Graham Company Wraps Up in Paris

April 19, 2009

Today is the final day of the Martha Graham Company’s week-long run at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. What a thrill! It’s been a bit tiring dealing with jet lag, language differences, long work days in the theater, interviews, classes and even company auditions. But in my opinion, it has been a tremendous success.

   Of the three programs we presented here, I danced in Errand Into the Maze, Maple Leaf Rag, Clytemnestra, Chronicle, and Lamentation Variations. My regular repertory was pared down since I am recovering from an injury; I even have off for the final show tonight. Typically, I don’t enjoy nights off; like any other dancer I’d rather be onstage. Tonight, however, I took it as an opportunity to get a new point of view and had fun sitting with the audience in such a beautiful theater to experience the dance with them. The closing evening’s performance was Clytemnestra, Graham’s evening-length work based on the Greek legend of the House of Atreus.

   Traditionally, history is told from a male perspective, but in Graham’s genius, she created her work from the feminine perspective: It’s Queen Clytemnestra’s story rather than King Agamemnon’s. Graham’s innovation was not lost on the French audience, and I could hear the patrons around me talking about this interesting twist. The audience was hushed and intense but also felt free to laugh at some of the dance’s more raucous moments, such as King Agamemnon’s spear dance when his arrogance leads him to take this fatal step onto the cloth reserved for the gods.

   The dancers were glorious tonight. The settings by Isamu Noguchi were minimalist enough to leave room for the audience’s imagination. I loved it. It’s always a relief to enjoy watching the repertory you perform in—it would be unfortunate if the opposite were true.

   All in all, performing in Paris has been a dream. The house was packed each night with an enthusiastic audience, which made all of the hard work completely worth it.

   The company has one week off now until we begin rehearsing for our upcoming season in New York. I will be staying here in Paris for a few more days to enjoy the city, the culture and yes, even more dance. I feel excitement and adventure await. J’arrive.