
Copyright 2003 Alicia Mosier

Click here for the full review...


Flash Review 1, 1-23-03: Deep Songs
The Martha Graham Dance Company is in the House
By Tom Patrick
Copyright 2003 Tom Patrick
Original Art by Robin Hoffman

Click here for the full review...


Flash Review 1, 5-10-2002: Indisputably Martha
Graham Company Rises From the Embattled Garden
By Tom Patrick
Copyright 2002 Tom Patrick

Click here for the full review...


Flash Review 1, 8-18-2000: Keeping Martha's Spirit Alive
Graham Dancers Without Graham Dances
By Nolini Barretto
Copyright 2000 Nolini Barretto

Click here for the full review...


Martha Graham in the News

Except for the first entry, articles are listed in chronological order, the earliest first.

Flash Document, 1-18-2001: Who Owns Martha Graham?
Last Will and Testament
By Martha Graham
(As taken from public probate records)

Click here for the full testament...


Flash Report, 5-27-2000: Graham in Turmoil
Seasons Cancelled, Union Suing
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2000 The Dance Insider

Click here for the full article...


Flash View, 11-2-2000: Boycott the Graham Trust
Destroying Martha's Legacy
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2000 The Dance Insider

PARIS -- One of the reasons I cried to see Isadora Duncan's ever-so-humble, almost anonymous urn at Pere Lachaise cemetery here was its reminder of the historic lack of recognition accorded Modern Dance. Besides Duncan, only one name is universally recognized outside our circle of dance professionals and afficianados: Martha Graham. Martha's importance goes beyond that of symbol. If Duncan made natural movement legitimate, Graham gave it a technique that guaranteed it would be more than just a form of expression, but one with its own artistic language, equal in technical demand and expressive potential to ballet. A grounding in that technique has become as important to becoming a qualified modern dancer and giving justice to interpreting the works of modern choreographers as ballet training is to ballet dancers. Thus, when the Martha Graham company board suspended operations of both the company and school last summer, citing financial reasons, as tragic as it was to see dancers out of work and audiences deprived of their performances, dance insiders knew that the bigger longterm danger to the field was the closure of the school. So the news this week that the board had found the financial wherewithal to re-open the school at its old headquarters seemed indisputably good. However the board and former director Ron Protas, who owns the ballets, resolved their dispute, at least the training would continue.
Click here for the full article...


Flash News, 1-5-2001: But First, a School
Hodes Flies One More Mission for Martha
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2001 The Dance Insider

Click here for the full article...


Flash News, 1-15-2001: Protas Sues
Graham Heir Takes Center and School to Court
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2001 The Dance Insider

Click here for the full article...


Flash News & Analysis, 3-24-2001: Who Owns Martha Graham?
Protas Gets His Close Up, and Dancers Get Their Day in Court

"Can you yourself perform the Martha Graham technique?"

-- Dale Cendali, attorney for the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, questioning Ron Protas

"What do you mean, perform?"

-- Ron Protas, Martha Graham's heir, currently suing the Graham Center to stop it from using Graham's name

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2001 The Dance Insider

Click here for the full article...


Flash News & Analysis, 4-18-2001: Smoking Guns & Low Blows
At Graham Trial, Truth is Outing

"The new corporation purchased on 12/1/56 the existing school of dance which Martha Graham had been carrying on. The corporation agreed to pay Ms. Graham $50,000, and Ms. Graham agreed not to permit the use of her name...in connection with any other school or company."

-- Louis Goodkind, attorney for the Martha Graham Foundation, in a 1957 letter to the Internal Revenue Service

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2001 The Dance Insider

Click here for the full article...


Flash Analysis, 8-14-2001: Martha is Dead; Long Live Martha
Judge's Ruling Returns Martha to the Dancers

"...Protas is not Martha Graham."

-- Federal District Court Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum, August 7, 2001

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2001 Paul Ben-Itzak

PARIS -- In rejecting non-dancer Ron Protas's claim that he and he alone owns the name "Martha Graham" and the term "Martha Graham technique," Federal District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum in one swift incision excised a cancer that had gnawed away at the body Graham for years and threatened to destroy the greatest legacy in modern dance, returning that body to the dancers in which Martha truly lives and through which she truly speaks. Click here for the full article...


Flash News, 8-14-2001: The Graham Ruling
Reasons and Reactions
By Darrah Carr
Copyright 2001 Darrah Carr

Though it rained heavily in Manhattan last Friday afternoon, the atmosphere inside the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance was sunnier than it had been in months. "We're out from under a cloud, a malignant cloud," explained Stuart Hodes, Head of School, "A dark force existed and it suddenly appears to no longer exist." Hodes was speaking about the initial outcome of a lawsuit brought against both the Martha Graham School and the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance by Ron Protas, sole heir to Martha Graham, as well as the artistic director of the Martha Graham Trust. The lawsuit, filed last January, challenged the School and Center's right to use Graham's name to describe themselves and the technique that they teach. Protas cited trademark infringement, among other claims, because he had been granted trademark registration for "Martha Graham" and "Martha Graham Technique" in 1995, four years after Graham's death. Click here for the full article...


Flash News, 4-1-2002: Protas Settles
Cedes Graham Ballet Ownership to Company
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2002 The Dance Insider

NEW YORK, April 1 -- In a stunning development announced early this morning, April 1, Ron Protas, the principal heir named in Martha Graham's will, announced that he would relinquish his legal claims to Graham's ballets "for the good of dance, and because Martha told me to do so." The last stumbling block to the unexpected concession, dance insiders say, was removed when the Martha Graham Dance Company agreed to let Protas stage a previously undiscovered revision of Graham's 1958 classic, "Clytemnestra," with the heretofore unknown title, "Faster, Clytemnestra! Kill! Kill!" Click here for the full article...


Flash News & Analysis, 4-23-2002: Who Owns Martha Graham, Chapter Two
Judge Tells Courtroom: "I don't know what assets mean with respect to a dance company. The major assets are the dancers."
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2002 The Dance Insider

Click here for the full article...


Flash News & Analysis, 4-25-2002: Protas Takes the Stand
Center: Protas "physically aggressive" with Graham
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2002 The Dance Insider

Click here for the full article...


Flash News and Analysis, 4-26-2002: Errand into the Legal Maze
If Protas is Defeated, Would Dancers Win the Battle but Lose the War?
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2002 The Dance Insider

Click here for the full article...


Flash Responses, 4-29-2002: DI Graham Coverage
Hodes, Swinston, and Helpern Respond

(Editor's note: The following are in response to Flash News and Analysis, 4-26: Errand into the Legal Maze, Friday's report and opinion on the Graham v. Graham trial continuing this week in Federal District Court in Manhattan.)
Click here for the full article...


Flash Opinion, 5-7-2002: The Graham Case
If Protas Wins, Martha Will Die a Second Death
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2002 The Dance Insider

SAN FRANCISCO -- Of the 191 ballets created by Modern Dance pioneer Martha Graham over eight decades, only 70 survive. And those ballets could perish forever and Martha Graham's name with them if a federal district court declares former Martha Graham Center director Ron Protas the owner of the ballets. But if Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum buys the Martha Graham Center's argument that it owns the ballets -- or at least those created since 1956, when the center was formed and Graham became its employee -- the rights of other choreographers to the work they created could also be in danger. Click here for the full article...


Flash Preview, 5-9-2002: Beyond Dispute
The Real Owners of Martha Graham Take the Stage
By Nicole Pope
Copyright 2002 Nicole Pope

BENNINGTON, Vermont -- In high school I was told that Martha Graham was the "Mother of Modern Dance." I was shown a video of her classic "Lamentations." That was proof enough for me. The mere mention of Martha Graham's name is what made me decide to attend Bennington College, where Graham was a member of the founding faculty of the summer dance program launched by Martha Hill. Now, I eat dinner one floor below Graham's old studio, which is filled with musical instruments, dusty and unused, and closed off because it is considered a fire hazard. But with the aid of old photographs taken during Graham's time here, I have stepped inside the studio and imagined a scene here. Click here for the full article...


Flash News, 5-10-2002: Back to the Future
Dancers, Audience Take Back Martha

"It was exactly as I remember it."

-- Tony Randall, actor and former Martha Graham student

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2002 The Dance Insider

Click here for the full article...


FLASH NEWS, 8-24-2002: EXTRA! EXTRA! EXTRA!
CEDARBAUM RULES FOR GRAHAM CENTER
45 DANCES TO CENTER, TEN TO THE PUBLIC, AND ONE TO PROTAS
By Paul Ben-Itzak
with Darrah Carr
Copyright 2002 The Dance Insider

NEW YORK -- The Martha Graham Center owns copyrights to 45 of the ballets created by Martha Graham, Ron Protas owns one, and ten are in the public domain, a Federal judge ruled Friday, in a landmark decision that saved Modern Dance's greatest legacy by placing it securely in the trove of the Martha Graham Dance Company. Click here for the full article...


Flash News & Analysis, 10-24-2002: Graham Moves
New Artistic Directors, New Money, and Season Repertoire Announced
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2002 The Dance Insider

For the first time since the death of Martha Graham in 1991, the Martha Graham Dance Company will be directed by dancers, veteran principals Terese Capucilli and Christine Dakin, a company spokesman said this week. The company also announced a $1.5 million challenge grant from its board, including $1 million from Delores Barr Weaver, and the repertoire for its first season in nearly three years, a line-up spanning more than 60 years of Graham work demonstrating the sheer breadth of her choreographic canvas. Click here for the full article...

The Buzz, 5-30: Fissures & Fusions, Romance & Cigarettes
Eilber Replaces Capucilli & Dakin as Graham Cuts Staff; Brouk & Co. Meet Turturro, Gandolfini & Co.

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2005 The Dance Insider

Graham Cracks
Click here for the full article...

Flash Statement, 6-2: Letter to the Dance World
"On May 19, 2005 our employment as Artistic Directors of the Martha Graham Dance Company was terminated."

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. Click here for the full statement...

The Buzz, 3-28: Graham Grovels
Board Leaves Dancers to Beg for Money
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2006 The Dance Insider

So the board of directors of the Martha Graham Dance Company, which in its infinite wisdom last year fired as artistic directors the two people arguably most responsible for keeping the company together during the Ron Protas years and replaced them with a director who would be commuting from the other side of the United States, has now reduced its dancers to begging for money from journalists in order to make it to its 80th birthday and a series of celebrations planned in New York next month. Click here for the full article..