Graham dancer Xin Ying's playful take on pose #6

Courtesy Martha Graham Dance Company

Channel Your Inner Martha for the Graham Company's New Instagram Challenge

Do it for the Graham: Get ready to channel your inner Martha for a new Instagram challenge that the Martha Graham Dance Company is launching today.

The contest, 19 Poses for the 19th Amendment, is part of The Eve Project, the company's two-year-long celebration of the centennial of the amendment that gave women the right to vote. It's a way to honor not only the suffragettes, but also Graham's revolutionary approach to showcasing powerful, complex female characters onstage.


A black and white image of Martha Graham in a front attitude, copied by a dancer with a grocery bag

Graham School student Luis "LT" Martinez inspired the challenge with his Instagram post.

Courtesy Martha Graham Dance Company

The company is inviting Graham fans to riff off of one (or more!) of 19 iconic photographs of Martha Graham. The challenge: to re-create her movement while doing an everyday task in an everyday location.

Want to join the fun? Here's how:

1. Find a creative way to incorporate one of the poses into a real-world setting (i.e. not a dance studio or theater). Go for the unexpected, irreverent and offbeat. Using props and other people is encouraged!

2. Post your shot on Instagram with the hashtags #19Poses and #MarthaGraham and tag a woman who inspires you.

3. Keep an eye on the Martha Graham Dance Company Instagram account. The company will be resharing top submissions there, and will send their five faves a gift bag of Graham swag.

The contest runs through August 18, 2020—the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment. So get creative, and get posting!

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Stark Photo Productions, Courtesy Harlequin

Why Your Barre Can Make or Break Your At-Home Dance Training

Throughout the pandemic, Shelby Williams, of Royal Ballet of Flanders (aka "Biscuit Ballerina"), has been sharing videos that capture the pitfalls of dancers working from home: slipping on linoleum, kicking over lamps and even taking windows apart at the "barre." "Dancers aren't known to be graceful all of the time," says Mandy Blackmon, PT, DPT, OSC, CMTPT, head physical therapist/medical director for Atlanta Ballet. "They tend to fall and trip."

Many dancers have tried to make their home spaces as safe as possible for class and rehearsal by setting up a piece of marley, like Harlequin's Dance Mat, to work on. But there's another element needed for taking thorough ballet classes at home: a portable barre.

"Using a barre is kinda Ballet 101," says 16-year-old Haley Dale, a student in her second year at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. She'd bought a portable barre from Harlequin to use at her parents' home in Northern Virginia even before the pandemic hit. "Before I got it, honestly I would stay away from doing barre work at home. Now I'm able to do it all the time."

Blackmon bought her 15-year-old stepdaughter a freestanding Professional Series Ballet Barre from Harlequin early on in quarantine. "I was worried about her injuring herself without one," she admits.

What exactly makes Harlequin's barres an at-home must-have, and hanging on to a chair or countertop so risky? Here are five major differences dancers will notice right away.

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December 2020