Two Storms Later...

posted by Siobhan Burke on Thursday, Nov 08, 2012
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Sets and costumes for Martha Graham's Cave of the Heart, above, and other Graham masterworks were severely damaged in Hurricane Sandy.

The past 12 days in New York have been, to say the least, surreal. In many places, like here at Dance Magazine’s offices on 28th Street and 7th Avenue, things carry on more or less as usual, as if the city outside our 11th-floor windows hadn’t weathered a devastating hurricane, followed by—surprise!—a blizzard, in less than two weeks. It’s easy to settle into the flow of the workday—until you open up Twitter or Facebook or any New York–based blog or news site, only to be reminded of the thousands of people and institutions still recovering from Sandy’s aftermath. The same kind of eerie contrast comes from walking through a familiar neighborhood, en route to a familiar place, but with unfamiliar sights materializing along the way: a crowd of people lined up at the gas station, empty plastic canisters in hand; a fallen tree on an otherwise tidy block, yet to be towed away.


While many theaters are back up and running (much progress has been made since this time last week), the dance community has suffered some serious losses. As The New York Times reported, the Martha Graham Dance Company lost most of its sets and costumes to six feet of flooding in the basement of Westbeth, where the company moved last spring. Other residents of that artists’ building were also affected. Perhaps most shockingly, The Kitchen, one of the city’s most beloved and well-equipped spaces for experimental dance and performance, faces $400,000 to $500,000 in damages after four feet of water inundated its lobby and black-box theater. As the executive director Tim Griffin told Claudia La Rocco in this hopeful but sobering interview, the risers, wall, and floor (designed especially for dance) have been removed, leaving the space practically unrecognizable. (Proceeds from The Kitchen’s annual benefit art auction, on November 26, will go toward renovations. Tickets are available here.)

 

Many lists of post-hurricane resources for artists and arts organizations have been circulating on the web. The most comprehensive we’ve found is this one assembled by Andy Horwitz over at CultureBot. As recovery efforts continue, please keep sharing your Sandy-related stories with us and the dance community on Twitter, using the hashtag #sandydance.