The Unknown Hipster

Martha Graham Dance Company, « Snow on the Mesa »

Posted in Art by unknownhipster on March 10, 2011

In the midst of the winter I was invited to a preview of the Martha Graham Dance Company’s 85th Anniversary season.

It was cold and lightly snowing the night I went up to the Martha Graham School  of Contemporary Dance on East 63rd Street.

In a basement rehearsal room folding chairs had been set up along the walls. A school bench placed in the middle of the floor was being used as prop, and a dancer was waiting against an exercise bar.

The calm assembly of dance scholars and serious writers made me feel slightly out of place : not only do I know very little about dance, but I’m always in fear that a live performance will extend to an inhuman length of time, like contemporary art videos almost always do.

But I was struck by the beauty of the piece, and hypnotized by the grace and intensity of the dancers.

They performed excerpts from « Snow on the Mesa »,  a dance choreographed by Bob Wilson and premiered in 1995 after Martha Graham death, and originally subtitled « A Portrait of Martha ».

It turns out to be no time at all when I had to extract myself from this « Cave of the Heart », to return home, enlightened, by the subway.

Xiaochuan Xie and Ben Schultz in « Shaker Interior » (« Snow on the Mesa »)

Carrie Ellmore Tallitsch in « Navaho Rug » (« Snow on the Mesa »)

Martha Graham Dance Company 85th Anniversary Season at the Rose Theater, Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, NY, from March 15–20, 2011